Logos, Ethos and Pathos

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In her “We Should All Be Feminists” TED talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie uses all three forms of appeal. The main form of appeal she relies on is pathos, which engages the audience – particularly African women – on an emotional level.


Adichie mainly relies on pathos in her talk. First, she uses personal stories to show that she understands the experiences of African women and that she acknowledges the existence of a problem in the society she lives in. For example, the story in which a journalist tells her that she should not call herself a feminist helps Adichie show that society embraces a flawed definition of feminism. 

Adichie also refers to her own emotions concerning the topics she addresses. In the following example, Adichie expresses her frustration regarding the waiters who ignore her because she is a woman:

Each time they ignore me, I feel invisible. I feel upset. I want to tell them that I am just as human as the man, that I'm just as worthy of acknowledgment. These are little things, but sometimes it's the little things that sting the most.

Here, Adichie’s emotional appeal engages women in the audience, who react audibly to show that they have been through similar experiences. In another example, Adichie says “I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry”. Later on, she says that she is “also hopeful” that society can change and challenge traditional gender roles. 

Adichie also appeals to pathos through the use of words with negative connotations. Several adjectives with ...

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