Logos, Pathos And Ethos In The Novel To Kill A Mockingbird

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Table of contents

  1. Logos
  2. Pathos
  3. Ethos

To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee it was one of the most widely read books in America since its publication in the 1960s. It was the story of good and evil. It highlighted the transition of Jem and Scout from the perspective of innocence. By the end of the story Jem and Scout lose their innocence from the lessons of their father Atticus Finch and the Tom Robinson case. To Kill A Mockingbird uses the literary devices of ethos, logos and pathos in a unique way. To Kill A Mockingbird has a foundation of good and evil throughout the story and focuses on the lessons Jem and Scout have learned. The literary devices are predominantly used by Atticus during the case of Tom Robinson as he attempts to persuade the jury of Tom’s innocence. Atticus uses logos and pathos for the majority of his arguments and draws clear evidence and uses pathos to give the jury a sense of nobility and responsibility to Tom Robinson. The primary focus of this literary analysis paper is to identify the use of ethos, logos and of pathos in the book of To Kill A Mockingbird which identifies the literary devices atticus Finch uses in the case of To Robinson.


In To Kill A Mockingbird logos is primarily used by Atticus throughout the story; a primary example of this is during the Tom Robinson case when he proves Bob Ewell is left-handed by having him write his name on a piece of paper in front of everyone and his daughter Myella could only specifically be beaten by someone using his left hand due to the fact she was beaten on the right side of her face and hr right eye being blackened and the right side of her face being swollen. Due to Tom Robinson’s case not being logical findings based but rather based on hearsay without additional witnesses Atticus had to use as much logical based arguments as possible in order to build a proper defense for Tom. Atticus drew a logical conclusion between Bob Ewell’s left handedness and the fact that Tom Robinson does not have function of his left hand. Atticus also asked Bob and the sheriff why they didnt call a doctor after seeing the severity of Myella’s damage to her face. They say “there was no need to but she was mighty banged up” this lacks a logical based argument as Atticus points that out by saying “You didn't think the severity of her injuries required immediate medical attention?” Since there was no evidence to draw from, Atticus couldn't show more logos here other than the lack thereof because both the sheriff and Myella’s father did not handle the situation right. Throughout the case Atticus uses logos - logic based arguments and both the sheriff and Bob Ewell had a lack thereof. This is how logos in the story were primarily used by Atticus. Unfortunately however the use of logos wasn't enough the social traditions of Maycomb county to allow Tom Robinson to go free. During the time of the story despite all logic based arguments because of the social expectations the court would never favor a black man in a case like Tom’s this is when Jem and Scout start to see the world is not perfect and that there is evil in this world.

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Throughout the story Atticus uses pathos during the case to make a connection with Tom Robinson by mentioning “A quiet, hubble, responsable, humble and responsible who who had the unmitigated temerity to feel sorry for a white woman and now has to put his word against two white people” Atticus uses this to make the jury pitty Tom Robinson and relate to the jurors to Tom because they all share one trait which is feelings. Atticus also tries persuading jurors of the innocence of Tom Robinson from the accusations that he molested Mayella by exploiting his real identity as a believer in god. Atticus swears Tom’s innocence of the act and the latter believes he is innocent in his version of the story. In this case ethos is presented as a way to show credibility in convincing the audience of Atticus’s claims Atticus continues to use pathos by highlighting the reality of the fact that the jury has a very significant task and responsibility at hand to follow by reminding the jury of their essential duty Atticus attempts to give the jury a sensation of nobility and in a way convincing them they must do the same for Tom Robinson. The method Atticus is using is to manipulate the feelings of the jury and attempting to pull at their heartstrings. This is a clear effort by Atticus to persuade the jury by using pathos to make his case for Tom Robinson’s innocence. Atticus argues that Tom is indeed a good person with morality and is not deserving to be treated like a criminal and testifies Tom Robinson’s innocence and indeed did not rape Myella. Furthermore Atticus continues using pathos by emphasizing the jurys great responsibility for society. He also makes a point to state within the justice of the jury a stupid man is equil to a smart man he says this to point out the equolity of the court system.


Atticus uses ethos by trying to prove Tom Robinson’s innocence and uses ethos to prove he is moral by pointing out her is a “qiet, humble, respectable man who felt sorry for a white woman” and doesn't hesitate to point out he is a morla believer in good and is a hard worker who has never caused trouble at his work. Atticus uses many examples of Tom Robinson's goodness as his use of ethos like him helping Myella bust up chifferobes many times in the past with no pay and he says Tom “felt sorry for her” however Tom Robinson’s morality and generosity does get used against him when the prosecutors claims Tom Robbinson was only helping Mayella because he was attracted to her. Despite this Atticus continues to prove Tom Robinson’s goodness by asking if he’s ever went on the Ewell’s property without a specific invitation and also mentions the fact Tom is married with children and is significantly older than Myella.

In all these examples Atticus attempts to make a case to the already biased jury Tom is a good person and is innocent but unfortunately it wasn't enough against the social implications of the time. The court rules in favor of Ewell and Tom Robinson is locked away as I previously mentioned. Despite every effort Atticus made and despite his arguments that had logos ethos and pathos he unfortunately lost the case to racism.

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Logos, Pathos And Ethos In The Novel To Kill A Mockingbird. (2021, September 07). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/logos-pathos-and-ethos-in-the-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
“Logos, Pathos And Ethos In The Novel To Kill A Mockingbird.” Edubirdie, 07 Sept. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/logos-pathos-and-ethos-in-the-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
Logos, Pathos And Ethos In The Novel To Kill A Mockingbird. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/logos-pathos-and-ethos-in-the-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird/> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2024].
Logos, Pathos And Ethos In The Novel To Kill A Mockingbird [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 07 [cited 2024 Apr 14]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/logos-pathos-and-ethos-in-the-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird/

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