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Pathos, Ethos And Logos In The Article “Troublemakers” By Malcolm Gladwell

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The article “Troublemakers” by Malcolm Gladwell describes the story of a young child getting attacked by a dog followed by 2 more dogs in Ontario, Canada, which ultimately causes the the Ontario legislature to ban the ownership of pit bulls and “pit bull-type” dogs. The child was walking behind his parents on their way home when the dogs jumped the fence and attacked the child which hospitalized him. This ban can be questioned to why exactky pit bulls are banned. Gladwell believes that pit bulls and breeds similar to these are excessively overgeneralized and unfairly banned. Gladwell speaks clearly about the cultural trend of profiling in this article. It focuses on how society usually generalizes about a problem that concerns them, often as a precaution to prevent such problems from happening again instead of figuring out the actual root of these problems.

Gladwell uses pathos to convince his readers of his argument. When Gladwell asks, “How do we know when we've made the right generalization?”, he is trying to guilt his readers by persuading them to generalize or stereotype because how can they declare what is truly right in a given circumstance. Gladwell also appeals to pathos when he states, “These are animals that have not had an opportunity to become socialized to people. They don't necessarily even know that children are small human beings. They tend to see them as prey”. Gladwell uses pathos here to cement sorrow and compassion to his readers by explaining that pit bulls and related dogs are only the outcome of what their owners have taught them or influenced them by. Meaning had the owners or whoever took car of the dog has shown love and care for the dog then the dog is more likely to be a harmless product compared to that of a dog who has been neglected and taught violent ways who can end up being harmful and aggressive.

Gladwell also uses pathos when he says, “In many cases, vicious dogs are hungry or in need of medical attention”. Gladwell continues to portray of pettiness and compassion towards the readers by creating an image in their heads showing of a dog who needs medical help so bad that the dog has no option but to violent and aggressive. Gladwell mainy uses pathos to portray and convey emotions such as pity, sorrow, sympathy and compassion, to create a better understanding for his readers to understand and side with his argument.

Gladwell uses ethos to convince his readers of his argument. Gladwell uses a lot of credible sources to enhance his effects of ethos to even better his credibility in his argument. Gladwell cites a credible source, 'The way a lot of these laws are written, pit bulls are whatever they say they are,' Lora Brashears, a kennel manager in Pennsylvania, says. 'And for most people it just means big, nasty, scary dog that bites' (“Troublemakers”). Gladwell is ethically appealing because he is quoting a kennel manager who explains how ridiculous it is to ban pit bulls. The kennel leader is clearly well educated in animals because it is his job.

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Gladwell also appeals to ethos when he cites a credible source, “Randall Lockwood, a senior vice-president of the A.S.P.C.A. and one of the country's leading dog bite experts, told me …”. Gladwell is ethically appealing because he cites Randall Lockwood, ASPCA's senior vice president, as well as one of the country's leading experts on dog bites. By citing strong, credible and important figures, Gladwell strengthens the credibility and trust of his entire readers and helps them better understand his arguments.

Lastly, Gladwell uses logos to persuade the readers of his argument that pit bulls have falsely been generalized as aggressive. By using logos, Gladwell is attempting to convince his reader of argument through the use of logic or reason. When Gladwell states in his article, “Pit-bull bans involve a category problem, too, because pit bulls, as it happens, aren't a single breed”. Here, Gladwell proves his argument by using appeal logos because he shows evidence that the ban on pit bulls is unreasonable due to the fact that that pit bulls are not a single breed. By banning pit bulls, Ontario is banning to various breeds and any “pit bull-type dog”.

In his article, Gladwell also states, “Pit bulls were not bred to fight humans. On the contrary: a dog that went after … people involved in making a dogfighting dog a good dogfighter was usually put down” (“Troublemakers”). Gladwell proves logos because it provides evidence that pit bulls were not bred to fight humans due to the fact that once a pit bull got really good he would be put down; it appeals to reason because if pit bulls weren’t even bred to be aggressive than we should not generalize them as aggressive. Gladwell also appeals to logos when he writes, “The dogs that bite people are, in many cases, socially isolated because their owners are socially isolated, and they are vicious because they have owners who want a vicious dog” (“Troublemakers”). Gladwell proves logos because it provides evidence that most pit bulls that are aggressive, it is due to the fact that pit bulls that show aggression is because they were previously exposed to that environment by their owners. The author tries to explain that dogs mimic their owner’s behavior so a pit bull’s behaviors and temperament will reflect the original owners. Gladwell uses logos by creating reason and logic in his statements.

Gladwell's goal to educate his readers how society makes overgeneralizations about a problem that has affected them, often as a precaution to prevent such problems from happening again. Gladwell uses these examples of excessive generalization and applies them to laws against pit bulls, highlighting the problems of excessive generalization in dog breeds and in general.

Gladwell revales when profiling we should not ask questions about race or gender rather general questions that can help link a person to a culprit.

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Pathos, Ethos And Logos In The Article “Troublemakers” By Malcolm Gladwell. (2021, September 10). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from
“Pathos, Ethos And Logos In The Article “Troublemakers” By Malcolm Gladwell.” Edubirdie, 10 Sept. 2021,
Pathos, Ethos And Logos In The Article “Troublemakers” By Malcolm Gladwell. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Mar. 2024].
Pathos, Ethos And Logos In The Article “Troublemakers” By Malcolm Gladwell [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 10 [cited 2024 Mar 3]. Available from:
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