Forms of appeal

Overview of the forms of appeal

Siri Hustvedt's "Living With Strangers" employs mainly ethos and pathos to appeal to the readers. Often we find all three of the forms (or modes) of appeal in a text, but typically one or two will dominate. Hustvedt's choice of ethos and pathos makes sense since the use of logos - the appeal to reason - would seem out of place in a subjective, reflective text like an essay. Logos is more common in texts like debate articles or academic papers where you need to rely on facts, figures, and logical argumentation. The effects of using ethos and pathos will be elaborated in the following.


Hustvedt’s text is heavily influenced by ethos. When using ethos as a strategy, you are trying to appeal to people’s perception of your trustworthiness on a particular topic. “Living With Strangers” is an essay, and a key characteristic of an essay is that the writer is highly subjective. Numerous times Hustvedt uses the personal pronoun “I”, and all her reflections on the topic are based on specific incidents from her own life. You might think that her lack of objectivity damages her text, but actually it has the effect of making her seem knowledgeable and trustworthy - because her focus is on her personal experience of city life. She is writing about the dilemma of ignoring or relating to the ...

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