Douglass’s narrative is more than an interesting account of his difficult life. Written two decades before slavery was outlawed, the narrative was intended as a powerful argument against slavery. In making this argument, Douglass employs a number of effective rhetorical devices, including the appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos. Storyboarding can help students concretely identify examples of these and demonstrate understanding not only of Douglass’s argument, but also of the craftsmanship behind the argument. For this three-square storyboard, have students identify and depict an example of each of the three Aristotelian components of rhetoric. Below each depiction, they should explain their reasoning and/or include other written examples as space allows.
Douglass makes a convincing argument due to his well-written, logical account. He uses sophisticated vocabulary along with specific, verifiable names and geographic locations. He writes fairly and gives credit where it is due in order to avoid accusations of unjust bias.
Douglass describes the cruel beatings slaves received in vivid detail. His eloquent language inspires pity in the reader. His accounts are most powerful when he describes witnessing the abuse of others as a terrified child. He writes, "No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose...I was quite a child, but I remember it. I shall never forget it whilst I remember anything."
Douglass's narrative begins with a preface by well-known abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and a letter from abolitionist Wendell Phillips. These respected men act as witnesses, testifying to Douglass's good character. Douglass also builds his credibility by refusing to believe in superstitions and depicting himself as a hard-working, intelligent, church-going Christian.
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Type of Activity: The Rhetorical Triangle: Ethos, Pathos, LogosCommon Core Standards
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard that shows examples of ethos, pathos, and logos from the text.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
The elements of ethos, pathos, and logos are correctly identified and depicted, and an appropriate quote or summary is provided. There are at least 2 examples provided for each rhetorical element.
Most of the elements of ethos, pathos, and logos are correctly identified and depicted, and an appropriate quote or summary is provided. There are at least 2 examples provided for each rhetorical element.
The elements of ethos, pathos, and logos are incorrectly identified and depicted. Quotes and summaries may be missing or too limited. Only one example may have been provided for each rhetorical element.
The art chosen to depict the scenes are accurate to the work of literature. Time and care is taken to ensure that the scenes are neat, eye-catching, and creative.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be accurate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. Scene constructions are neat, and meet basic expectations.
The art chosen to depict the scenes is inappropriate. Scene constructions are messy and may create some confusion, or may be too limited.
Ideas are organized. There are few or no grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas are mostly organized. There are some grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas may be disorganized or misplaced. Lack of control over grammar, mechanics, and spelling reflect a lack of proofreading.
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