Activity Overview

In high school, the ELA Common Core Standards require students to develop formal writing skills, creating essays and arguments that are well-thought-out, and syntactically varied. They also require students to effectively use persuasive writing strategies to defend a claim or point of view.

A key to strong persuasive writing the ability to dissect and validate, or debunk, other arguments. This requires a basic working knowledge of rhetoric. A great way to enhance students' understanding of effective arguments is to teach the Aristotelian concepts of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Students can then identify and analyze the effectiveness of these strategies in a work of literature, a speech, or a letter.

The Moon is Down was written to encourage the resistances of occupied countries to rise up and fight against the Nazi forces during World War II. It is a noble cause, and an honorable effort, according to most Americans. However, to look at the novel from an historical standpoint, it actually was a piece of pro-Democracy propaganda, and it was a very successful one. The novel’s ability to sway its readers emotionally, ethically, and logically is what gave it so much power then, and why it’s endured as a popular piece for the enduring ideals of freedom and democracy for so long. Have students examine the text and come up with quotes from throughout the novel of Ethos, Logos, and Pathos rhetoric. Have students illustrate these examples in a storyboard.

Examples of Rhetorical Strategies in The Moon is Down

Ethos (Ethics/Credibility)

Example 1

"They elected me not to be confused. Six town boys were murdered this morning. I think we will have no hunt breakfast. The people do not fight wars for sport."

– Mayor Orden

Example 2

"In all the world, yours is the only government and people with a record of defeat after defeat for centuries and every time because you did not understand people."

– Mayor Orden

Logos (Logic)

Example 1

"This principle does not work. First, I am the Mayor. I have no right to pass sentence of death. There is no one in this community with that right. If I should do it, I would be breaking the law as much as you."

– Mayor Orden

Example 2

"...but we are a free people; we have as many heads as we have people, and in a time of need leaders pop up among us like mushrooms."

– Doctor Winter

Pathos (Emotions)

Example 1

"Alex, go, knowing that these men will have no rest, no rest at all until they are gone, or dead. You will make the people one."

– Mayor Orden

Example 2

"The people don’t like to be conquered, sir, and so they will not be. Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat. Herd men, followers of a leader, cannot do that, and so it is always the herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars."

– Mayor Orden

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows examples of ethos, pathos, and logos from the text.

  1. Identify two examples for each rhetorical strategy: ethos, pathos, and logos.
  2. Type the example into the description box under the cell.
  3. Illustrate the examples using any combination of scenes, characters, and items.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Type of Activity: The Rhetorical Triangle: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone)
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/5] Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Tracking Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
As we read and discuss, identify the different examples of ethos, pathos, and logos you come across in the text. Depict these examples in a storyboard with appropriate and accurate art content. Then, provide the quote or a brief summary of the example you are depicting. Your scenes need to be neat, eye-catching, and reflect creativity and care. Please proofread your writing and organize your ideas thoughtfully.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
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.
Artistic Depictions
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.
English Conventions
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.

More Storyboard That Activities

The Moon is Down

Image Attributions
  • Map of Europe • National Library of Ireland on The Commons • License No known copyright restrictions (
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