Rhetoric is the art and study of persuasion and individual’s act of persuasion. Rhetoric analysis is concerned with three parties: the rhetor, a party that is trying to persuade, the audience the target of persuasion, and observers who are neither persuading nor being persuaded. Ethos, pathos, and logos are the main elements of rhetorical appeals. In ethos, which is also known as ethical appeals, the audience perceives the credibility of the rhetor. It is used to describe the audience’s perception of the credibility and authority of the rhetor by analyzing the knowledge of the rhetor concerning the topic or the issue he is persuading him/her to participate. In Pathos, also known as pathetic appeal, the rhetor attempts to persuade the audience by provoking certain emotions. Rhetor using pathos attempts to appeal to the audience’s sense of identity, self-interests, and emotions by engaging the audience’s feelings. In logos or logical appeal, the rhetor persuades the audience by raising arguments that can be perceived as logical. Ethos, pathos, and logos elements are used in the immortal life of Henrietta life.
Rebecca Skloot, the author of the immortal life of Henrietta lacks use ethos in her literature by inclusion of Deborah, a daughter of Henrietta lacks. Deborah describes how the cells of her late mother were essential to the lives of many people in the society without any benefit to her family. She describes it in such a way that touches the audience’s judgment of the medical personnel as unfair and unjust. Deborah says that she knew that many people benefited from the cells of her mother, which gave great contribution to the society and the medical field. She used this to illustrate the vast knowledge she had concerning her mother’s contribution to the medical field.
The use of pathos is seen in the way Deborah describes their way of living after her mother’s death. She said that they were living at extreme poverty such that they could not afford basic needs like medication and education. She said that her mother died when she was only one year old. She continues to say that owing to the poverty and the hard live they were living, the conditions forced her to get medicines to calm down from the frustrations. When describing this kind of lifestyle, it is obvious that she wants to draw sympathy from the audience. Owing to the contribution the cells of her mother gave to the society, everyone who hears of the poverty the family went through is likely to pity them. This is a correct usage of pathos since she was able to draw from the feelings of the audience (Skloot).
Logos is used in arguing the expectation of the family. With the contribution Henrietta made to medical field and society, it was logical for her family to get some compensation. Deborah argues that though her mother’s cells were used to make a huge difference in the medical field, her family was not informed about it and continued to live under extreme poverty. Her logical argument is that the family had the right to know about the usage of their mother’s cells and get some rewards out of it. She argues that withholding this information was unfair since they did not even understand who their mother was really. This made Deborah upset to an extent of taking medication to calm her nerves. It was logical for Deborah to get that upset considering the suffering she had yet her mother’s cells had enriched others greatly (Skloot).
Rebecca Skloot has used the three elements of rhetoric appeals. She used ethos to get the audiences judgment of the medical field. She used pathos by making the audience pity Henrietta’s family. Logos is used to illustrate the logic of the treatment the family ought to have received.