Appeals in Modern Rhetoric: An Ordinary-Language Approach introduces students to current issues in rhetorical theory through an extended treatment of the rhetorical appeal, a frequently used but rarely discussed concept at the core of rhetorical analysis and criticism. Shunning the standard Aristotelian approach that treats ethos, pathos, and logos as modes of appeal, M. Jimmie Killingsworth uses common, accessible language to explain the concept of the rhetorical appeal—meaning the use of language to plead and to please. The result is a practical and innovative guide to understanding how persuasion works that is suitable for graduate and undergraduate courses yet still addresses topics of current interest to specialists.
Supplementing the volume are practical and theoretical approaches to the construction and analysis of rhetorical messages and brief and readable examples from popular culture, academic discourse, politics, and the verbal arts. Killingsworth draws on close readings of primary texts in the field, referencing theorists to clarify concepts, while he decodes many of the basic theoretical constructs common to an understanding of identification. Beginning with examples of the model of appeals in social criticism, popular film, and advertising, he covers in subsequent chapters appeals to time, place, the body, gender, and race. Additional chapters cover the use of common tropes and rhetorical narrative, and each chapter begins with definitions of key concepts.