Satire as Effective Argument


Harry Golden sitting at his desk in 1957.

Ethical Appeal is an appeal through the writer’s good character in which he shows himself well-intentioned, knowledgeable, fair minded and concerned.  In The Vertical Negro Plan by Henry Golden, the author uses the ethical appeal approach in presenting his arguments.  This is opposite of the approach used by Roger Guffey in Left Handers (Those Sickos) Got No Reason to Live.  In that reading, Guffey used harsh language that possibly turn off the audience and discredit the information because of this approach.  Golden makes the audience feel that he is knowledgeable on the subject based on the facts that he writes about early in the reading.  He discusses a series of amendments that were passed by North Carolina legislature and uses facts to back up his points to make his reading credible.  He says, “A careful study of my plan, I believe, will show that it will save millions of dollars in tax funds and eliminate forever the danger to our public education system.”  The fact that he says careful study of his plan displays that he is concerned for his audience and is fair minded regarding his ideas and opinions.  This is quite different than Guffey who states in his article that left-handers are “not normal” and “un-American.”.  This type of language is this kind of brashness that his audience discredits him and his article.  Using proper ethical appeal as Golden does is definitely the better approach from the two articles discussed.

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