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  • Tyler Robert Sheldon


Updated: 3 days ago

By Tyler Robert Sheldon

...No, listen. When I talk about pathos, it’s because everyone

in here is having kind of a crummy day. Do you think we all

have the bandwidth, the awakeness, the caffeine in our

systems, to start class in a mode where an appeal to emotion

means an appeal to sunshine and rainbows? Because let me

tell ya, that’s not what Tuesdays are all about. When I talk

about pathos, what I’m really pointing out is how this

is our last essay of the semester, the Research Paper, the big

kahuna—let’s put a pin in that one—and even though you

can borrow research from your previous three essays, you

still have to ensure that your focus, and your argument, are

all original. Does anyone have a question so far? Yes,

wanting to talk about fear in conjunction with writing

can certainly count as a question. How many of you are

a little bit spooked by this essay? Okay, that’s a lot

of hands. At ease, class. Back to kahuna. It’s not just

the burger Sam Jackson munches in that Tarantino flick

to intimidate Brett, who’s going to be shot in a few minutes.

No, this paper will not eat your breakfast then shoot you.

Kahuna, Hawaiian. It means shaman, wizard, sorcerer.

Because writing can feel like magic if you push past

the fear. It also means doctor. When we revise, we heal

our essays into stronger arguments that can stand

on their own. Kahuna can also mean wave, like how

this paper feels, crashing toward you and knowing how

we puny humans can’t breathe too well underwater.

But we build our authority by being the best riders

of waves. Which means now it’s time to talk about ethos...


Tyler Robert Sheldon, MFA Author of Everything is Ghosts (Finishing Line Press, 2024) and When to Ask for Rain (Spartan Press, 2021) Editor-in-Chief, MockingHeart Review ( Assistant Managing Editor, Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Pop Culture and Pedagogy.

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