Identifying Devices of Persuasion and Methods of Appeal:
Middle Ages: The Black Death
Directions: Persuasive devices and methods of appeal, such as propaganda techniques are ways in which authors attempt to win readers to their point of views. Becoming knowledgeable about these techniques will enable you to recognize propaganda and to differentiate between strong and weak arguments in a wide range of texts
Here is how you do it:
1. Study the title of skim the passage to get a broad sense of the context
2. Identify facts in the passage. Look for specific names, dates, statistics, and statements that can be provided
3. Try to identify opinions in the passage. Look for assertions, claims, hypothesizes, and judgements
4. Also, look for judgement words that the write users to describe people and events.
5. Consider information provided about the author. Ask: Does the author belong to special interest group, social class, political party, or movement that might promote a one sided slanted viewpoint on the subject?
1. Why does the author consider the Black Death a bigger disaster than the 1918 epidemic, in which more lives were lost?
a. Because plague symptoms were far more painful
b. Because it wiped out a much larger percentage of the population
c. Because Spanish influenza lasted for just one year
d. Because the practice of medicine was vastly superior in 1918
2. Highlight/ underline the author’s main purpose
3. Why does the author cite the work of Ibn Khaldum?
a. In order to provide an Arab perspective on the plague
b. Because statistics alone will not support his argument
c. To give a contemporary view of the devastation caused by the plague
d. To make the passage more interesting to the general reader
4. Write a short passage in which you decide which was more of a threat, the Black Plague or the Spanish Influenza. Explain your reasoning
Adapted from: Littell, McDougal. World History Patterns of Interaction. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.