The colony survived, but over time its religious fervor diminished. Scholars disagree about when and why this happened. The Puritans themselves found it difficult to maintain a society in a state of creative uncertainty. In 1679, a Puritan synod met to deliberate the causes of widespread spiritual malaise. Blame was assigned to an increase in swearing; a tendency to sleep at sermons; the spread of sex and alcohol, especially in taverns, where women were known to bare their arms and, upon occasion, even their breasts; and, most telling, the marked increase in lying and lawsuits.
The above excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the more subtler examples of ethos. This line is the opening of his novel The Great Gatsby , and at first it might seem not particularly consequential. However, this is a very important way for the narrator Nick Carraway to establish credibility with the audience. In this tale of wealth and class, it’s important to understand Nick’s background and know that he both has had some advantages, but is aware of them. This is a necessary step for the reading audience to be on Nick’s side as he narrates the novel.