Essay Assignment

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GWRTC 103: Fall 2011
Dr. Carol Del Vitto

Assignment 3: Rhetorical Analysis of Visual Rhetoric Text

Introduction
Persuasion is effected through visual images as well as written words. Visual texts like cartoons, advertisements, and even photographs, with little or no written text, frequently use rhetorical strategies to persuade its audience of some message, and those strategies can be analyzed in much the same way that they are in a written text. In this project, you will have another opportunity to think critically and carefully about the relative success or failure of an argument, as you did in Assignment 2, but this time analyzing a visual rhetoric text.

The Assignment
You will need to analyze a visual rhetoric text of your choice. A few examples of papers by students in the past have included advertisements, WWII recruitment poster, a Pulitzer Prize photograph, Dachau Concentration Camps architecture, a TV Series (such as Madmen or Dexter), and the Beatles’ album covers. The possibilities are rich. Your end product will be an essay in which you will “read” an image just as you would read and write about a written text.

The purpose of this paper is to convince your audience of your assessment of what argument is being made in this text, and how it succeeds or fails. Your work will need to analyze how the artist’s presentation of this piece effectively or ineffectively makes an argument. You will also need to include specific examples, which could include a discussion of color, composition, style, texture, medium, etc., to support your thesis.

You may also want to include a discussion of the background of the artist/creator and/or image as it relates to your analysis, including its historical context.

In this analysis, you should include pointing out pathos, logos, and ethos, as well as other rhetorical methods, to produce a paper that considers both the messages within the text and the cultural reality it reflects/creates.

Paper Format
This essay should be approximately approx. 5 pages in length, typed or word-processed,
following the APA format and submission guidelines on the syllabus.

A Final Note
Choose a visual rhetoric text that deals with a topic in which you’re interested and provides you with much to discuss. If you’re not sure whether or not your text will work well, you can email me with a link to the image and your question(s).

This assignment is adapted from those available at <http://viz.cwrl.utexas.edu/node/5> and at <http://www.stanford.edu/%7Esteener/sp03/PWR3/rhetan.htm>.

 

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