Paper #1: Visual Rhetoric

We will be spending a few weeks reading about visual rhetoric, the communication of messages and arguments through the use of images, as well as viewing and discussing a wide range of examples of visual rhetoric. For your essay, Iâ€m asking you to write an analysis of an image (or pair of images) or a short video (no more than five minutes). The image can be a painting, a documentary photograph, a public service poster, a Photoshopped parody image, an Internet meme, or a video. The video could be a music video or a parody mash-up or a vid.
The goal of any rhetorical analysis is to demonstrate your understanding of how an image or a piece of visual rhetoric communicates its messages and meanings. One way of looking at this process is that you are breaking the piece down into parts to gain a deeper understanding of those parts. By understanding how the different parts work, then you can use these insights to better understand the meaning of the image as a whole.
Whatever image or video you choose, keep these principles in mind as you write your analysis:
*Be sure to use the Chapter 10 guide that outlines the numerous visual features to help you analyze your selected image.
*You should offer in the intro paragraph some (historical) context and even describe the relevant details of your image or video, the way a reviewer summarizes a movie he or she is discussing. More importantly, the details you choose should help your reader understand the way that image/video communicates a message.
* This essay is not thesis-driven but you will need to make sure that you convey to your reader why the image/video (and the message it sends) is important and worth thinking about. For this exploratory essay, your intro paragraph should end with an analysis about a visual feature that helps you transition to your first body paragraph.
* The best papers will move beyond the obvious in their interpretations. What other messages are communicated in the image youâ€ve chosen?
* Create strong topic sentences that indicate the way of thinking or meaning that a visual feature conveys. Avoid offering observations or facts in your topic sentences, which produce a data dump instead of an analysis. Your topic sentences need to do the following work: “This [visual feature] communicates [this way of thinking]” OR “These [visual features] convey [this way of thinking].
* Be sure to offer transition words or phrases to help readers follow the logic of your analysis of the imageâ€s visual features and to create coherence between the various paragraphs and their analyses.
* Create an effective structure that organizes your paper’s points into a hierarchy of importance, ending with the most important visual feature in the last paragraph. In this last paragraph, the burden is on you as a writer to provide reasons for why this visual feature is much more significant than the others, or why the image ranks this particular feature as more significant than the others.

* Your conclusion paragraph should not merely repeat the analyses offered in previous body paragraphs. In order to avoid repetition and redundancy, the conclusion paragraph needs to offer a new analysis regarding a visual feature. Also, be sure to use a signal phrase (e.g. lastly, finally, etc.) to indicate to readers that you are concluding your essay. Refer to the “Conclusion Strategies” handout from the writing workshop for example conclusions to model in your essay.
Requirements: 5 pages, 5 FULL pages minimum. Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Normal margins.
Double-spaced. Page numbers, right-hand corner. A creative and effective title. Attach the image or video at the end of the essay; do not put it in the body of the essay. Keep the conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation in mind as you write. In-text citation according to MLA. Works Cited.

Reminder Re: Writing Center Extension: If you commit to a full half-hour session at the Writing Center with a writing consultant, then I will give you two extra days beyond the original due date to submit your essay. This means that the essay would then be due on Tuesday, February 20th by 8 p.m. to the drop box on our Canvas page.
Please use the following format for this essay:
WRIT 100
Date essay is due
Creative Title for Essay

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