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: â€œThis [visual feature] communicates [this way of thinking]â€ OR â€œThese [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 â€œConclusion Strategiesâ€ 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:
Date essay is due
Creative Title for Essay
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