Rhetorical Analysis 1

Rhetorical Analysis #1: Visual-Verbal Text

To help you better understand how visual and verbal elements work together to create an argument, you will write a 1000-1200 word rhetorical analysis essay on any visual-verbal text you find online or in print. Please be sure to include the text you’re analyzing somewhere in your analysis.

Use the tools for rhetorical analysis we’ve discussed in class to do your analysis. Very broadly, consider WHAT the piece is trying to get its audience to do or think and HOW it’s doing it. More specifically you may want to ask yourself the following (this is not meant to be an organizational framework for your analysis but prompts to help you think about ways to approach your analysis; you can focus on one or more of these):

Describe the elements of the piece: What are the visual elements actually present in the piece? What kind of verbal content, fonts, colors, shapes, images (illustrations, photography) are used? To what effect? What is the argument of the piece? (i.e. What Aristotelian appeals do you see operating?)

Describe the context for this piece: How do each of the elements above appeal to a primary (target) audience? Who is that audience? What is the exigence for the ad/poster/flier? What constraints does the author/sponsor/designer of the piece face? Who is the designer/author/sponsor?

Describe the relationships between elements: for example: identify the primary focal point and how it’s operating in the piece, how your eyes “travel” across the piece and how this is accomplished and for what purpose, and address the hierarchical relationships among elements such as size, color, contrast, and how these relationships make arguments.

Why did the designer/author choose to use the elements he/she did? How would you make it more effective? What works especially well (is persuasive) in your view and why?

An effective rhetorical analysis will describe the elements, context, and relationships between elements, as described above, in a way that demonstrates you understand the concepts; generate insights about the rhetoric of the piece; and meets length requirements.

DUE:  Feb. 19 before class Thursday (post to your Google drive folder)

20 points


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