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You can pick just about anything visual: • famous artwork, like a Van Gogh painting or an Andy Warhol print • not-so-famous artwork, like graffiti or a cereal box • visual campaigns, like product marketing or political graphics

You will write a 3-page paper analyzing the rhetoric of a visual piece.

 

You can pick just about anything visual:
• famous artwork, like a Van Gogh painting or an Andy Warhol print • not-so-famous artwork, like graffiti or a cereal box
• visual campaigns, like product marketing or political graphics

After choosing an artifact, consider the context in which your artifact was created:
• Who is the creator of the visual? What else has he/she/they created?
• Who did the creator make the visual for and who is/was affected by it?
• What do you know about the creator’s background, including heritage, education,

status, mission?
• What kind of an artifact is it? What genre or category would you label it as?
• What seems to be the creator’s attitude toward the subject?
• What makes it special or important? What impact has it had?
• What is the artifact made out of and what is included in it?
• Where was the artifact originally constructed?
• Where was the artifact intended to be viewed? Where was it actually viewed?
• When was the artifact created?
• What other historical or cultural events were occurring in the same time period? • When did the artifact have its greatest significance? When might it again?
• Why was the artifact created? To make a profit, deliver a message, change

perception?
• Why did/does the artifact affect its viewer? • Why should we care?

Review the rhetorical means of persuasion

  • Ethos: Consider the credibility of the artifact. What makes it believable and trustworthy? Does it follow ethical guidelines? Is it well-designed or poorly constructed? Who created it? Who supports it?
  • Pathos: Does the artifact employ devices (color, images, words) that cause an emotional reaction to it? Are those devices cultural, historical, political? What specific emotions are meant to be evoked and is the artifact successful?
  • Logos: What kind of logic or reason is used in the artifact to affect an audience’s interpretation? Is there an argument being made? Are there fact, statistics, or references present?
  • Kairos: Was the artifact created and displayed at the opportune moment? Ig it had been presented and another time and place, would it have been as effective? More? Less?
  • Topos: How does this artifact fit in with other artifacts of its kind? Does follow conventions? Is the genre appropriate to the argument?

    Develop an argument

    • Have an opinion. You are now the expert on this artifact and you should have

      something to say about it. How does it make people feel, think, and react? How does it contribute to, affect, or reflect upon society or communities? Write your opinion down in one sentence. Form a thesis statement.

    • Organize your thoughts. Make a logical sequence of arguments that supports your overall opinion. Your main thesis should be developed with a series of small sub- arguments (main points), connected with clear transitions. Walk your reader through why this particular artifact had the effect it does on people and be sure all your sub-arguments (main points) directly relate back to your main thesis.
    • Find three sources to incorporate into your essay. Where/what can you research? What might the experts say about your artifact (or this particular genre)? Think broadly and use the five elements of rhetoric to help with research. For instance, ethos—who/what created your artifact. How does knowing about the creator add/detract to the persuasive element?
 

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