Visual Rhetoric


Read Chapter Four Visual Rhetoric: Thinking about Images as Arguments in our textbook for guidance on how to analyze an image as an argument. For this assignment, choose a visual text and analyze its argument. Then evaluate whether the argument is effective or not. Support your analysis and evaluation with strong evidence and detail from the visual.

●   Identify the author( s) of the image. Who was the photographer/ artist/ designer? Who produced or sponsored the image?

●   Identify the intended audience for the image. Consumers? Art lovers? Newspaper reader of a particular political leaning? A particular demographic (age, gender, race, nationality, etc.)? Explain how you know that is the intended audience (context of publication, producer of the image, etc.).

●   Identify and describe the central argument of the image. If you cannot identify the argument, explain why you cannot really describe what the argument is.

●   Does the image appeal primarily to the reason (logos), perhaps even using statistics, charts, graphs, tables, or illustrations? Does it appeal to feelings (pathos), evoking emotional responses or deeply held values? Or does it appeal to credibility and character (ethos), suggesting good sense, trustworthiness, or prudence? Use details from the image to explain how you know.

●   Are there any assumptions you can identify in the argument, either assumptions held by the creator or by the audience?

●   Are there any visual symbols present that contribute to the argument?

●   What single aspect of the image immediately captures your attention? Why exactly does it stand out? Its size? Position on the page? Beauty? Grotesqueness? Humor? How does the visceral impact of this element contribute to the visual’s overall argument?

●   What is the relation of any text to the image? Does the visual part do most of the work, or does it serve to attract us and lead us on to read the text?

●   What elements at first, go unnoticed or seem to be superfluous to the image? Are they important? If so, how? If not, why are they present?

For general guidance, use the Checklist for Analyzing Images (140) (Kindle Locations 4541-4549) and the Visual Guide: Analyzing images (141) (Kindle Locations 4567-4568).