Major Paper 1: Visual Analysis

Assignment & Purpose

Write an essay that analyzes the rhetoric of visual arguments (paintings, photographs, advertisements, political cartoons, etc.). Your overall goal in this paper is to construct and support a thesis that evaluates the quality of the arguments being made in your piece/s of visual rhetoric (how visual images communicate messages).
In order to do this, your paper should place the visual arguments in a context for your intended readers, identify the audiences being targeted, and identify the claims made. Most importantly though, you should explain how those claims are “appealing” to the audience, focusing on why the appeals in the argument are or are not persuasive and why that might be interesting or unusual. As you work on this assignment, make sure that you are going beyond merely summarizing the obvious in the imagery, but instead analyze and interpret the deeper meaning that the visual piece is trying to convey.
The purpose of this assignment is to help you practice the basics of analysis in a creative way by exploring images which exhibit complexity and rhetorical purpose. In writing this essay, you will be more aware of the cultural, social, and political influences of visual sources. This assignment, ideally, will allow you to explore the implications of visuals through design, symbolism, cultural implications, social critique, etc.


⦁ MLA format (heading, header, double spaced, etc.) Must have Works Cited where you cite your visual
⦁ Professional Third Person Voice
⦁ Academic writing style
⦁ Analytical and Argumentative Thesis Statement
⦁ Clear, interesting, and fleshed out analysis over a visual
⦁ Clear Organization
⦁ 1000-1250 words

Course Student Learning Outcomes

⦁ Demonstrate critical thinking standards as they engage in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of visual sources in order to explore patterns and contradictions among images and present the complexity of multiple interpretations and implications.
⦁ Write in a style that clearly communicates meaning, builds credibility, and offers fresh insights.

Evaluation Criteria

See Grading Rubric on class website
The following categories determine the grade for each submitted paper: Meets Assignment, Introduction, Thesis, Focus on Thesis, Content, Analysis, Organization, Audience, Closing, Format, and Mechanics. Not all of these elements are weighted the same, but all are part of the final grade for your paper. The most important aspect of any paper in this class is critical thinking, which you reveal throughout the essay (Thesis, Content, Analysis, Organization, etc.)