Assignment 19005

For many students, the document will be a brochure or a website produced by or about the site you visited for your observation. The document should have at least 500 words of text (3-4 good paragraphs) for you to examine as you’ll be focusing in particular on the text. You will analyze the “rhetorical” choices the author (or authoring agency) is making in the source, exploring why the author(s) chose the specific words and images in the source, why they chose its color scheme, why they chose a particular mode of distribution (pamphlet, website, flyer etc.), what information they make, through arrangement, most visible in the text, what emotional appeals they make on their audience (pathos), how logical it is (logos), what ethos the author (or authoring agency) projects, and what kind of audience the author (or authoring agency) targets . You will support a theme or thesis about the text’s choices with details from the text itself.

Outcomes for Rhetorical Analysis
• Identify how the purpose of text is achieved through the choices a writer makes • Evaluate the degree to which the argumentative choices a writer makes are effective (logos) and ethical (ethos), as well as identify what emotional appeals are made and why (pathos)? • Determine the effects of point of view on an author’s interpretation/argument • Organize prose giving priority to more important ideas • Demonstrate effective logical reasoning in written prose • Incorporate paraphrases and quotations smoothly and honestly into writing
Some pointers and questions to keep in mind (note that you are not expected to include all of your conclusions into your essay; pick and choose wisely):
Read and annotate any written text in the document.
Closely examine visual elements (images, colors, layout, fonts, etc.). Use the handout on analyzing visual texts for help
How are images, design, links, and other media incorporated? Are they appropriate? Do they match what the text communicates, or do they contradict it?
What features of design (color scheme, variations of font style and size, placement on the page, formal or playful lettering) seem to stand out? Do the design elements add to the function/ purpose of the document, or are they merely decorative?
Determine the document’s purpose (implicit or explicit). Is it making an argument? Trying to persuade someone of something? Trying to sell something? Simply informing its audience on a topic?
Determine the audience. Who does the document target? How can you tell?
Who is the author or producer? Why might it matter? Is any bias present or possible? Is the author/producer knowledgeable and reliable (ethos)?
Examine the text’s appeals to logic (logos). Evaluate any claims made in the document. Are they fair? Is there any faulty reasoning in these claims?
Examine the text’s appeals to emotion (pathos)
How current is the document and its information? When was it published (or last updated/ revised)?
How complete and accurate is the information? Is anything missing?
Examine the organization/structure, point of view, and context of the document’s text. What do these choices add?
What is the overall message of the document? What does it attempt to do? Is it successful?
Analyzing Visual Texts and Documents
Remember: Like with written texts, every part of a visual text is a conscious choice.
The words
How much written text is present? To what effect?
What do the words say? Do they agree with the image or contradict it in some way?
What kind of diction, tone, language is present in the written text?
What do the words imply? What do they add to the message of the document?
Do they use logos? Ethos? Pathos? Or a combination of these?What kind of image is present?
A photograph? A drawing or cartoon? A combination?
What effect does this have? How does it contribute to the meaning of the document?What’s the image of?
A person, place, object, etc?
Is there a story being told? What? Why?
How do these particular items and/or narrative contribute to the document’s meaning?If people are present…The body (or bodies)
How large is the body in the frame?
What part of the body is dominant in the picture?
What’s the context: Is the figure shown interacting with others, or alone? Is the figure active or passive, tough and in-your-face or withdrawn? What details tell you this?The face(s)
Facial expression: smiling, frowning, angry, etc…
What kind of emotion does the facial expression suggest?Clothing
Type of (or lack of) clothing: What is the subject wearing? Be as specific as possible.
What sort of tone does the subject’s clothing imply: professional, personal, athletic, sexual, etc? How so?
What more does the clothing (or lack of) tell us about the subject?Color scheme
What is the color scheme: Black and white? Bright colors? Cool colors? Dark colors?
Why this color scheme? What does it add? How is the document organized?
Is the image more important than the words, or vice versa? In what proportion do words and images appear? Where are the words in relation to the image(s)?
Is there one central image, one section where your eye goes first? Are there other surrounding images/background or just one?
Does the document employ different levels of clarity/ focus? Are there parts that are blurred or less noticeable?
Why this type of organization? What does it contribute to the meaning of the document?The document as a whole
What’s the overall message of the document? What does it imply to viewers?
What kind of audience does the document appeal to?
What is it showing us: a specific look, quality, lifestyle, value, desire, dream, idea, ideal, fear, paranoia, etc?