Read the course page on Visual Argument first. Make sure to follow all three given links.
Write 300-500 words on what you personally learned about visual arguments in this lesson. Do not copy and paste, use your own words only. You can write in a form of a paragraph or create an outline or some sort of list. I encourage you to use visual elements of design available via the editing tool panel.
Please, read other students’ posts first and do your best not to repeat but instead to add to what has been already summarized.
Visual texts rely on imagery more than on words even though words can still be incorporated. Visual texts are essentially similar to written texts in that they also tell stories (comic strip or a video recording), inform us (e.g. a road sign), serve to share a feeling or an experience (e.g. a personal photograph), and convince (e.g. an advertisement). Visual texts can be universal and understood by any, like a photograph of a laughing child or a kissing couple, or they can require more mental work and “reading between the lines” or interpretation. To understand other written texts, we need to understand the context. Try viewing some of these British political cartoons to test not only your sense of humor but also your knowledge of British and European political scene: http://findpik.com/british-political-cartoons. Well, how did it go?
Some visual texts are created with a rhetorical purpose to persuade or influence the viewers. Thus, visual texts become visual arguments. Some examples of visual arguments are political cartoons, advertisements, posters drawing attention to a social or a political cause. We are literally bombarded with visual arguments throughout the day: TV, bus stop posters, billboards, newspaper and Internet ads. Even films can be seen as visual arguments. What statement about the world, technology and the role of a man does the movie Avatar make? What is the “lesson” of The Groundhog Day? Can you think of a movie with an anti-war message?
Visual arguments just like written ones have a claim – they make a persuading statement. Depending on the complexity of the argument, there may or may not be explicit reasons and evidence. Visual arguments are more often than not compact, so they have to rely on other elements to be effective: images, colors, placement of text, font, etc. Due to the nature of the visual argument, we, viewers, do not expect as much support (reasons and evidence), and tend to be influenced by such arguments subconsciously. However, we should examine visual arguments using the same critical approaches that we use analyzing written argument: rhetorical appeals, structure of the argument, logical fallacies. Additionally, we can analyze the design elements: color, light, composition, text and more.
I am inviting you to explore visual arguments using the resources below. I will then ask you to discuss visual arguments and provide examples of your own (see Discussions assignment). The culminating assignment of this short unit on visual arguments will be to write a paper and analyze a visual argument.
Read a student’s analysis of rhetorical appeals in a photographic image of fallen soldiers here http://usteamc.tripod.com/essay1.html
2. Visit this Purdue OWL page and view the power point presentation on Visual Rhetoric – click on the slide link on the page to see it int he full screen format: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/729/01/
3. Finally, visit the link below and see how an image can be manipulated into becoming a propaganda: http://www.ravenndragon.net/montgomery/pathos.html