Practicing Rhetorical Analysis

Last week we talked about both fallacies and rhetorical analysis. As I stated in class, rhetorical analysis is very important and for today’s out of class assignment, you will be completing the task on p. 100 in Everything’s an Argument.

Browse YouTube or another Web site to find an example of a powerful emotional argument that’s made visually, either alone or using words as well. In a paragraph, defend a claim about how the argument works. For example, does an image itself make a claim, or does it draw you in to consider a verbal claim? What emotion does the argument generate? How does that emotion work to persuade you?

In the comments section of this post, add the link to your video and respond to the questions. This assignment is worth 20 points and is due no later than 6:45 pm (the end of our regular class time) on Tuesday, February 3rd.


20 thoughts on “Practicing Rhetorical Analysis

  1. The argument is to help support, by donations or adoption, the abused and homeless animals. The argument uses pathos in the images of animals to draw you to consider the verbal claims. The images invoke a sense of pity in the audience. This pity is then used to persuade the audience to help the animals.

    1. As portrayed in the pictures and words, this commercial stirs up an argument with the emotion of sympathy. Most of all, it portrays the often effects and outcome due to a heart of kindness. The commercial makes a claim about different phases of life. It also points to the fact that life can be all about giving. This act of generosity is then used to persuade the audience to generate a heart of helping others. This act can be done by giving time, energy, money and substances.

  2. In this argument, Meg Symington basically states that preservation of the Amazon is paramount to sustain human and animal life on earth. Pictures of nature and wildlife that are included in the video, appeal emotionally to the viewer and really shows how big of a deal this really is. Living in Atlanta, upon seeing these beautiful images and scenery really makes me think about what my role is or what I should do to better the lives of other people and animals. There are a lot of endangered animals out there and we could be on the edge of extinction too as a result of our carelessness.

  3. Mercy for Animal’s ad campaign portrays people buying meat at a variety of places and then realizing that the meat is dripping with blood. After these people realize this, clips are shown of the animals who suffered for that meat to be possible. The ad campaign is arguing that animals should not be killed for human consumption by directly associating the act of buying meat and the suffering of animals. When people buy meat, they don’t think about the suffering that had to occur for it to be produced. Therefore, by using the visual of blood on the meat when it is being bought and then showing the animals who suffered for that meat, you realize the true price that is paid for meat. This argument also produces emotions of guilt, which help convince the audience. This guilt is produced by the fundamental argument in the ad that if you are an individual who buys meat, then you are directly contributing to the suffering of animals.

  4. Hi,

    Hope you’re feeling better.

    Do the visual arguments have to be videos or may I use a political cartoon?

    Sent from my Sprint phone.

  5. This powerful Super Bowl commercial argues that domestic violence is an atrocious act and that we must speak out against it because there are many who find themselves abused, but cannot speak out. The commercial uses an actual phone conversation in which a woman pretends to order a pizza from a 911 operator as she must speak in code, or her abusive husband will hurt her further. It also uses the image of a home that has been trashed in what looks like a case of domestic violence to visually appeal to the viewer’s emotions. This commercial definitely appeals to both pity and outrage. As the commercial ends and these emotions finally hit the viewer, one feels inclined to speak out against domestic violence as they realize the severity and great tragedy that is domestic violence.


    This website provides a strong argument for adopting pets. They’re looking to evoke pity as well as a sense of kinsmanship to persuade the reader to adopt a pet. In order to do this, the owners of the website have ‘cute’ pictures taken of animals they hold in their facility(s) to get the reader to admire the pet’s aesthetic value. This alone can start a sense of a bond between the reader and the animal displayed on the internet. They also tell the reader in a description about the displayed animal about it’s tragic past to get the reader to feel sympathy for him/her. Lastly, the creators of the website put a series of pictures with a human handprint next to a dog and/or cat paw print. The purpose of doing so is to make the reader feel like they share a bond with those species as a human being. All of these elements of persuasion are powerful enough to make someone who has even seen the same kind of advertising before break down and buy a pet. If that happens, the pet gets a home, the owner of the facility gets paid, and the customer gets a feeling of accomplishment for helping another being. This process makes the industry itself a power of persuasion and will keep it going for a long time.

  7. The idea of this video was to give awareness to the people about the health of this planet. It started with a news article of 2050 stating “death in millions, death of ozone layer, pollution at all time high.” All of which are possibilities given the conditions of the planet now. It reaches to the emotional sense of the people. The video asks if people care about their only home and if we can all come together and take care of it. It gives a sense of guilt where if you are not helping the Earth then you are hurting it.

  8. The purpose of the video is to convince all people to reduce the production of plastic, not just recycle. The primary source of pathos is through the stark images which are combined with facts. It is shocking to many people to see just how much trash has accumulated in our oceans and the devastating impact that it can have on ocean life. The images instill frustration and heartache. The extent of the damage seems too extensive to be fixed. It leaves you feeling pity for the animals and wanting to do what you can to avoid being a part of the problem. The video ends by showing peaceful images of wildlife living in oceans and on beaches free from trash. These images coupled with the, albeit greatly glossed over, solutions give you hope that maybe we can turn the tide and have clean oceans.

  9. This video gives an emotional as well as guilty feeling to the viewers. It tells the viewers that the Earth is the only home that humans can survive on and it is dependent on us. We are also dependent on it so we should take initiative in taking care of the environment. Preserving water, using more natural products which are environmentally friendly, and also caring for humanity.

  10. This is a PSA from 1971 that appeals to the viewer to “Keep America Beautiful.”
    The audience is drawn in through the traditional, majestic imagery of the Native American man canoeing down a river juxtaposed with the ugliness of modern pollution. When this is coupled with the scene where the people throw their trash from the moving car at his feet, it causes us to consider the verbal claim that we can end pollution by not littering. From shock the reader turns (em)(sy)mpathetic with the image of the Native American’s tear because he represents the “deep, abiding respect” of America’s “natural beauty.” Overall this commercial uses guilt to disuade the audience from littering and puts the onus on them to end pollution.

  11. In this particular video the 12-year old argues that abortion is wrong and bad irrespective of whether it has been legalized in various states. She argues that a fetus comes from a latin word which means “young one”. Now she opined that it is the mother who decides whether a child lives or dies. Whilst I agree with the moral aspect of this argument it ignores the issue of the mothers health and her right to her body. Abortion is not good,but when the life of the mother is involved, it becomes a health issue and imperative and whether or not the mother is prepared psychologically to handle pregnancy is another issue of debate.

  12. In this argument Ron Paul argues his views on abortion. The fact that this topic is being debated at the republican debate shows how serious of an issue this is. In this video he defends how he believe the federal government shouldn’t be involved and that the individual states should deal with the criminal side. This debate generates a compassionate emotion in an attempt to persuade others that the killing of an unborn child is wrong and that there should be criminal charges enforced on not only the mother but the doctor as well.

  13. In this commercial it shows a little African girl starving and dying a slow painful death at a very young age. This appeals to the audience pathos immediately because once seen you begin to feel bad for the little girl. It pushes or persuades you to want to give some money to the foundation so that the little girl can get all of the help she needs. The argument I see is that here in America we have more then enough while there are people all over the world who have absolutely nothing. I agree with this argument, here in America we as a people are very spoiled and should give what ever we can to help those in need of help because we can save so many lives just from giving away little things that are worthless to us because they can mean so much more to other people in need.

  14. WingSpan Pictures portrays a world where being gay is the norm and being straight is taboo. It is argued through the presentation that a person who is persecuted for loving another soul is wrong no matter the gender of either companion. The argument is liberated from common prejudices because the story is depicted as an alternate reality. Portraying younger children as the primary characters hits a cord emotionally. The innocence of the youth and the torment of the pure cause a surge of sorrow and rage. Those who typically would rebuff any argument for LGBT equality are bound emotionally to the characters due to the juxtaposition. This bridging of adversaries serves to draw the viewer contemplate their prior views. The upheaval of sentiment allows the argument of logos to be heard and underlines the urgency of change. The video convinces viewers to not only hear out their point of view but also if it catches the heart of an onlooker it would persuade them to hear the screams for help from the young, our families, our friends, and anyone around us: the LGBT community.

  15. In this short film the writer tries to turn around the perspective on bullying gay children by simulating a world in which homosexuality is the norm. His argument is no matter how it manifests itself bullying can be harmful, and sometimes even deadly. The stories in this short film all come from real life experiences of young children who are bullied for being themselves. By turning the tables the straight viewer has a look into what its like to be discriminated against based on sexual preference.

  16. This video shows the comedian/activist Steve-O talking about the cruelty of animals in slaughterhouses across the world. This video is very explicit and shows the murdering of animals.This would most definitely be pathos because it appeals to emotions and consciousness of humans. Steve-O tries to persuades his viewers to stop eating meat and go vegan or vegetarian.

  17. This image depicts different styles of clothing that can be worn by women on an Anti-Rape poster. The argument is that no matter what an individual is wearing they are never asking to be sexually assaulted and/or raped. It is an eye opener, seeing all the different attire than someone can wear, yet in every case someone still asks “what the victim was wearing” or draws conclusions that it was their fault. Its trying to persuade the viewers of the ad to see that rape is rape no matter what the outfit is, no matter what situation.

  18. The young man in this video is guaranteed to have the night of his life after he agrees to indulge in a Bud Light beer. The commercial uses both imagery and verbal claims to persuade the audience that Bud Light beer is in fact capable of creating such a euphoric experience for the consumer. Its incorporation of bright lights, upbeat music, and fast transitions between scenes deceives the audience into believing that the consumption of Bud Light can only breed intensely positive outcomes. This attempt at provoking happy emotions is used to persuade the audience that becoming a consumer of Bud Light will surely yield similar results.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s