Analyzing Images Essay (Rhetorical Analysis) English 102

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Analyzing Images Essay (Rhetorical Analysis)

English 102
Peer Review: 3/5 or 3/6

Final Draft: 3/8

Length requirement: 2-3 pages

Format: MLA

Writing Task

Write an essay that analyzes one print advertisement. Describe the ad in detail so your reader can easily visualize it, but the main focus of the paper is analysis/critique. If at all possible, include the advertisement with your analysis. In addition to analyzing the rhetorical appeals made by the advertisement, you need to criticize the ad by commenting on what it conveys about our culture.

You can’t assume that the reader can see the ad, so it’s imperative that the essay has an effective lead-in to introduce the ad to the reader. You need to create a “hook” that transitions to the ad, you have to concisely describe it early on, and then the essay has to assert a thesis that is an argumentative conclusion about the ad. The essay has to have an identifiable position on what the ad does and means, and it has to support that position with detailed analysis.
Here are the questions you have to consider:

  • How does the ad appeal to its target audience? To what values does the ad appeal? And how is the ad constructed to appeal to those values? (use of color, copy, document design, layout, graphics, and images). What strategies does the advertiser use?

  • What does this ad say about our culture? (issues of gender, race/ethnicity, body image, beauty, health, self-esteem, sexuality, et al.) Are the explicit and implicit messages positive, negative, wholesome, troubling, realistic, infuriating, noble pathetic?


Address your paper to your peer-scholars who might be interested in your subject and could be interested in your analysis and/or findings. But also imagine your audience as somewhat informed but undecided people who might take an opposing viewpoint from your own.


Your essay needs to have a clear purpose with ample detail to support this purpose, and it needs to have an assertive thesis at least by the end of the second paragraph. The essay should have a beginning that generates interest, an ending that provides a sense of closure, and the parts in between should be arranged in a logical and rhetorically effective sequence. The essay should demonstrate stylistic maturity and mastery of editorial conventions (grammatical correctness).

A Successful Analyzing Images Essay

  • Provides a concise, accurate, and descriptive summary of the ad early on to orient the reader

  • Offers an assertive thesis that directs the action of the essay and reflects the whole essay

  • Has a thesis that makes an evaluative judgement about the effectiveness of the ad and how it reflects American culture

  • Offers strong support for its thesis by using specific details and detailed analysis of how the ad attempts to persuade

  • Uses the concepts of ethos (appeal to credibility, character), logos (appeal to logic, reason), and pathos (appeal to emotions, values, beliefs) appropriately with the ad he or she is evaluating

  • Uses third person voice to analyze the ad, not first person or second person

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