Take a couple minutes and analyze this image.
Images as Arguments
Images can be used to help us see the argument that the author is intending. They can be used to lower our skepticism, visual proof of something that happened. This is problematic nowadays with the popularity of programs such as Photoshop, where images can be changed or manipulated. Now more than ever, we have to be weary of taking images at face value. We have to critically think about images and their intended effect.
Three basic questions we can ask.
- Who produced the image?
- Who distributed the image?
- Who consumed the image?
Our textbook suggests a rule for writers. If you think that pictures will help you make the point you are arguing, include them with captions explaining their sources and relevance.
4 Ways to Persuade with Emotion (Pathos)
- Concrete Examples
- Connotative Diction
- Metaphors and Similes
Appeals to pathos target the link between audience members and their values.
When we act on our values, we experience emotions like happiness, pride, satisfaction, etc. When we do not, we often feel shame, fear, or anger. The same goes for the actions of people around us: we are often pleased when the actions of people around us align with our values and angry when they don’t.
1. We live in a Visual Culture
We live in a visual culture. We are saturated in images at nearly every moment of our waking lives. For this reason, it is important to develop critical thinking skills that allow us to read images. I challenge you to engage with images actively instead of passively. Take the images apart in order to understand their messages. Accept, reject, or qualify those claims.
2. Visual Media as Texts
Learning to read images, deconstruct, and engage with them will make us better readers of texts, and vice versa.
Visual materials that accompany written arguments serve several purposes. First, they appeal to the reader’s emotions. While images can be logical, they first appeal to the senses of the reader before they are analyzed more logically. In other words, their immediate impact is more on the viewer’s heart than the mind.
Pictures can also serve as visual evidence, establishing proof that something occurred or appeared in a certain way. Pictures can help clarify data with graphs and tables and can also be used to confuse or trick an audience with graphs and tables.
Pictures can add humor or satire to an argument.
Visual images can be read as text, as such we need to think critically about them. Looking closely we can discern not only what they show but also how and why.
Appeals to Emotion
Images can be used to instill an emotional response in the audience. Even implied images in text can be very emotionally powerful. A description of blood stained clothes draws certain emotions in a reader.
Lawyers know how important visuals can be. They dress their defendants in suits and ties to make them seem more credible.
Types of emotional appeals:
- appeal to pity
- appeal to fear
- appeal to self-interest
- identity prejudice
Would you persuade, speak of Interest, not Reason. – Benjamin Franklin
Graff “Hidden Intellectualism” (369)
In the article “Hidden Intellectualism,” Gerald Graff argues that schools should encourage students to write about subjects that interests them. While passion about a subject does not necessarily mean they will write well about it, they can benefit from reflective and analytical writing about subjects they care about.
Nonacademic subjects can be “more intellectual than school.”
What does he mean by intellectual here?
Real intellectuals turn any subject, however lightweight it may seem, into grist for their mill through thoughtful questions they bring to it, whereas a dullard will find a way to drain the interest out of the richest subject (265).
Do you agree with this statement? Why?
- Who is his audience?
- What is his purpose?
Give me the student anytime who writes a sharply argued, sociologically acute analysis of an issue in Source over the student who writes a lifeless explication of Hamlet or Socrates’ Apology (270).