ESSAY #1 ASSIGNMENT: VISUAL RHETORIC AND CULTURAL ANALYSIS

(150 points)
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Reena Thomas; RThomas@marymountcalifornia.edu
LENGTH: 4 pages, typed, double spaced, 12 Times New Roman (your Works Cited will be the FIFTH page)
DUE: WEDNESDAY, JULY 6th (via Dropbox labeled ESSAY #1)
VIRTUAL OFFICE HOURS: by email
Visual rhetoric is defined as anything that primarily uses images (still or moving) to convey a message or communicate.
These images can work alone, or they can work with oral and/or written text. The following are examples of visual
rhetoric: paintings, photos, still ads, and commercials.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO: For your first essay, please choose ONE of the following images LISTED
BELOW and analyze it — in other words, tell me the message or meaning of the image and the most
important/effective strategies used to achieve that message (music, color, camera angle, etc.). In
addition, your essay should include a cultural analysis on race, sexuality, or gender (what does the
image directly or indirectly say about race, sexuality, or gender?).
You must include a reference to Stuart Hall’s “Representation” in your paper. How you incorporate
Hall is up to you—it can be a single quote or a paraphrase—but it should be used as a secondary source,
supplementing your analysis but not dominating the paper.
PURPOSE: I will be assessing your ability to 1) make accurate observations and compelling conclusions/inferences; 2)
assess the meaning of an image; 3) critically analyze an image through a cultural lens; 4) incorporate a secondary source;
and 5) relate your interpretation in an organized manner with minimal grammatical errors. As you analyze your image,
you might ask
 What is the primary purpose of the image?
 How is the image constructed? (techniques & strategies)
 Does the image make assumptions about its audience to communicate its message?
 Does the image use gender/race/sexuality, directly or indirectly, to achieve its purpose? In what way?
 Does the image challenge and/or confirm roles based on gender, sexuality, or race?
 Does the image promote, contradict, and/or redefine a cultural value? How so? What strategies are used?
 Is the image successful in some ways but unsuccessful in other ways?
RATIONALE: This assignment will give you practice in analysis, creating a thesis, college-level writing with a focus, revising
drafts, grammar & punctuation, and elements of a standard essay (introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion).
PLEASE CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TO ANALYZE FOR ESSAY #1:
1. CARLS, JR/KATE UPTON AD
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AdViveJYD0
2. DOVE AD
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm1uNgHw6Xo
3. CHINESE DETERGENT AD
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Few8kJ0zfnY
 If you choose to do this one, you might want to look at Teens React to Chinese Detergent Ad:

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4. VINTAGE FOLGERS COFFEE AD
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kovsZZw0LwU