Visual Argument Essays deal with visual representations like a picture in a magazine, your textbook, an image that I present to you in class or that another teacher presents to you in class, it might be a web page. The message is always in the details of the visual image. There are elements that need to be addressed in this essay. The first is the Creator and Distributors: Who are these people or organizations.
What are their work, what do they usually do, what is their ethos, what are their intentions when they distribute this image? Next what is the medium that is being used? Are their graphs? Are there pictures? What is being used and why?
Now who are the viewers and readers of this image. You might come across an image that is out of context. Maybe it was originally in a field and stream magazine, and you are seeing it someplace else. So who was the original audience? How does that impact the message and the composition of the image?
Now you are looking at a little bit of pathos, what emotions are meant to be created. And that leads right into the next element: Content and Purpose. What is and is not included in this image? What is the objective of it? Now you are looking at logos, ethos, pathos.
What were the creators and distributors trying to do with this image? Finally, you get down to the real details, what is the design? What are the actual composition details, what choices were made? Text size, all of that kind of information. Now for my students, you have all of that information in your textbook; it is broken out for you as a series of questions under these categories.
If you answer those questions, you are building your body paragraphs for your essay. Outline So how do you do that. I have answered all the questions on this picture.I know what I want to say. How do I put this essay together? You have an introduction that briefly describes the image and establishes its argument. Generally, you are writing for people who have also seen the image.
So you don’t need to go into great detail; just briefly describe the image, what elements were conveyed in this image to convey the argument that is being made? Occasionally people will introduce the creator and distributor in the introduction. That takes care of that little box. You could do that, or you could wait until later on. You thesis is going to say here’s the argument and here are the elements that are essential to conveying it. Now the body.
Each paragraph addresses one of the key elements related to the argument. If all the elements are present and used extensively, everything that was on the last slide, then you need to address them all, one paragraph for each one. So, you would have many body paragraphs. You could combine some elements if the topic sentence works for them. For example, you could combine purpose and viewers because as I described they are very closely related. Who your audience is affects the purpose of the work.
So you could put those in the same paragraph. You could also combine the medium and the design together because the medium and the elements of design work very closely together. Again you need a topic sentence that would indicate medium and design were also used to convey this argument. For sure you are always going to need to who created the image, who are the viewers of the image, what content was provided and how the image was designed. That is essential for the body of the essay.
Now in your conclusion, fairly short: how effective was this visual argument? You have analyzed all the elements. How effective do you think the argument was made in this picture or image? There you go.