By Friday (Nov. 19th) , please complete a full draft of your final essay (750-1000 words) according to the template below. The purpose of the essay is to produce a rhetorical analysis, which the process outlined below helps achieve by focusing on the implicit narrative elements of a selected message. See the links below to select a message.
Style: Honest in your observation, thorough in your examination, and both objective and confident in your findings. To observe something is to examine the premises. The attempt to understand and express not only the purpose of something, but also how that purpose is achieved. In essence, it’s the how and why a message works that way that it does (and perhaps how it is supposed to). A methodical look at the engineering and design of the message. No need to be overly stiff, or detached in formality, just follow the process. Skeptical. Describe and order your perspective according to the parameters laid out. Develop a response.
Template: There is ample room to develop this structure in creative ways, but the structure helps us establish a common course.
Description: The effort to present and distill the essence of the text. Write to grasp the message in such a way that you can present the essential characteristics and patterns within the message. Focus on details that foreground the most important dimensions and embody the premise of the message. A premise is a kind of framework proposition; an assertion or proposition which forms the basis for a work. The premise of a story is the foundational idea that expresses the plot in simple terms. I recommend that you pause or freeze the video at a strategic point. Focus on the details presented by the still image. Attempt to describe the composition: what is included in the scene, and what do those details imply? Help the reader envision the foundational ideas of the construction (not a report/summary of every detail). The explicit tagline should be considered as well, particularly in terms of the message (which is the solution to the problem presented by the rhetorical situation).
Analysis: Use the responses from Journal Assignment #8 as a starting point, create paragraphs around the following components: Identify the story elements and interpret these elements to see how they present values:
Who or what is the central person(s) whom the audience identifies? How is the character presented? How is the audience encouraged to identify with the characters? By what means? What values are associated with the characters? How do they embody certain recognizable states of being?
The opposing force or obstacle this character faces…
The resolution of the problem and how this solution sets up models…
The similarity of this story to others like it…
Identify central values represented by the main character and the way he or she faces problems.
What kind of recognizable figures or types do the characters represent? What kinds of implications does this type of character suggest?
Identify the entire rhetorical vision: what ‘reality’ do the characters live in and see what values this view of the world upholds. The theory here holds that we humans construct a coherent worldview from stories we hear and believe about how the world works. How does the message offer just such a worldview?
Look for symbolic expressions of values or ideas. How did the message use symbolic imagery to convey values?
Name and describe the ultimate legitimizer: how does the message offer a kind taken for granted description of how things should be?
Evaluation: Add your own creative insights into the premise, rhetorical vision, and ultimate legitimizer of the message. Consider this (near) quote from a recent film: “you don’t know someone unless you know what they want.” As such, what does the commercial want? Or, better yet, what does the commercial want the audience to want, and does that include you? Use the data you have pulled out to identify what central values are presented by the story line, characters, resolution of plot, and setting; to determine how the values are presented (i.e., satirically, directly) and how convincing they are; to suggest what audience the values and style would appeal to; and to formulate explanations for why and how the message works–and for whom.
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