• Choose an ad (with a large number of words and rhetorical devices) feel free to choose what type of ad it can be a picture, a poster ,a video a movie a logo.• Describe and explain what is the ad generally about • Provide justification for using rhetorical criticism (Using the terms in miniglossary of common rhetorical devices) refer to the powerpoint for this • Your critique of artifact: including specific examples from the artifact you may refer to the powerpoint for this • Your discussion of the implications of the criticism for example is it sexist is it racist does it promote a certain behavior things like that Make a 500-word rhetorical analysis of the advertisement and submit your analysis with the adrefer to the powerpoint slides
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• Used to be confined to speech and written
• With the explosive development of the mass media,
rhetorical theory is now also being used to interpret
works found on radio, television, and film – that is,
what we now call mass-mediated culture.
• “The strategic use of communication, oral or written,
to achieve specifiable goals” (Kuypers, 2005, p. 5).
• Foss (2004): rhetoric has the power to shape how we
Aristotle on Rhetoric
• Art of Persuasion
• Three modes of persuasion
• Ethos – Personal character of speaker (credibility)
• Pathos – Speaker stirring emotions in listeners
• Logos – logical arguments in speech
Rhetoric and the Mass Media
• The study of how people choose what to say in a given situation, how to
arrange or order their thoughts, select the specific terminology to
employ, and decide precisely how they are going to deliver their
message is the central focus of rhetorical studies (Medhurst and
Benson, 1984, p. viii)
All symbolic communication is inherently rhetorical because it is
intended to communicate, and rhetorical criticism is concerned
with how symbols communicate.
Applied Rhetorical Analysis
• When analyzing advertising and commercials, you might also consider
some of the specific rhetorical devices or means that copywriters use,
such as alliteration, rhyme, rhythm, definition, metaphor and
metonymy, comparison, exemplification, and irony.
A Miniglossary of Common Rhetorical Devices
• Allegory: Allegories are narratives in which abstract
ethical and philosophical beliefs are represented by
characters and events—that is made concrete.
Allegories can be seen as extended metaphors in
which the meanings of events in a text lie outside of
the text itself, and the characters can be seen as
personifications of abstract ideas.
• Alliteration: Generally, using a number of words in a
passage that start with the same letter.
• “Magazines Move Millions. One Mind at a Time.”
• Antithesis: Using oppositions or juxtaposing
• “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as
fools.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
• Comparison: We can see, then, that speakers and
writers use comparisons to reinforce the arguments
they are making.
• Definition: There are many kinds of definitions. There
are lexical or dictionary definitions, which refer to the
way words are conventionally used. There are also
stimulative definitions, which refer to a definition
given for the purpose of argument. And there are
operational definitions, which do not rely on words
but offer a list of operations to perform that will lead
to an understanding of what is being defined.
• Encomium: An encomium praises a thing (or a person)
by dealing with its inherent qualities. This is a widely
used technique in advertising.
• “Taste great, less filling”
• Exemplification: We often use examples to support
our position in some argument. We must be careful, of
course, that we don’t allow selective perception to
blind us to examples that would cast doubt on our
argument or overgeneralize from examples.
• Irony: Using words to convey the opposite of what
they literally mean. One problem with irony is that
many people do not recognize a statement as ironic
and take it at face value.
• Dramatic irony: in which the fates lead to a resolution that is the
opposite of what a character intended
• Socratic Irony: Which involves pretending to be ignorant.
• Sarcasm: which means, literally, “tearing the flesh”
• Metaphor: Uses analogy to generate meaning.
Metaphor means equivalence, as in “My love is a red
• Simile: A weaker form of metaphor, using like or as.
Metaphor is based on equivalence, but simile is based on
similarity: “My love is like a red rose.”
• Metaphor: My friend is a tiger on the dance floor stalking its
• Simile: My friend moved across the dance floor like a tiger
stalking its prey
• Metonymy: Metonymy uses association to generate
meaning. Advertisers who want to inform their
readers or viewers that someone is very wealth can
use mansions and Rolls-Royce automobiles to convey
the information. Metonymy is one of the most
commonly used techniques by advertisers because it
builds on information that audience already have and
thus is very economical.
• Rhyme: The repetitive use of words with similar
terminal sound a commonly used device to attract
people’s attention and help them to remember things.
It is found in much poetry:
Pepsi Cola hits the spot
Twelve full ounces, that’s a lot
Twice as much for you money, too
Pepsi Cola is the drink for you
• Rhyme has the power to stick in our minds, which
explains why it is often used in advertising jingles.
• Rhythm: Rhythm refers to patterned and recurring
alternations, at various intervals, of sound or speech
elements. Another term for rhythm is beat.
• Synecdoche: A weaker form of metonymy in which part is
used to stand for the whole or vice versa. For example, we
use the Pentagon to stand for the entire American military
establishment or the White House to stand for the American
Rhetorical Analysis of the Visual Image
• They are composed of visual signs (signifiers and signified,
symbols, icons, indexes)
• They represent something real or imagined
• They generally contain objects and people in various places and
sometimes also words.
• They generate meaning in those who see them
• They have a denotational and connotational significance
• They often generate emotional responses
What is the image about? What is the subject of the image?
What signifiers, signified, and symbols do you find in the image?
What is the primary message of the image? Are there secondary messages?
What is the detonated message of the image?
What is the connotated message of the image?
What feelings and connotations are created by the image?
What intertextual references can be found (if there are any that is)?
• Spatiality, lighting, ambience, tone, shots, and colors
• What are the people in the image like? What are they wearing? What objects
do they have?
• What facial expression are found on people in the image? What are their
Organizing a Rhetorical Criticism
• Description of the communication/artifact/symbols
• Description of social, historical, economic, political, etc.
relevant to the artifact
• Explanation of rhetorical approach, including justification
• Your critique of artifact: including specific examples from
• Your discussion of the implications of the criticism
What is a Critique?
• We focus on an artifact or a text
• The “text” is the communication act or event we
wish to study
• A text can be narrowly defined or broadly defined
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