Essay in Progress: Visual Text

Controversy: the debate over the legality of abortion

Thesis: Participants in this debate ought to reach their conclusions on the issue by considering Constitutional criteria rather than citing personal issues.

Example: link


This relatively simple cartoon illustrates several different views on the issue, the variety of which views it emphasizes by employing exaggerated caricatures. In so doing, the author clearly illustrates a difficulty in the abortion debate: people disagree. While disagreement is a healthy component of any serious debate, the correct conclusion thereof can only be determined by the application of an objective standard. When a debate concerns the legalization of something, as the present debate does, this standard by which to judge the issue must be the law of the land. Since, in the U.S., the law of the land is the Constitution, this document alone can properly fill this role.


Logical Fallacy Scavenger Hunt UPDATED!

1. Ad Hominem fallacy: Twix ad

2. Appeal to False Authority: Dos Equis ad

3. Hasty Generalization: Smuckers ad (was “Bandwagon Appeal”)

4. Circular Reasoning: Frosted Flakes ad

5. False Dilemma: DirectTV ad

6. Red Herring: Geico ad (the ACTUAL AD, this time)

Movie Review Criteria

Roger Ebert’s review of Toy Story paints an overwhelmingly positive picture of the film, calling it a “visionary roller-coaster ride of a movie.” He explains the effect of the visuals in the next paragraph: “‘Toy Story’ … achieves a three-dimensional reality and freedom of movement that is liberating and new.” In essence, his principal criterion is visual realism. However, he also notes several other high points of the film, such as fun, humor and excitement for the kiddies, as well as clever gags, endearing characters, and even poignant scenes which appeal to the more mature viewers.

Rhetorical Device Scavenger Hunt

1) Alliteration: Country Life Butter Slogan – “You’ll never put a better bit of butter on your knife” (Country Life Butter, found at

2) Anaphora: A Tale of Two Cities – It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us,
we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven,
we were all going direct the other way – (Charles Dickens, found at

3) Antimetabole:

In America, you can always find a party.
In Soviet Russia, Party always find you! (Yakov Smirnoff, found at

4) Juxtaposition: Romeo and Juliet – “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;” (William Shakespeare, found at

5) Archaic diction: “To thine own self be true.” (William Shakespeare, found at

6) Imperative sentence: “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” (Mark Twain, found at

7) Inversion: The Mermaid – Then up spoke the captain of our gallant ship,
And a well-spoken man was he;
“I have married a wife in Salem town,
And tonight she a widow will be” (Anonymous, found at

8) Metaphor: King Henry V – “His face is all bubukles, and whelks, and knobs, and flames of fire; and his lips plows at his nose, and it is like a coal of fire, sometimes plue, and sometimes red; but his nose is executed, and his fire is out.” (William Shakespeare, found at

9) Parallelism: Gettysburg Address: “…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Abraham Lincoln, found at

10) Antithesis: An essay in Criticism – “To err is human; to forgive divine.” (Alexander Pope, found at