Article Analysis Writing

User Generated



York University


Article Analysis Writing, need 500 words.

User generated content is uploaded by users for the purposes of learning and should be used following Studypool's honor code & terms of service.

Explanation & Answer



Analyzing Roland Barth’s Rhetoric of the Image

Student Name
Institutional Affiliation
Course Name
Instructors Name
Institution Affiliation




Analyzing Roland Barth’s Rhetoric of the Image
Roland Barthes's text "Rhetoric of the Image" can be regarded as a kind of research
focusing on the semiotics of photographs, which are used in advertising. Barthes highlights the
idea that photography is not simply an impartial representation of reality but also a means of
carrying image cultural meaning and ideological symbols. In the process of an analysis, some
lively questions come up, which are somehow related to the nature of visual communication and
how it shapes the society’s images interpretation. Mainly, he questions whether photography
produces an objective mirror that resembles the reality or if it is inevitably used as a medium for
cultural symbols and ideological signs. His study of the Panzani advertising makes us wonder if
trivial visual methods like color arrangements, object compositions and object layouts can
unconsciously control way a society thinks. Moreover, Barthes insists on the deliberate
examination of the implied meanings of images and the ruling ideologies of the society. Besides
his statement about representation of the "traumatic" images, which are used to explain the visceral
reality, the question arises, what might be the limit to the number of such images which are
necessarily interpreted by the cultural connotations (Barthes 1997, 7).
The foundation of Barthes' essay derives largely from the use of examples from the selected
advertisement which, in turn, makes his idea even more compelling. He chooses to study the
components that form the image, such as the general pattern, colors utilized and the composition,
so that he can understand the meaning beyond the mere signification and symbolism. For example,
Barthes' interpretation of the Panzani ad is illustrated through his observation of the abundance of
produce and the marketing focus on the net bag or the traditional Italian colors which carry implied
ideas of plenty, perfection, and 'Italianicity (Barthes 1997, 8).' Barthes asserts that the "rhetoric of
the image" is a part of the general ideology of the given society because "To the ideology, which



is the general ideology, correspond percepts of connotation, selected according to the substance
chosen...Thus rhetoric appears as the signifying aspect of ideology (Barthes 1997, 10)." This idea
refers to the deeper cultural and historical context that translates an image into connotative mean.
However, Barthes could have strengthened his argument of symbols by considering their examples
from modern visual culture1. While his dissection of the Panizani advertisement is thorough,
analyzing more recent examples from many different media platforms, like social media
advertisement or television commercial, could add more depth to his theoretical framework.
As for the organizational aspect, Barthes' argument is clearly laid out and easy to follow.
He outlines his claims and then provides analysis based on the picture he opts for. The article is
divided into different sections, each of which has a particular goal in strengthening the overall
argument of the author. For example, the portion about "The Photographic Insignificance" deals
with the idea of denotation and the possibility of a single traumatic image to bypass the cultural
codes, stating that "Usually ...

I was having a hard time with this subject, and this was a great help.


Similar Content

Related Tags