essay iv: visual argument assignment​

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Essay IV: Visual Argument Assignment

Political cartoons are often mini-narratives portraying an issue dramatically, compactly, and humorously. They employ images and a few well-chosen words to dramatize conflicts and problems. Using caricature, exaggeration, and distortion, a cartoonist distills an issue down to an image that boldly reveals the creator’s perspective on an issue” (Ramage 139).

Visual Argument: (3 pages, 2 sources) A written analysis of a political cartoon.

Purpose: To examine the central claim made in a specific political cartoon. In your examination of the cartoon, you must discuss the issue clearly and provide sufficient analysis using two sources for support. You may use online newspaper sources, and only journal articles and websites that are .edu or .org. All sources accessed via the MC data bases are valid. (If the source accessed is a “.com” source but was accessed via the MC data base, please make sure your works cited citation reflects that.)


1. Find a political cartoon that conveys a viewpoint on a specific issue (if you select a cartoon related to sustainability, you could use this as a source for your final research paper).

2. Analyze the cartoon – mini-narrative, main claim, image, and text.

3. Find one source that supports your claim. Use it to show how your view of the cartoonist’s argument is valid.

4. Find one source that offers the opposing viewpoint to your claim. Use it to validate the opposing viewpoint.

Elements to consider:

  • Topic: What key issue is the cartoon addressing?
  • Story/Mini narrative: On the most basic level, what is happening in the cartoon?
  • Audience: Establish a profile of the audience. In what country and in what historical moment was the cartoon produced? In what type of text did it first appear? A journal? A newspaper? Online? Was this text conservative? Liberal? How does it speak to this audience?
  • Cartoonist (Author): Who is the cartoonist? (You do not need to use a source to establish the credibility of the cartoonist. Assume the cartoonist is credible based on its origin of publication. Therefore, you may only use a cartoon if it is from a credible source. If you have concerns, please check with me.)
  • Argument: What is the cartoon’s message about the issue?

  • Visual Components:
    • Composition: Is this political cartoon a single frame or a series of sequential frames?
    • Word and image: Does the cartoon rely exclusively on the visual? Or are word and image both used? How does this influence the cartoon’s overall persuasiveness?
    • Imagery: What choices of imagery and content does the artist make? Are the drawings realistic? Do they rely on caricatures? Does the artist include allusions or references to past or present events or ideas?
    • Tone: Is the cartoon primarily comic or serious in tone? How does this choice of tone create a powerful rhetoric on readers?
    • Character and setting: What components are featured by the cartoon? A person? An object? A scene? Do they represent actual people? How are these rhetorical strategies designed to tailor the cartoon and its argument to its intended audience?


  • This should be a three (3) page paper, using two (2) sources.
  • Analyze in the present tense
  • Use third person point of view
  • Your name, date of the paper and title of the assignment should be listed in the top left hand corner
  • Please double space your paper
  • Please include a title
  • Please include a copy of the cartoon (A link to an online version is fine.)
  • Please include an outline
  • Please include a Works Cited page listing the sources you use
  • Please use the correct MLA format for quotations and paper format

For additional guidance, see Chapter 9 in the textbook.

Outline for Essay IV: Cartoon Analysis:

Introduction/ Paragraph I:

- Current rhetoric on the issue

- Claim. Your claim needs to establish the viewpoint being argued in the cartoon. For example, if the cartoon satirizes gun control then it is likely the cartoonist is opposed to gun control. Your goal then is to analyze the cartoon to show how this claim is valid. Use two sources to support this view

Body Paragraphs:

II. Visual description of the cartoon.

a. Visual Detail

b. Etc

III. Analyze the argument



IV. Include your source to support this view



V. Include your source to support the opposing view



E. Conclusion: Remind your reader of your claim

**Using a source does not simply mean inserting a quotation. Provide the reader with sufficient summary of the source opinion to validate how it supports your claim.

Please remember, when you complete the outline to delete the red notes.

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