Rhetorical Analysis of an image

No plagiarism!!!


Find a visual representation (photograph, work of art, advertisement, brand logo, etc) of a Native American in the material world (i.e. not via Google Image Search). This paper asks you to follow Deloria’s example and perform a rhetorical analysis of the image. Ask: Why is the image composed the way it is? What message is it conveying? Whose gaze is privileged and who in the intended audience? How (by what elements) does it convey its message? Then go further. Place this image in a historical context. Using Deloria, explain the image in terms of expectations, stereotypes, and ideologies. Does it contribute to or challenge stereotypes and ideologies? How so? Be specific.

Successful papers for this prompt, therefore, will accomplish the following (though not necessarily in this order):

  • Describe the image sufficiently with qualitative details such that the reader can ‘see’ it without viewing the actual image.
  • Describe and analyze the image in context (both historically and in terms of where it was found in the present).
  • Use that context and the image itself to interpret and analyze the image as a piece of rhetoric. Tell the reader what message the image conveys, how it does so, and to what end.
  • Interpret this message along Deloria’s framework of stereotypes, ideologies, and unexpectedness. In doing so, it should note whether the image challenges or reinforces stereotypes, drawing from our viewing of Reel Injun.
  • And lastly, will acknowledge what ideologies unconsciously influenced the writer’s reaction to their initial viewing of the image.

Revision (2019-11-17)

the number of words is not enough!

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