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How do the articles discuss visual rhetoric and the impact of visual rhetoric on composition? Do these areas of discussion seem correct or make sense? Why or why not?

Assignment 3: Source-Based Argumentative Essay

Purpose and Task:

The final major essay assignment for this class will introduce you to several key concepts of academic writing that you will find helpful for ENGL 1102 and beyond. Specifically, this essay will help you develop skills in terms of negotiating your place within an academic argument. When most people think of arguments, they picture people yelling, objects flying through the air, and more than a few doors being slammed to prove a point. However, real argumentation is much more subdued and organized than that. A true argument focuses on both sides of the subject, acknowledging the opposition’s points while making sure not to glorify them. Arguments are also as objective as possible until it is relevant to be subjective. The result is a level-headed defense (or case) of a topic, issue, situation, etc. that takes all aspects into account. 

When first hearing how arguments truly work, some might suggest that including the opposition’s points into the mix is detrimental to the success of an argument; however, the opposite is actually the case. By including information from your opposition’s perspective, you demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of their side of the argument and can therefore rebuttal with that much more confidence, sometimes even tailoring your argument to directly oppose theirs. Thus, the main difference between analysis and argumentation is that you must choose a side. You can acknowledge the opposing points and even agree with them, however you must pick a stance to defend by the end of the argument.

So, for this assignment, you will be asked to read a few perspectives on a similar subject: the impact of visual literacy on reading and writing. Specifically, I will present you with a few academic articles on the subject, and, after reading these articles, you will then be asked to find one or more main ideas or arguments to which you would like to argue either for or against. 


  1. You will need to read the following texts (note: I will give you time in class to go over the articles and annotate them, a skill we will also learn in this unit, but you may find it helpful to read these articles beforehand):
  2. Eisner, Will. “‘Comics as a Form of Reading.” Comics and Sequential Art, Poorhouse Press, 1985, pp. 7-12
  3. Newkirk, Thomas. “Media and Literacy: What’s Good?” Educational Leadership, vol. 64, no. 1, Sept. 2006, pp. 62–66. EBSCOhost, login.ezproxy.library.valdosta.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ745641&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  4. Assad, Mary K. “How a Comic Book Assignment Can Help Students Learn the Value of Research Evidence.” CEA Forum, vol. 46, no. 2, Jan. 2017, pp. 180–201. EBSCOhost, login.ezproxy.library.valdosta.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1184618&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  5. Annotate the texts
    1. We will discuss possible methods for annotating a text in class.
    2. However, if you are wanting to work ahead, annotation essentially means to mark up an article, take notes on the main points and ideas, look for points where you agree or disagree, and capture your emotional reactions; those may indicate places to explore further for possible content.
    3. Generate questions to help you find an argumentative angle. In other words, generate questions to help you discover possible areas of content for the essay. Below are some possible questions to explore, but developing your own questions should be far more productive.
      1. How do the articles discuss visual rhetoric and the impact of visual rhetoric on composition? Do these areas of discussion seem correct or make sense? Why or why not?
      2. What recommendations (if any) do the articles make? Are those recommendations sound? Why or why not?
      3. What, if anything, angered or annoyed you in the readings? Why?
      4. Where, if anywhere, did you agree with the articles? Why?
      5. Where, if anywhere, did you disagree with the articles.
      6. Create a draft that takes a stance and develops an argument using main ideas and arguments from one (or more) of the sources.
        1. While the bulk of the essay should be your words and your ideas, you are also reacting and responding in part to the ideas from these sources. No other research is required, expected, or encouraged.
        2. While no extra research is required, expected, or encouraged, you are also free to use any of the material from this class to help support your argument (including excerpts from WatchmenPersepolisMaus, The Little Seagull Handbook, or any of the handouts given over the course of this semester). If you use extra material to build your case, be sure to properly cite that information both in-text and in a Works Cited page.

As with Essay 2, this assignment DOES NOT ask you to summarize the work. While small bits of summary might be required for context, you should delve deeper than surface summary and develop analytical and argumentative points about the ideas you select to argue for or against.

Additionally, this essay will ask you to be more cautious in your writing because it is an academic-based genre meant for an academic audience. Therefore, you will want to keep the following in mind as you write the 1,000 – 1,200-word argument:

  • Proper MLA formatting
  • A mindfulness of organizational concerns
    • Essay should start with an introduction that gives readers context for the essay and leads into a thesis statement at the end.
      • The thesis statement should state both what you are arguing for or against as well as your position on the matter
  • Essay should then move into body paragraphs that focus on one key assertion per paragraph.
  • Essay will then end with a conclusion that restates the thesis and main ideas
  • An objective tone (focus on neutral, factual, and unbiased information)
  • A polished usage of Standard Written English
    • No slang, limited use of “I,” no use of “you,” and so on.
    • A stylistically engaging essay that focuses on strong verbs and a varied sentence structure while avoiding clichés and wordy language avoided.
    • Essay is proofread carefully to avoid issues such as comma splices, fragments, run-ons, quotation errors, formatting errors, etc.

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