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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Application of the Analysis Essay Template

In "Analysis Development Template," we share a technique for developing a thesis for an analysis essay. It is recommended that you read this earlier post before you read the current one.

Use these notes and guidelines to write your magazine advertisement or movie poster analysis essay. Remember that your essay is to be five paragraphs: an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. The last sentence of the introductory paragraph is to end with the thesis sentenced, underlined. Each of the body paragraphs is to begin with a topic sentence, underlined. The concluding paragraph should restate the thesis sentence—in different words than the thesis sentence was originally expressed in the introductory paragraph.

Identify the advertisement's or poster's emotional appeal or appeals:

  • Needs For: sex, affiliation, guidance, prominence, attention, autonomy, aesthetic sensations
  • Needs To: nurture, aggress, achieve, dominate, escape, feel safe, satisfy curiosity
  • Physiological Needs: food, drink, shelter

Remember that, in the Western world, eye movement is from left to right and from top to bottom.

Consider the advertisement's or poster's visual elements: model (sex, age, class, ethnicity, marital status [if indicated], position in advertisement), background, foreground, size, shape, color, intensity, texture. (Remember that female models typically appeal to potential female customers, and male models typically appeal to potential male customers.)

Consider the advertisement's or poster's textual and rhetorical elements: metaphor, allusion, symbolism, personification, pun.

Remember that everything in the advertisement or poster is there for a reason; nothing is accidental. Ask, What is the advertiser's purpose in including this element?

Remember that the key to unlocking the figurative significance of the advertisement or poster is usually a pun or play on words in the text of the advertisement or poster.

Consider the type of product or service that is being advertised.

Remember that the product's color (and maybe other features, such as its shape) is associated with the advertisement's or poster's main theme or message.

Remember your task in analyzing the magazine advertisement or poster is to show how and why each element works together to produce a unified effect.

Example: Cujo Movie Poster

Part (Visual or Textual Element)
Emotional Appeal(s)
Purpose or Effect
Caption (above poster's visual elements) Feel safe; escape chilling” contrasts with “summer” and “horrible evil” and “dead” suggest horror; “New England town” specifies movie's setting Stephen King” identifies movie's genre as horror; color of his name makes it resemble fire and stand out—trial by fire? Fires of hell?
Sky (dark and threatening) Feel safe; escape None Dark storm clouds symbolize divine or moral judgment; if Cujo is agent of this judgment, he is a scourge, an avenger
Isolated house Feel safe, escape. nurture None Size of house suggests owner has money; it is isolated: residents are on their own; help is unavailable
Picket fence Feel safe, nurture None Condition of fence (symbol of domestic bliss) is neglected (as is family who lives in house)
Cujo” in red paint or blood Feel safe, escape Cujo's name is synonymous with “terror”; his is “ a new name for terror” Cujo” a mysterious word; Cujo symbolizes unfaithfulness; paint resembles—could actually be—blood; dripping = fresh blood – recent kill (maybe Cujo is still near)

It might be helpful to use a table like this to identify and analyze each element:

Part (Visual or Textual Element)
Emotional Appeal(s)
Purpose or Effect

Use the results of your analysis to plug in the blanks of the following thesis sentence:

To persuade potential customers to buy _________________________ (name of the product or the movie), the visual and textual elements of the advertisement (or poster) for the product (or the movie) appeal to potential customers' need (or needs) for (or to) _________________________ .

Here is an example:

Thesis Sentence: To persuade potential customers to buy tickets for Cujo, the visual and textual elements of the poster for the movie appeal to potential customers' needs to feel safe, to escape, and to nurture.

After writing your thesis, use it to generate a topic sentence for each body paragraph. Follow the same order as that in which you listed the three points in your thesis. Be more specific, if appropriate, when writing your topic sentences, but based each topic sentence on its corresponding point in the thesis sentence.

Here are examples:

Topic Sentence 1: The poster for the movie contains such visual elements as a dark, stormy sky; an isolated house; a neglected picket fence; and untrimmed grass.

Topic Sentence 2: In addition to these visual elements, the movie poster features two captions, one superimposed upon the sky, the other on the dark lawn below the picket fence.

Topic Sentence 3: Together, the visual and the textual elements of the movie poster appeal to potential customers' needs to feel safe, to escape, and to nurture.

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