Category Archives: Rhetorical Devices

Use this category for posts related to the rhetorical devices assignments

Appeal to Patriotism

This image portrays a man who is being prevented from speaking against the government. Someone else or himself is putting a red, blue, and white cloth over his mouth to make this clear. It tells the audience that if you are really a person who supports their nation you have no reason to ever question what the authorities holding government do. To emphasize this, they show the individual with his eyes close.

Glittering Generalities & Plain Folks

Glittering Generality: “Make America Great Again!”

This phrase seems like the perfect idea when you hear it. Making the nation great, the best. But, great how? It is vague, it does not give any information as to how it will be done, when, who. It only states what wants to be done, and it is this way because most of the time people who say it want to convince the audience that they are worth listening to without further evidence or questions.

Plain Folks: Politicians visiting areas hit by natural disasters

Presidents are usually individuals who are economically stable and successful. Not many of us can relate to them. As candidates, and when they become presidents what many of them do is visit low-income neighborhoods, visit areas that are hit by natural disasters and spend ‘quality time’ with the community. They are sometimes seem in fast-food restaurants or playing with kids in these streets with casual attire, to show they can be a regular folk.

Module 6 (April 25-May 1): Writing Time!

This week, we’ll be drafting our final papers!!!

There are several different due dates within this module, since there are several components. Feel free to turn things in late if you are not able to complete them on time, with no penalty. However, those of you who have chosen to participate in peer review should honor your commitment to your groupmates and prioritize giving them feedback above other work for this course, because that impacts others, not just yourself.

Goals and Learning Objectives

  1. Evaluate different methods of outlining a final paper and create your own
  2. Begin synthesizing information learned through your research into a form appropriate for sharing with others! (In this case, an essay.)
  3. Practice critically evaluating writing through peer review and self-revision
  4. Practice your rhetorical skills by offering feedback to peers in constructive , clear, yet polite ways.

Overview of Tasks

  1. Orient yourself with a Writing Into the Week prompt
  2. Explore examples of real outlines that real undergraduates used to write final papers
  3. Outline your paper using one of the styles you looked at or by inventing your own outline form (due Monday April 27 by the end of the day)
  4. Read or Skim resources on MEAL Plan paragraph structure and incorporating evidence into paragraphs.
  5. Using your outline, begin drafting your paper. Turn in a partial draft via Blackboard. (Due Wednesday April 29 by the end of the day.)
  6. Attend optional Zoom class on Wednesday at 4:30 or watch the recorded video afterwards. I will be discussing introductions and conclusions and answering any questions you may have.
  7. For those of you doing peer review, write feedback for your classmates by the end of Friday May 1st. 
  8. Read about two more rhetorical strategies and post examples/analysis of each. (Due Friday May 1 by the end of the day.)

Step 1: Writing Into the Week

Please write for 5-10 minutes on the following prompts. I encourage you to leave your response as a comment on this post.

  1. What aspects of writing a paper do you often find challenging? (In other words, what are your sticking points?)
  2. What would be helpful to have or think about in advance in order to make these aspects easier?
  3. Are there any particular writing topics (some aspect of grammar, or paragraph structure, style, etc.) that you would like to learn more about/get extra guidance on?

Step 2: Explore Examples of Outlines

Some of you may have already looked at these when I posted them earlier this week. For those who didn’t, please review the examples now. Decide what seems helpful or unhelpful to YOU and how YOU prefer to work as a writer.

If something seems too stressful and overwhelming? Don’t do it. If something seems like it will make writing easier for you? Do it! These are all examples, not the One Right Way to write an outline.

Step 3: Outline Your Paper

Following the instructions, write an outline for your paper. It can take any shape you want. Make something you think will HELP YOU as you begin drafting your paper. If it’s not going to be helpful, what’s the point?

It can be messy. You can write things like “Say something about ______ here.” Whatever works for you.

Step 4: Read Or Skim Resources

Some of you may already feel comfortable structuring paragraphs and incorporating evidence. Great! Some of you may be less sure. Please look over the following resources with the level of detail that you think is necessary:

MEAL Plan Paragraph Structure
Incorporating Evidence

Step 5: Begin Drafting Your Paper

I recommend you write until you feel Stuck, or write until you feel like you need a break and/or some feedback before you can continue. A partial draft can be as many or as few pages as you want, but it should be more substantial than your outline.

If you don’t feel ready to write the intro, that’s okay! Skip to the first body paragraph. Write what you can. This makes less work for yourself later.

When you decide your draft is as done as it’s going to be at this stage, please do the following:

  1. Turn it in using the Partial Draft link on Blackboard.
  2. If you are participating in peer review, share it with your groupmates. The form this takes will depend on the method for peer review your group has chosen. (I will be in touch with everyone who signed up soon about their groupmates and the form that works for everyone.) You may also want to include a note for your readers with specific questions you would like feedback on.

Partial drafts are due by the end of Wednesday, April 29.  This due date is especially important for those doing peer review, so that you give your peers enough time to give you feedback.

Step 6: Attend Optional Zoom Class (Or Watch Video Later)

I will host another optional Zoom class on Wednesday, April 29 at 4:30pm, our usual class time. I will be discussing tips for Introductions and Conclusions as well as answering any questions you have.

I will also post a video of Zoom class to Vimeo for anyone who wants to watch it later.

Step 7: Write Feedback For Your Classmates

I will email suggested peer review prompts when I send out the group information. Please give your feedback to your classmates by the end of the day on Friday May 1, unless you and your groupmate(s) agree on another deadline amongst yourselves.

Step 8: Rhetorical Strategies

Read about the Scarcity Appeal and How To Spot Fake News (as well as any of the links in the sidebar that interest you). Post 2 examples of each one + analysis as a comment on this post.

Note that emotional news is not the same as fake news, but news may play to your biases/emotions (appeals to pathos!) to convince you of something that is false or misleading.

Module 5 (April 20-24): Just Keep Swimming

This week you’re just working on your annotated bibliographies and doing another set of rhetorical devices! Thanks to everyone who has turned in their Imaginary Interviews and Cognitive Biases examples.

Please complete the Peer Review Survey asap so I can put people into groups.

Rhetorical Devices Readings:
“Euphemisms” and “Transfer”

Examples/Analysis due as a comment on this post by the end of the day April 24.

Annotated Bibliography Instructions/Rubric
Also due by the end of the day April 24

See Module 4 for instructions on formatting and citations.

As always, you can schedule a time to chat with me here.

Module 4: Citation Styles and APA Formatting

This week, we’ll be learning about citing, why citation styles are the way they are, and APA formatting more specifically. Tasks are due by the end of Monday, April 20, with an optional Zoom class on Wednesday, April 15.

You will also complete another one of your Required Portfolio Assignments, the “Imaginary Interview.” The citation activities will prepare you to write the “bibliography” part of the annotated bibliography, and the imaginary interview will prepare you to write the annotations.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will understand the value of not only citing, but citation styles
  • Students will be able to critically evaluate the features and purposes of different styles
  • Students will be able to apply APA Style to their own research sources
  • Students will continue their rhetorical study by learning to identify cognitive biases in the world

Overview of Tasks

  1. Orient yourself with a Writing Into the Week prompt (share only if you wish)
  2. Play a citation explorer game to learn your Citation Style Match
  3. Watch a YouTube tutorial on APA style paper formatting
  4. Attend an optional Zoom class on Wednesday, April 15 OR watch the recording of Zoom class on your own time to learn about APA style citations
  5. Read about cognitive biases and share two examples + analysis
  6. Write an “imaginary interview” with two or more of your sources (due Monday April 20 by the end of the day)

Step 1: Writing Into the Week

Spent 5-10 minutes freewriting. Freewriting means writing about whatever you want, as meandering as you want. But make sure you keep writing the entire time– I recommend setting a timer.

Step 2: Citation Explorer “Game”

Play through this Citation Explorer “game” to discover what citation style best fits YOU and why. Make sure you read the introduction and the explanatory material at the end.

Step 3: Watch a YouTube Tutorial

On the final page of the Citation Explorer, there are links to two YouTube tutorials for APA formatting (one for Google Docs and one for MS Word). Please watch whichever one matches your software– you can also follow along by doing the steps while you watch. I recommend doing this if you can, so that you don’t have to do it again when it’s time to write your annotated bibliography. Go ahead and get this part out of the way.

If you write using another program, watch either video just to learn about the different formatting elements. Most text editing applications (like Pages, etc.) will let you do all of the same things– the menus will just arrange things differently.

If you mostly do your work on your phone/a tablet, but you do have limited access to a computer, I recommend you just do all of the writing first, like normal, and then do all of the formatting at the end on the computer.

If you don’t have computer access, I think all of the same features in Google Docs can be used in the mobile app– it just might be a bit of a pain. Just do your best.

Step 4: Attend Zoom Class or Watch the Recording

I will be hosting class on Zoom on Wednesday, April 15 at our normal class time (4:30). We will definitely end “early” (before 5:45), though. The YouTube tutorials introduced you to APA paper formatting, but the purpose of this Zoom class will be to walk you through how to do APA-style citations.

If you’re not able to attend class live, that’s fine! I will be recording the class session and uploading it to YouTube, so just watch the video when you can.

Step 5: Read About Cognitive Biases and Post Examples

Read the Overview of Cognitive Biases  AND read through each of the 5 pages in the sidebar about specific biases (anchoring, sleeper effect, repetition, reactance, and declinism). Then, find 2 examples of people exhibiting these cognitive biases and post the examples + context + analysis as a comment on this post.

Step 6: Write an “Imaginary Interview”

The full instructions are here, but the general premise is this:

Pretend you are interviewing the authors of two or more of the sources you’ve found in your research so far. Ask them 3 or more questions about the topic you are researching. If they don’t directly address the question in the source, use the source to imagine what the author would/might say.

Both authors should respond to the same questions, and should also respond to each other at least once.

Do not spend more than 1 hour working on this step. 

Normally I would have us do this as an in-class activity with the option to finish it at home, so we would not spend more than 1 hour on it. I would rather you complete all elements of the assignment in a fast, not-very-detailed way, than have you only get part way through because you’re trying to be very detailed and do your best work. Please don’t do your best work. Just complete it.

This is due Monday, April 20 by the end of the day, submitted on Blackboard.

Rhetorical Devices: Romance, Gender, and Sex Appeal

Romance Appeal #1 & 2

Context: This Ad promotes PrEP to prevent HIV.GILEAD uses romance as rhetorical devices to persuade the audience that PrEP treatment is healthy for individuals and couples. 
Context: This Ad promotes Norwegian Cruise using a couple with the slogan: Feel free to follow the sun. It implants that it is a romantic idea to take a cruise with your partner to a sunny place. 

Gender Appeal 1 & 2

Context: This commercial serves as a perfect representation of gender roles today because it implants that beer is for men and makes them more masculine and elegant.  
Context: This Ad is an example of gender stereotypes “smell like a man, man”. The Ad presents a muscular man, no shirt wearing, horse riding, beach going, type of man. It implants that a man uses Old Spice deodorant will become more masculine. 

Sex Appeal 1 & 2

Context: The most effective way to encourage people to buy a product is through sex and provocative advertising campaign. We are constantly fed with the image of naked and sexual human bodies. The Ad persuades the audience to say we buy food because we think is sexy. Also, the Ad is talking about the burger’s size? What is the correlation between food and the model? Definitely, it is a double message.
Context: Guicci’s men’s fragrance “Guilty” creates a sexual image of women. There is a man with a woman seductively wrapped around his body. The company intentionally uses sex appeal to sell the product. 

Romance, Gender, and Sex Appeal Examples

Romance Appeal 

Example 1: Ralph Lauren Romance TV Commerical, ‘Do You Believe?’

Analysis: This advertisement first aired back in May of 2019 for the release of Ralph Lauren’s new fragrance, Romance. The song featured in the commercial is called ‘Real Love’ by Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne. The clip features a young couple falling in love. There are cliche romantic scenes where the couple is walking through what appears to be a sea of flower petals, and one where they are running and kissing in the rain. At the end of the advertisement the woman introduces the perfume by asking “Do you believe in romance?”. I am not sure how effective an advertisement like this is, because the entire time I am watching the ad I am too busy wondering what the hell is this an advertisement for? It is only at the very end that they disclose that and make it clear. The romance appeal is basically depicted via this picturesque couple, which some people may envy. Ralph Lauren wants you to associate this type of relationship with the use of this fragrance.

Example 2: Sandals Resorts TV Commercial, ‘Who Says?’

Analysis: Sandals Resorts advertisements are pretty well known for utilizing the romance appeal to draw people in. The particular commercial that I referenced above shows video footage of several couples in seemingly blissful love enjoying the amenities, and beautiful beaches and scenery that this resort has to offer. Even the voice of the woman narrating the commercial is smooth and sweet sounding. Through commercials laid out like this one, Sandals is able to get people to desire this type of romantic getaway. They are illustrating how happy, relaxed, connected, and “in love” their guests feel while staying at their resorts. This type of advertising in my opinion is very effective.  You are viewing all these images of beautiful people, enjoying gorgeous beaches, and luxurious amenities, while simultaneously listening to a soothing voice explain to you why the resort is so wonderful and what the perks of staying at a Sandals resort are.

Gender Appeal

Example 1: Controversial Peleton TV Commercial, ‘The Gift’

Analysis: I’m sure everyone recalls the super controversial Peleton commercial that was airing around this past holiday season. The commercial depicts a woman receiving a Peleton bike as a Christmas gift from her husband, and the “personal journey” she takes each day as a result of receiving the bike. Yes, an already seemingly thin woman, receives an exercise bike as a gift for Christmas from her husband- to lose more weight. This ad caught a lot of flack from viewers claiming it was sexist and degrading towards women, and pushing the agenda that sets unrealistic expectations for women’s physique. I do not think Peleton foresaw how negatively this advertisement would be received. I believe that the original intention of this ad was to demonstrate how a woman can play many roles in life, and still find time to take care of herself and exercise to improve her overall well being. In the ad you see that the couple has one child. You also see the mother returning from work and then exercising, and waking up at the crack of dawn to use the bike as well. So this woman is a wife, a mother, an employee etc. and she’s still making time to exercise thanks to the thoughtfulness of her wonderful husband. I think it was meant to appeal to the busy women of the world who strive to “do it all”.

Example 2: Chrysler Pacifica Commercial ‘No Matter How You Parent’

Analysis: I personally find this commercial hilarious. The commercial depicts two different “types” of moms in the school drop off/pick up line: The mom who is a hot, frazzled, mess that can’t seem to get her sh*t together, and the mom who is seemingly perfect, dressed professional, without a hair out of place. The fact that Chrysler chose to use women to advertise their newest model minivan speaks volumes in itself. It kind of illustrates the typical gender role of a woman: A woman’s purpose in life is to be a mother, and the primary caretaker for her children, therefore she needs a reliable and spacious minivan to schlep them around from place to place. So although the commercial is meant to say “hey, our minivan appeals to you, regardless of what ‘kind’ of mom you are” it nonetheless still resonates with the cliche message that women should be mothers, and therefore they should be driving around in minivans to transport their children.

Sex Appeal

Example 1: Gucci Guilty Perfume Advertisement

Analysis: The first ad I chose that utilizes the sex appeal tactic is this advertisement for Gucci Guilty women’s perfume. The ad displays an attractive man and woman, seemingly naked, embracing with a bottle of the actual perfume depicted in the bottom right corner. In very small font at the bottom you can see the words “The new fragrance for her”. The man in the advertisement looks as if he is smelling the woman’s neck, entirely enchanted by her. The ad is basically projecting how sexually desirable a woman will be if she utilizes this perfume.

Example 2: Body Paint 2012 Superbowl Commercial 

Analysis: This commercial aired during the 2012 Superbowl. It features former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and fitness guru Jillian Michaels painting another woman’s naked body with the name of companies that advertise on the GoDaddy website. The advertisement is basically suggesting that if you want your businesses website to get more traffic or clicks, you should consider using GoDaddy as the platform because they know how to grab peoples attention (ex: by painting advertisements on a naked woman’s body). I am unsure of how effective this ad is. I feel like some people may find it offensive or degrading towards women, while on the other hand some may find humor in how ridiculous the ad actually is.



Romance, Gender, and Sex Appeal

It seems that the site I wanted you to read about these appeals is down–or at least, that part of the site. However, I still want to do this exercise, since these 3 appeals are EVERYWHERE (and not just in advertising– in everyday conversations). So, I’m just going to write a little explanation of each one.

For each appeal, please provide 2 examples, the context of each example, and an analysis of each example, in the comments on this post. Due by Wednesday 3/11 at 4:30 pm.

Romance Appeal

Romance appeal is one way to use pathos. When we appeal to the idea of romance, we’re utilizing the fact that most people desire some kind of romantic love. Think of commercials that feature couples staring lovingly at each other while using the product (like most jewelry commercials), or that feature someone asking another person out and having them say yes. Romance appeal also applies to any argument that carries the assumption that you ought to desire a romantic relationship, or subscribe to particular standards of what a “good/ideal” romantic relationship is.

Gender Appeal

There are many ways to be masculine, many ways to be feminine, and many ways to be androgynous. Rhetoric that uses gender appeals both plays on people’s desires to embody a particular variation of their gender and creates arguments about what “correct” behaviors for that gender are.

For example, an Axe Deodorant commercial might show a man doing physical labor things, might include a voiceover with a deep voice, etc. A Dove soap commercial might show a woman taking a luxurious bubble bath and shaving her legs.

Both of these examples say, “[Doing physical labor/spending a lot of time on personal grooming and shaving body hair] is the right way to be a [man/woman], and this product will help you do that.” Children might learn messages about what toys are appropriate for boys and what toys are for girls by who they see playing with what toys in commercials.

Gender appeal doesn’t have to always be about negative stereotypes, though. What about commercials that show women getting awards, or men being loving dads? These are saying “women can achieve big,” and “a good man spends time taking care of his kids.” You can ask yourself, does the gender of the person seem to matter to the power of the message, or is it incidental?

Outside of advertising, any gendered message like “Boys don’t cry” or “X isn’t ladylike” is using the gender appeal. It’s using your identity as someone with that gender to persuade you to do/not do a certain thing.

Sex Appeal

This one is probably the easiest. Is the message designed to be erotic, to arouse the audience? Or to say, “you will be sexually desirable if you do X”? Then it’s sex appeal. Hardees commercials often use sex appeal.

Fear and Humor Appeal Examples

Fear Appeal
Example 1: “Smoking Kills” :

This particular advertisement was originally released by the organization ” the truth”. Some people may be familiar with their advertisements that appear on networks such as MTV. Their ad’s generally focus on major issues impacting our communities like addiction, smoking, environmental awareness etc. This ad, which was tweeted by the account Smoking Kills, depicts what appears to be a dead body on a table, most likely in a coroners office. All you can see is the bottom of the individuals feet with an ID tag looped around a toe. The tag reads “smoking kills” and the backdrop design of it appears to be the same design as a Marlboro carton of cigarettes. The top of the ad also features information on the statistics of how many Americans die each year from smoking related diseases along with what percentage of these individuals started smoking in their teen years.  From this, we can infer that this advertisement is targeted at younger individuals, in an effort to scare them into not smoking. Basically the ad is implying that yes you are young now, so maybe smoking won’t affect you as drastically as a teen, but ultimately we all end up down the same road if we start smoking: dead.


Example 2: “Was That Text Worth It?”:

Texting and driving is another topic that we often come across advertisements utilizing the fear appeal strategy. Depicted here we see a young girl laid out on what appears to be the medical examiners table in a dimly lit room. In this particular ad, you notice the utilization of slang in the wording of the ad and the emoji face placed over the victims face, both done perhaps to appeal to a younger audience or imply that young kids do the majority of texting and driving (even though plenty of adults are just as guilty of this too!). The message is very simple: Don’t text and drive, because it is not worth risking your life.

Humor Appeal

Example 1: Audi vs BMW

Funny Car Ads

Here we have comedic billboards pitting two popular, long-standing, car manufacturing rivals in the European car market against one another. The first ad featuring the Audi A4 essentially calls out BMW by showcasing their latest and greatest sedan stating “Your move, BMW.”. The second ad, featuring the new BMW M3, is BMW’s sarcastic reply “Checkmate”, a term that is utilized in the game of chess when you are declaring you are capturing your opponents King piece and winning the game. BMW is basically implying that their new model M3 is superior to the new Audi A4 (which in my opinion is true!). The issue with these ad’s is that they definitely do not appeal to everyone. As a car enthusiast I find it hilarious, but somebody who is not into cars, or doesn’t understand the rivalry between these two manufacturers may not understand the advertising strategy or find this humorous. I did notice that in the advertisement for Audi in the bottom left-hand corner the website is advertised, whereas in the ad for BMW, the location and website for the dealership that paid for this ad are specifically listed.

Example 2: Dentastix

This advertisement for Dentastix depicts what looks like a basset hound, drooling over a bird in a bird cage. The bird appears to be passed out/dead from the stench of the dogs breath. The wording reads “against bad breath”. I am on the fence about whether or not this is an effective ad. It is humorous and could appeal to a large group of people (dog lovers, animal lovers etc.). I mean just look at how cute that dog is!? However, it does not give much detail on what exactly the product is. It may prompt somebody to look up exactly what Dentastix are, but the ad itself isn’t very specific. As a dog owner, I am familiar with the product; but not everybody is a dog owner. Additionally, they could’ve done something like list the benefits or the ingredients, or what exactly makes their product so effective.

More on Pathos

** My students last semester also asked me to write more about Pathos. I didn’t write anything about Logos. If you would like me to also write some more about Logos, let me know in a comment! ***

Pathos is all about appealing to people’s emotions. A commercial featuring sad puppies (ASPCA), or cute babies (some cleaning products, all baby products), or young adults having fun (Coca Cola) is trying to get you to buy the product (or donate money) by associating that act with the emotion that the commercial gives you. You want the puppies to have homes and be loved, don’t you???

People who are asking for money/food/other resources on the street or on the train usually use pathos as their main rhetorical strategy. They often appeal to our sense of moral decency and empathy for other human beings. Or perhaps our sense of guilt for not helping others when we probably could.

Mattress and bedding ads appeal to pathos! Because nice new fancy sheets that probably smell nice make you think of being in your cozy bed…how nice would that be? Wouldn’t you like to be in bed right now? Pathos.

Calls for political action often appeal to pathos, because they call out something horrible in society to make you angry and then ask you to (donate, vote, volunteer, etc) as a way of dealing with that anger.

Sex appeal is also pathos. You want to be sexy, or be with someone who is sexy, or do sexual things, and this product will help to be sexy/attract sexy people/help you have sex! All of that is based on feelings.

Nostalgia is also pathos. We especially see a lot more ads appealing to nostalgia as we get closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas.