chloramphenicol bestellen neurontin tabletas 600 mg tenormin reviews anxiety flovent hfa sales coreg medication generics donde puedo comprar cialis sin receta en mexico finasteride mastercard bromocriptine 2.5 mg tablets meloxicam 7 5 mg recreational factory omeprazole market size over the counter version of triamcinolone fluoxetine accord 20 mg kapsel hård what effect does viagra have in women mirapex nombre generico de relafen there generic cleocin shortage of strattera 40 mg in doha protinex diabetes ingredients in aleve venlor reviews on washers tetramin tropical granules ingredients in benadryl how cetirizine works in the body metformin treatment in horses side effect tapuy ingredients in aleve generic celexa same lahmajun ingredients in benadryl buy nolvadex 20mg diclofenac 100mg reviews comprar xenical medellin no ovulation on letrozole 2 5 mg do nurses need to buy viagra buy renova .02 generic for carafate can you buy oxytrol over the counter in the uk safe take celexa effexor clomid preparation and dosage in egyptian market hairlosstalk propecia cost take olanzapine in morning purchase amlodipine dergboadre misoprostol mifepristona buy professional trekking guide in nepal tulasi hochu viagra online how good is viagra from india purinethol 50 mg wirkung propranolol 80 mg sustained release tablet walmart otc azithromycin benzac 2 5 ukrainians thuoc levitra 10 mg odt finasteride costs 90 days aturan pakai azithromycin 500 mg clout fish medication ingredients in aleve cymbalta loonie program canada finding a coumadin clinic in ny price of crestor in the philippines maximum strength hoodia diet 57 reviews is metformin safe to use during pregnancy hartkapseln orlistat generic where can i buy dog metronidazole over the counter para se usa viagra fox 125 mg benadryl medicamento gabapentin 300 mg many mg viagra should take flomax cr generic diltiazem hcl sr cap 120 mg sr valsartan 160 mg 12 5mg adderall viagra pills for sale ukulele clomipramine whartisthebestin discount prevacid 90 mg ok to cut crestor in half telmisartan health canada warfarin 30 mg risperidone 0 5 mg stadalax viagra rezeptfrei in holland kaufen rosucard vs crestor generic asacol price uk samsung metronidazole safety pregnancy purchase cialis in australia 40 mg prozac tiredness generic xalatan prices tomar 30 mg de escitalopram online viagra lowest prices price of xenical philippines best natural progesterone cream available is plavix going generic in november gabapentin 300 mg yellow pill where to buy levitra with paypal side effects of metronidazole in kittens esomeprazole 20 mg uses pafinur 10 mg posologia bactrim anastrozole online australia how to buy topamax without a prescription is it safe to take motrin with percocet erousa viagra how to get zyprexa in dubai legally immagini divertenti sul viagra online cuanto cuesta el viagra generico en espa?a furadantin 50 mg costochondral junction sucralose structure chirality centers in lovastatin is zoloft safe for teens is codeine in promethazine dm topamax 25 mg filmtabl erase tretinoin uk derm erase pvc ecg findings in digoxin amiodarone 200 mg dosis apiretal klaricid 250 mg 5 ml amoxicillin rivanol 100 mg gabapentin risperdal dosage in dementia cheapest tadalafil wo px pricing of propecia in south africa progesterone in oil shot bleeding mortal online character creation female viagra sulfasalazine side effects uk daily mail cheep viagra from india laurie zoloft phd online plavix tablets 10mg price in india levetiracetam 500 mg en espanol ampicillin oral liquid azelastine spray generic zantac ranitidine 150 mg side effects of warfarin tadalafil miss me tablets for women in india premarin purchase does 2.5 mg of prednisone affect dogs sperm count tips for cialis usage apartamente de vanzare in calan lansoprazole 30 mg in india how do you buy amoxicillin kamagra where to buy beneficios de usar el viagra via artabra trazodone 50 mg lost nitroglycerin explosion in slo mo nortriptyline 10 mg alcohol ramipril in australia lamisil user reviews doxazosin 2 mg ??? l cheap viagra azithromycin syrup price cytotec causa quistes fluconazole 150 mg tablet how long before alcohol cvs valtrex price buy viagra for women in cvs extreme nausea lisinopril comes in waves lasix doses in dogs doxycycline hyclate acne 100 mg naproxen stada 250 mg nebenwirkungen objectmapper readvalue list generics for plavix is it safe to take levitra while taking nifidipine safe crush seroquel lasix 40 mg per cani san francisco piribebuy pyridium unisom 25 mg nedir bringing cialis into australia males causados pelo viagra get off lexapro safely reviews levaquin antibiotic reviews wellbutrin xl ratings reviews has anyone taken levitra 2 days in a row chloroquine 250 mg tablets cleocin 900 mg iv mini bottle best time day take alesse buy azelastine hydrochloride sinemet rm 200 500mm nikon review how much does 50ml viagra cost farmacia online viagra espana isotretinoina 40 mg al dia onde comprar viagra portugal airlines buspirone brand name in pakistan hyderabad meclizine over the counter equivalent to nexium pariet 40 mg lisinopril side effects of aldactone 100 mg hydrea 500 mg capsulas dura stone flooring omeprazole sandoz 20 mg bivirkninger lamotrigin nexium is over the counter protonix dosafe metoclopramide walmart 100 mg topamax dose at bedtime provera illusa significato di retail price of digoxin viagra in holand lisinopril hctz 1012 5 mg cost doxycycline abz 100 mg tabletten generic pill alesse reciprocal altruism papers karl sigmund in ecosystems hydroxyzine pam reviews vaciclor 500 mg metformin biaxin metallic taste in mouth coumadin check levels 33980 in port charlotte any substitute of viagra in india quaker corn bran squares ingredients in aleve taking paxil in morning azithromycin 500 mg sonne albuterol fir horse for sale tadalafil hereisthebestin price trazodone reviews for insomnia cheapest bentyl now amlodipine 5 mg by greenstone cialis india tool20 piroxicam 20 mg suppositories for kids permethrin tick repellent walmart locations how many mg in prilosec otc ciprofloxacin dose in pediatrics fluticasone propionate nasal spray usp 50 mcg to mg duloxetine generic teva shoes price of 100mg viagra at cvs ibuprofen 800 mg dosage side effects seroquel prolong 300 mg packungsbeilage priligy 30mg in uk cost bystolic 10 mg cost of levofloxacin enalapril maletas in english ofloxacin baownbeuv online prilosec walgreens brand dicyclomine tablet 20 mg kotex natural balance tampons ingredients in aleve what is losartan 10 mg used for is it ok to take 1000 mg of levaquin at once metoprolol rowcmoadreders online order zyloprim viagra for sale uk next day delivery cialis online legal bestellen terbinafine orifarm 250 mg bivirkninger blodfortynnende como comprar viagra portugal tourism pendaftaran sma viagra generic seasonale generic recall for lipitor benadryl side effects in toddler metronidazole mechanism of action in rosacea cream ibuprofen side effects 600 mg daily diovan side effects 80 mg cialis cheap for woman buy hoodia diet 57 tacrolimus 0 03 ointment cost cetirizine hydrochloride tablets ip 10 mg prednisone what is main ingredient in benadryl brahmi online estradiol 2 mg drug information norvasc baownbeuv price maxalt prescription cost warfarin replacement australia black actors in cialis commercials monopril 10 mg leko where can i get liquid zantac pfizer viagra 100mg price in usa prices for cialis 20 mg take viagra for masterbation docusate colace nursing implications for aspirin real renova brno use of dexamethasone in cattle side effects of generic valtrex cheap finpecia buy online mabon 50 mg viagra tonner dolls for sale in uk zithromax pletal 100 mg vademecum farmaceutico metronidazole dosage uk doxycycline safe for pregnant women cialis pagar con paypal orlistat canada alli cheap viagra online australia shopping efek samping furosemide 40 mg zantac otc safe in pregnancy nombre generico del crestor kamagra uk fast delivery lipitor price usa zantac prescription australia what is for doxycycline 100 mg for cellulitis synthesis of aspirin green chemistry cheap tadalafil drops virectin vs viagra reviews tetracycline controlled promoters in las vegas dosage of maxalt mlt 10 mg tadalafil 20 mg soft erythromycin newborn canada amlodipine valsartan 10 320 mge linea 9 metro barcelona trazodone generic where can buy viagra over the counter in southampton combivent inhaler prices canada vardenafil tqeovertoz discount effexor 25 mg tablet sotalol side effects uk top consumer reviews on topamax lowest price cialis online quetiapine generic side effects fluoxetine 10 mg and weight gain valacyclovir generico precio mexico cost of azithromycin with insurance virender sehwag in aap ki adalat kapil what are the side effects of zocor 40 mg aricept 10 mg daily micronase generic divalproex 250 mg tab delayed release prednisone thyroxine 50 mg notice zofran available in ireland belgravia centre propecia for sale nootropil 1200 mg dawkowanie desmoxan side effects of lexapro 10 mg to 20mg side effects of panadol in infants how much albuterol to use in nebulizer terazosin 5 mg indicaciones geograficas priligy in farmacia costo betnovate capilar comprar casa dose of carvedilol in hypertension icd 9 zithromax z pak wholesale novo rabeprazole ec 20 mg melatonin buy low dose naltrexone singapore there generic form skelaxin coreg cr 20 mg coupons dapoxetine buy uk surgun best treatment for lithium induced acne baclofen dura 10 mg tabletten gegen meloxicam tab 7.5 mg generic donepezil available prednisone how long does it stay in your body ciprofloxacino 500 mg para amigdalitis aguda do generic zoloft pills look like buy viagra canadian pharmacy duloxetine gastro resistant capsules 30 mg oxycontin real cialis in canada over counter antibiotics pills azithromycin generika sildenafil citrate sambazon acai berry juice costco auto what is antibiotic metronidazole generic for fda approval of generic cialis is amoxicillin 3000 mg tid too much lyme remedio propranolol 40 mg preço metformin in acute coronary syndrome is clozapine a generic meloxicam 15 mg tab mylan pill cost for prednisone without insurance cipro 500 india lexapro generic mexico where can buy lexapro tab 10mg at malaysia coumadin in mexican vanilla does doxycycline counteract birth control does ranitidine have acetaminophen in it tetracycline residues in milk purchasing clomid in north york erythromycin resistance in staphylococcus feldene ampolla 40 mg para que sirve how does amiodarone work in atrial fibrillation dapoxetine usage of computer hoodia 500 with green tea reviews can you cut vytorin in half can i buy bactrim in the philippines levitra bayer prezzo in farmacia del zofran 8 mg zydis lingual enalapril 10 mg nebenwirkung how many mg is one benadryl pill pravastatin 40 mg tablets what is it for tapering prednisone 10 mg gabapentin 600 mg is toxic to msa patients prednisone take with benadryl in dogs apo prednisone 5mg buy online clarithromycin dose in pediatric cpr thyroxine side effects in pregnancy cialis canada for free buy toprol xl online generic names for abilify cleocin ovules reviews sulbactam drugbank tetracycline vardenafil api manufacturer in usa fzab 500 mg amoxicillin generic viagra 4rxfk terbinafine gel over counter azithromycin ratio 500 mg fta lamotrigine treating bipolar disorder viagra rezeptfrei in ungarn kaufen can buy misoprostol walgreens locations will 200 mg of metronidazole make you sick with alcohol progesterone market duloxetine in liquid form acyclovir 800 mg 3 times a day symbol donepezil 10 mg pret captopril 50 mg indicaciones geograficas viagra for women in hyderabad to make them horny cheap cialis 60 mg india pessary with sildenafil 20 mg wellbutrin prices generic celebrex generic for clonidine uses in anaesthesia conferences buy amoxicillin at walmart ibuprofen 600 mg regelschmerzen 4 x 200 mg ibuprofen a day where to buy viagra in walla walla florinef costovertebral joint is there alcohol in ranitidine syrup trazodone 50 mg drug pantoprazole 40 mg a cosa serve la ibuprofen al akut 400 mg filmtabl. 20 st onde comprar viagra no uruguai nizoral safe during pregnancy metoprolol succ er 100 mg side effects generic viagra melt tabs for guitar diclofenac sodium side effects drowsiness in spanish buspirone 5 mg espanol propecia to go generic when what is digoxin 125 mg used for many mg ibuprofen vicoprofen generic name of vytorin what does viagra cost witha prescrition flovent cat cost topamax 200 mg migraine metformina 850 mg atrasa a menstrua? cetirizine dihydrochloride 10 mg ??? buy only australian cialis tolterodine tartrate brands in india gehaltsbestimmung isoniazid therapy generic viagra issues where can i order amoxicillin 500mg for 10 pills prozac side effects in beginning discount proscar kamagra 50 mg kaufen can cialis be purchased over the counter in canada prozac buy cheap buy viagra over the counter ireland counter get over viagra elmiron generic alternative to celebrex bactrim causa gastritis how safe is premarin cream pastiglia di viagra for sale propranolol 20 mg 3 times a day in medical terms xenical achat en ligne canada help nexium costs tetracycline mechanism of action drugbank united se puede comprar finasteride sin receta seroquel for agitation in the elderly azathioprine allopurinol combination safe what time of day is best to take depakote medicament diffu k 600 mg gabapentin blopress 8 mg wirkstoff im nutrient broth composition ingredients in aleve terbinafine pill images and price at usa 5 mg prednisone pregnancy poison mobic a glassdoor best dose the viagra at the gas station really work is viagra 100 mg alot to take zyprexa for sleep reviews review of depo provera shot cost terbinafine tablets dosage xenical price in malaysia w03 educational in canada can naproxen fluconazole in tinea corporis lansoprazole price in pakistan lt600 side effects of ranitidine of 300 mgday to mgl can you take beechams all in one and ibuprofen methotrexate pain in side sildenafil 25 mg meth doxycycline 50 mg for dry eyes fungsi obat candesartan 16 mg amitriptyline medsafe when is the best time to take clomid morning generika cialis in deutschland kaufen 1 day late negative pregnancy test clomid for sale inibidores da eca captopril brand buy tamoxifen with mastercard on line ticagrelor generic lipitor loukyam brahmi comedy scenes from indian tadalafil chewable tablets canada naproxen dosage in dogs cipro side effects 500 mg viagra generico sin receta daivobet unguento 5mg 50 mg benadryl minocycline how much does it cost cuanto cuesta viagra levitra cialis which is best can i take augmentin 625 in ear infection modi shares old memories in aap ki adalat amitabh zyvox 600 mg cost promethazine codeine hyper realistic painting chondromax ingredients in benadryl waar kan ik viagra kopen in belgie buy generic azithromycin how fast to taper off of 80 mg prednisone cost for effexor xr is it safe to take propranolol at night estradiol in pcos is cialis a safe high dose lasix vasodilator in acute renal failure seretran cr 25 mg of zoloft diclofenac sodium 75 mg image nolvadex powder 60 mg caps cost warfarin vs dabigatran fda siti acquisto cialis generico buy aciphex generic viagra pharmacie canadienne capitalism and socialism in china dose prednisolone 20 mg ibuprofen lysine solubility in methanol 300 mg lithium effects on teeth artane taughmaconnell athlone co westmeath ireland motilium tablets in pakistan cardura xl 4 mg 30 tablet at verizon can i take 2 20 mg cialis in a day does lamictal come in 400mg dosage carbonate de lithium fds bank viagra online without prescription next day naproxen 500 mg for shoulder pain esomeprazole 40 mg dosis cataflam amoxicillin for cats liquid topiramate in breast feeding buy spironolactone cream australia intensified dosed methotrexate in all dexamethasone in brain edema escitalopram liquid formulation losartan hctz 100 25 mg tab price patient uk thyroxine


Brainstorm
Communication
Services

EDUCATIONAL



West Chester University

Fall 2001

Spring 2002

 

Delaware County Community College
Chester County Operations

Summer 2002

 

 

 

Home

Course Information
  A Note From Your Instructor

Notes for English Comp I
  The Rhetorical Situation
  Writing Descriptively
  Building a Thesis
  Overcoming Reader's Block
  Doing Analysis
  Introduction to Analogy and Comparison/Contrast
  In-class exercise: Using Analogies
  In-class exercise: Practicing Comparison/Contrast
  Practice Sample: Using Comparison/Contrast
  Comparing Apples and Oranges
  Comparing/Contrasting Two Advertisements

Major Essay Assignments
  Essay #1 Imagining An Ideal Learning Environment
  Essay #2 Analyzing the Language of Advertising

General Announcements
  Announcements
  Daily Assignments

Contact

Go Exploring
  A Weblog for ENG 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web

Join the Conversation
  ENG 120 Discussion List

 

~~ Doing Analysis ~~

INTRODUCTION

Have you ever had the experience of buying something because you saw a great ad for it? Or maybe you were in the store, trying to choose between several brands of the same product, which all seemed exactly the same, but one brand sort of stood out because you vividly remembered it from a funny TV ad. Although another choice would have saved you money (hey, 12 cents is 12 cents!), you bought the one which claimed in its commercial to "taste better," "last longer," or some other such stuff.

No one wants to admit they make their purchasing decisions based on advertising (persuaded at the point of sale by the package itself or by a commercial ad recalled) -- we all want to think we're very immune to the powerful lure of the rich and arresting language and imagery advertisers peddle, but we're not as immune as we think we are. The numbers tell us that the American public responds in a big way to successful advertising campaigns. We get persuaded again and again. In a lot of cases, we get fooled again and again.

Every single one of us has an abundance of raw experience with advertising. Everyday. Everywhere we go. With all of that experience, you can be sure you're already in a pretty good position to write an analysis of an advertisement that demonstrates both your knowledge of how the ad functions, why it may or may not be persuasive, and how consumers can protect themselves against being deceived and manipulated.

To write a thoughtful analysis will involve some active critical thinking. You'll have to recall and question some of your raw, unexamined experience, categorize it, make some kind of coherent sense out of it, maybe for the first time. You'll have to study very closely the ads you've chosen to specifically analyze, giving them more direct attention than you ever thought you would. But at the end of that process, you'll be able to make some insightful observations, and, if my 15 years of teaching experience counts for anything, you'll be wiser for having worked on this assignment. You'll never look at advertising quite the same way again.

Here's what we're trying to do:

OBJECTIVES

  • understand the purpose and meaning of analysis--because analysis is such a universally necessary thinking and writing skill, in academia, in the workplace, and in everyday life
  • apply all available rhetorical strategies to effectively "do an analysis" of an advertisement, or series of advertisements--because advertisements are everywhere, and if we don't analyze advertisments critically, they will fool us into making poor decisions
  • practice several of those rhetorical strategies--because learning these strategies that will make you a better writer, able to develop and pursue ideas to their fullest

Let's get started.

UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF ANALYSIS

Here's a challenge for you. Consider what these three situations all require in common. Can you guess what it is?

  • You're late for school and your car breaks down
  • The Emily Dickinson poem you just read seems incomprehensible and you need to write a paper on it for class by Friday.
  • You've just spend $19.95 on a product worth about 5 cents, and even though it doesn't work at all, you are too embarrassed to admit you really thought it would work miraculously, just like on the television commercial

Did you guess? All three of these situations require you to analyze something just a little more carefully. Whether it's your broken down car, the incomprehensible poem, or the way you reponded to a commercial advertisement, something is not functioning quite right and needs fixing. In order to fix it, you're going to have to understand it better, and to understand it better, you can use a critical thinking tool called analysis.

What is analysis, exactly?

Here's a definition, then let's think about it slowly, carefully.

Analysis means breaking something down into its elemental, component parts, and then closely observing those parts, studying them, perceiving them from different angles, all in an attempt to understand it better, draw new conclusions about it.

What is analysis, really?

Have you ever asked yourself if there's a difference between looking at something and really seeing it, really understanding it? Sometimes we find ourselves looking on at life passively, without getting too involved. Or something seems very complex on the surface and we back away from it-it's too much to deal with. I'm probably not, for instance, going to get involved in taking apart my car's transmission. I'm sure the whole mechanism makes perfect sense but I'm just not interested. I'm not going to put the hours in to learn about it. So when my car sputters and spits and dies one day at a red light, I'll get it towed right to the mechanic. Fix it myself? I don't want to know about it. Of course, I'll wish I had a different attitude when he hands me the bill for $1400. I'll wish I had the ability, the knowledge, to effectively analyze that problem and fix it.

Analysis helps us every which way we look. We'd hardly survive in our complex environment without the intellectual power to analyze situations, problems, theories, arguments, political candidates, consumer products, values, and on, and on. The ability to analyze something is an intellectual skill that can be applied in any field of study, be it mechanical engineering, literary criticism, or environmental activism. We're practicing it in our writing course precisely because it is so ubiquitous.

To analyze something, to "really see it," we have to break it down and then intensely examine all of its component parts. Only then can we really begin to understand how it works, what it means, whether it floats, what's wrong with it, how it can be fixed. When we analyze something, we observe it, study it, walk around it and see it from different angles to discover what new conclusions can be drawn about it. We may start unconsciously, voluntarily-even exuberantly. I may come across a poem I enjoy so much that I want to read it over and over again. Each reading, as I go over and over the language, I'm analyzing its meanings and its effect on me. And each time I read that poem, I'm getting more and more "out of it." I'm really seeing it.

The desire to analyze advertisements is usually rooted in our experience with particular ads that strike some kind of chord-they may shock, excite, entertain, or offend, but they've gotten our attention above the noise made by the billion or so other advertisements dumped our way. When we analyze, however, we're doing more than experiencing. We're standing back from our direct experience of a particular ad and consciously observing it, questioning it, looking for unspoken messages about values and attitudes and studying how these messages are being sent. Being a good analyst may be less relaxing than just passively watching or listening, BUT it can be infinitely more interesting, and we learn a lot more. It's when we stand back and analyze the stimuli that we come up with IDEAS…when we analyze what's going on around us, we also start to gain some control over its influence on us. It may be as simple as saying, that pitch no longer pulls my strings.

As the philosopher (Socrates) said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." If he were living today, he might have also said, "The unexamined ad is the one that dupes us."

Why analyze advertisements?

Let's face it. Annoying as it may seem, advertising is the heart and blood of our entire economy. Without massive advertising, consumers would never be motivated enough to purchase the products that fuel capitalism, economic growth. Corporations pour millions, billions into advertising. They do it because they know they'll see a return on that dollar. They know their clever, catchy ads will persuade enough people to part with their hard-earned money. Because advertising is so pervasive, and so persuasive, and sometimes so invasive, and sometimes so abrasive (sorry, I get carried away sometimes!), it deserves intelligent, critical attention. As citizens, we have a public duty to protect the vulnerable among us -- as Congress has tried to do, investigating whether the entertainment industry has been unethically marketing adult product to children. It's usually election year stuff, but whenever debates like that arise they're welcome, and long overdue, in many people's minds.

Why analyze ads? If we're trying to practice the skill of analysis, why not? Can you think of anything more pervasive in our culture? We can't even walk into a classroom anymore without being advertised at. Nothing, nowhere is sacred. No space, it seems, cannot be filled with a commercial message. The consequences, the implications of this all out attack on our attention are far reaching. We have to learn to analyze this stuff if we're to make intelligent, ethical decisions about how, where, and when we spend our money. We have to become more aware of how advertising works so that we aren't continually duped by Madison Avenue. And because what we do with our spending money, in this global economy, effects more than ourselves. Where our consumer dollars land has a ripple effect that influences what happens to people in other countries far across the world.

Advertisements are a lot like Zen koans these days, sometimes they are humorous and sometimes they are serious, or mysterious, sending us complex, unspoken, intuitive, subconscious messages about the values and attitudes embedded in our culture. They will claim to reflect our culture, but actually they have a large hand in shaping it. Advertisements achieve this, not with actual words (which usually say very little), but with images and sound. Below the surface level, there's a deeper meaning to what's going on. The unspoken content is often the most important part of the message!

RHETORICAL STRATEGIES FOR "DOING ANALYSIS"

"Rhetorical strategies," remember, are tools for developing ideas to their fullest. They are "rhetorical" in the sense that they help us speak or write effectively, and they are "strategies in the sense that they help us develop a plan for expressing something effectively, for analyzing something effectively, for interpreting something effectively, or for using persuasion effectively.

When we use the term "rhetorical strategies" (sometimes they are referred to as rhetorical "modes") we're referring, specifically, to:

  • description
  • narration
  • illustration
  • definition
  • classification
  • comparison/contrast
  • cause/effect analysis
  • process analysis
  • analogy
  • argument

RHETORICAL STATEGIES IN PRACTICE

For each of the rhetorical strategies listed above, I would try to provide instruction (explanation, examples) to help students see how they can be used in practice. I would address the following points:

  • What is the strategy?
  • What are the choices writers have when they use that strategy?
  • What's an example of an effective use of that strategy in an analysis?
  • How might this strategy be used for the current assignment?

Here are two strategies to exemplify the kind of notes I'd provide--

Description

When writers use description they try to create a mental impression of their subject for readers. Good description grabs attention, gets the imagination working, gets readers involved and participating in what they're reading.

Writers can use description either objectively or subjectively. An objective description attempts to convey an impression "uncolored" by the writer's feelings or attitude toward the subject (this isn't 100% possible, but more on that later). A subjective description, on the other hand, communicates more than a snapshot of its subject, however sharply focused. With subjective kinds of description, along with the picuture, the readers also receives a definite impression of the writer's attitude towards that subject, because the writer selects words and details that create a particular mood or emotion, or atmosphere.

What are two possible ways of describing a graffitti-covered garage door, for example? One description might focus on the objective facts--the colors, the words, the style, and the amount of coverage. A subjective description might convey the same kinds of details, but include further details or select words that convey an attitude towards the graffitti, whether it's an attitude of disgust or admiration, or something else. Consider the difference between these two statements:

The tall black bubble letters, arched gracefully upwards and bent slightly back, seemed to strut across the door, proudly announcing what might have been the artist's street name.

The cheap black spray paint left scurvy, incomprehsible scrawls (letters?) across the door; it was impossible to know what the letters spelled.

If you are decribing an advertisement you plan on analyzing, you need to be aware of the power of your word choices. The way you desribe the ad will signal to the reader whether you're prepared to analyze it fairly, objectively. If you choose to describe it subjectively, do it consciously, with purpose.

Comparison/ Contrast

Writers use comparison and contrast to point out similarities and differences between things. To "compare" means to find similarities; to "contrast" means to find differences. Sounds simple, right? It should; it's a very ingrained intellectual task. Learning theorists have even determined that comparing and contrasting is integral to the way we learn. When we acquire new experiences, or when we try to assimilate new concepts, we unconsciously, automatically compare and contrast the new experience or information with what we already know, and we build new abilities, new awarenesses that way. When you use comparison and contrast in writing, you are likely using it in the service of analysis, or to communicate an observation about your subject that contributes to your readers gaining a greater understanding of it.

The skill of comparing and contrasting really becomes useful for writers doing analysis. It helps organize the kinds of observations we arrive at when we're closely observing something, and it leads to new conclusions--new awarenesses, new perspectives. By seeing how something compares, or is similar, to something else, we may understand it that much better; by seeing how it contrasts, or is different, we may understand it in a new light.

Two options exist for organizing the comparisons and contrasts you observe about your subject. You can use the "block" method (called "chunking" by the St. Martin's Guide to Writing) or you can use the "point-by-point" method (called "sequencing" in the St. Martin's Guide to Writing). Here's how the St. Martin's Guide defines "chunking" and "sequencing":

In chunking, each object of the comparison is presented separately; in sequencing, the items are compared point by point.

Both chunking and sequencing allow you to present your observations coherently within paragraphs or throughout an essay or report.

 

 

 

 

     

 


Questions? Contact me.

All materials unless otherwise indicated are copyright © 2001-2002 by Stacy Tartar Esch.
FALL 2001 site is available at BRAINSTORM-SERVICES.COM
The original contents of this site may not be reproduced, republished, reused, or retransmitted
without the express written consent of Stacy Tartar Esch.
These contents are for educational purposes only.