Pathos Analysis of Image

For this assignment, you’ll find an image (a photo, ad, caricature, visual meme, etc.) online somewhere that you find especially moving and that makes a discernible argument, and write a 2-3 page paper in which you both identify and analyze its pathetic appeals.

Here is a student example (Visual Analysis-AlinaCarnahan) from 2013.


1)      Find your image—Facebook and Twitter are a good place to find something, as are online blogs. Be sure to select one that both moves you and makes an explicit argument. A snapshot of the dog you had in 5th grade might move you, but it doesn’t make an explicit argument.

2)      In the equivalent of a 2-3 page double-spaced paper, identify the pathetic appeal(s) in this image (the pathema) and analyze it by covering the following elements:

  • Describe the context: where did you find this image, what website, blog, online newspaper, social networking site, etc.? Is there some historical or cultural background the audience must have to understand the argument being made in the image? Who is the target audience for this image, given the context?
  • Explain what aspect of this image provokes an emotion, how it provokes this emotion, and what emotion it provokes (what this image asks you to feel).
  • Explain what sort of behavior this image inspires. Does it want you to do something? To believe something? Buy something? Support a cause or organization?  Vote a certain way? Donate money? Become more conscious or aware of a problem?
  • Explain the interpretation that ties the affect or emotion to the desired behavior. What must you believe for the emotion to move you to the behavior?
  • Note the presumed audience for this image. Does it depend on classifications associated with age, class, ethnicity, sex/gender, sexual orientation, political ideology, religious theology, etc? Are there any ideas or symbols that will likely resonate with a certain segment of a population in a particular way?

3)      Submit your analysis to the assignment Visual Analysis for peer review on Canvas by 11 am on Sept 24.