Introducing you to my Visual Essay

For my second experiment, I am switching what I planned to do on Thursday and am going to write a visual analysis on two images taken during the Kavanaugh hearings.  A visual analysis breaks down the components of an image and conveys an understanding of what those components symbolize and are trying to communicate to the audience. The three steps to a visual essay are describing, responding, and analyzing. First, you must describe the subject looking at colors and shading, background, people and places, and arrangements of the elements on the page. After you describe, you then must respond to the description. This section includes reacting to the image and seeing how it made you feel and think. It is then important to include context and analyze the image and the purpose it holds. The thesis should contain the main idea that surrounds the understanding of the visual subject.

 

https://essaybasics.com/how-to-write-a-visual-analysis-essay/

 

Here are the two photos I plan on analyzing and comparing in my visual analysis

These two photos are of the same act, Brett Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford being sworn in, but have very different angles, backgrounds, and evoke different reactions. Comparing these two images side by side represent the discrepancies and injustices between men and women in our society and the societal structures that enforce them. I will also be able to use the biases in my analysis and explain how they evoke sympathy and demand attention from the public, a strategy that journalists and newsmakers use.

I think this genre will be perfect for my topic because it will allow me to use and analyze the visuals I want to include as well as incorporate the two biases of personalization and authority disorder bias. Having images is a huge component of my origin piece. I will touch on the biases that draw people’s attention to the media, and a visual analysis will fit those topics them in seamlessly. Excited to hear what you guys think ūüôā

Research Papers

I have always hated research papers. Always. Throughout high school I bullshitted my way through every research paper I wrote, rarely ever concluding anything worthwhile or unique. Once I even wrote a 15 page research paper in one day and got an A. That’s either an insane skill or my teacher was just oblivious to how little effort I actually put into the assignment. Either way, research papers were, and still are, the enemy.

But you know what they say: keep your enemies close. So, I guess that means I’ll take a stab at a research paper for this experiment (Ha, get it? Stab the enemy?).

But, in all seriousness, for every high school research paper I wrote, I was missing a crucial component: research. Research for a topic, no matter how simple it is, cannot all be collected and analyzed in a day’s time. When I did this, I undoubtedly compiled a couple of worthwhile sources, but definitely did not find multiple perspectives in order to deduce anything significant. So, after my K-12 education plus my short time at college, I have decided that research is indeed important for a research paper. Who would’ve thought?

Research papers usually have a few more consistencies, regardless of topic, such as:

  • An abstract, or a summary of research project
  • An introduction, with a clear purpose
    • Including a thesis statement, usually at the end of the introduction
  • Body paragraphs, with a strong argument, a stronger argument, and a strongest argument, accompanied by in-text citations
    • Including a review of the literature and how it supports the claims
  • A conclusion and/or discussion, with a summary of the arguments and how they connect to deduce a significant claim
  • A call for further research, when there is a need to delve into a topic further
  • A bibliography, to cite the sources used

Looking at aspects other than formatting, research papers often have a professional, formal tone in order to appeal to the norms of academic works. Often, they work off of already existing research and are a stepping stone for research in the future.

The following examples, while differing in topics, all include the components of a research paper stated above, and I plan on using these as templates for my own work:

  1. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/18/
  2. https://kucampus.kaplan.edu/DocumentStore/Docs11/pdf/WC/Sample_APA_Paper.pdf
  3. https://depts.washington.edu/owrc/Handouts/Hacker-Sample%20APA%20Formatted%20Paper.pdf

My research paper for experiment two will focus on the effects of heartbreak on mental and physical health. Many people think of a break up as something that you just have to get over, but, coupled with depression and other health effects, it isn’t as easy as it seems. I hope to call attention to this ¬†phenomenon as a stressor for health, rather than a simple hiccup in one’s personal life. I hope to build on my diary entries from experiment one which tried to highlight this, but lacked the research to back-up my claims in any significant manner.

And, yes. I promise to put more effort into this research paper than the ones I wrote in high school.

Taking a risk with my writing

As an English major, having to write a lot of essays kind of comes with the territory. Nothing beats that feeling of figuring out an essay topic that you just know¬†is going to be good- but how about those that make you feel kind of nervous and uncomfortable? For one of my classes, the assignment was to read a book then come up with a question about the novel then attempt to answer it in a paper. Coming up with a question that was both challenging and engaging was difficult in itself–and made answering it even harder. My question had no concrete answer, so I felt like I was taking a shot in the dark. In¬†desperation, I wrote and re-wrote various answers until my brain turned to scrambled eggs…then I emailed my professor. All I can say is, it is SO AMAZING to get some reassurance that your writing risk is a good one. She recognized the challenge that I set for myself and appreciated that I was working hard to figure it out…which really validated my choice to choose a risky topic in the first place. In the end, I still have no clue if my paper is “right”…but that extra encouragement to take the risk really reminded me the point of writing. Don’t just take the easy way out and write about something obvious…rather, use writing as a means of figuring out something really difficult (maybe you will even learn something…).