Paper Two

As discussed in class, please bring in your revised draft of the ad analysis to class today, 10/11. I am postponing the in-class essay. 

Remember: You must be able to identify, in your own work, the three components of a strong thesis (which are on the form I gave you with examples).

  • OBSERVATION (or What?): Identify specific aspects of the ad, and find precise language to describe them.
  • COMPLICATION (or How?): How are these elements working? What associations, feelings, or anxieties do they provoke or soothe or both, in the current social context?
  • SIGNIFICANCE (or Why or So What?): Remember, saying “this will sell a product to everyone” is not an argument. Your O and C should point towards a specific audience. Who is likely to be provoked or soothed or both by the complications you described? Significance, in a thesis, is the moment in the argument where you pivot to the world outside the ad: This is how this ad is targeting its audience. 
    In a literary critical argument, your significance would answer the question, “Why does this matter in the world outside this novel?” In the ad analysis, your significance is also answering the question “Why does this ad do these things?” You will not answer that question unless you argue that the ad is targeting a specific audience (age, gender, type of views, general demographic position…).

P.S. Here is that helpful page on Ad Analysis from Writing Commons. 


  • Credible journalistic sources — Media Literacy
    • The New York Times
      These can cite peer-reviewed sources. This article about the brain, literature and empathy cites Science Magazine
    • The Washington Post
    • The Houston Chronicle
    • The Wall Street Journal
  • Not credible: No news room, no fact checking, no re-publishing, click-driven. Go over some examples — guess. 
  • Peer-reviewed sources
    • Sarah Banet-Weiser, on the market in self-esteem, document. And here.
    • Search on Scholar for new media, young people and society. What are the types of articles? How do you evaluate sources? 
    • Cyber-bullying article.
    • Nicholas Carr, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. This book is on campus:

Attendance & discussion

Dear class, 

I would like to reiterate my attendance policy: I give you 2 “free” absences over the course of the semester. You must participate in class, with a paper copy of the book on your desk, in such a way that demonstrates evidence of having done the reading and engaged with it thoughtfully. This is a mandatory aspect of the class, for the entire semester. If lots people begin to miss class or show evidence of not having done the reading, I will begin to add assignments to the class, including but not limited to pop quizzes. Thank you for your hard work. See you in class. 

Welcome to College Writing

Do you think you know what a “millenial” looks or acts like? What about a “boomer”? How do generations get identified and profiled? Who comes up with these terms? Who studies generational differences? What kinds of statistics do scholars, journalists and corporations look at?  Do such tags have an effect on the groups they ostensibly describe? What are the negative and positive aspects of group identity?

Students will develop their critical, analytic and expressive skills through a series of short writing assignments. We will analyze and write for a variety of rhetorical situations, including: a response on a blog, an opinion piece about an advertisement, and an academic thesis statement. 

By engaging with the theme of the class, students will also learn to apply different writing techniques and rhetorical strategies, over the course of sustained inquiry into a topic.

Here is a picture of some of my current and former students: