Sunday, December 19, 2010

Visual rhetoric.

The image above depicts how so many insomniacs feel; they feel as though some sort of malevolent force is keeping them awake.  Not to mention that chronic insomnia leads to an unstable mental state and this sort of frightening imagery is right up the alley of someone who is psychologically deteriorating as a result of continuing sleeplessness.  I would not be surprised if the artist of the image has suffered from insomnia him or herself. 

Pathos represents an appeal to the viewer’s emotions, and this image certainly does that.  It conveys the often frightening aspects of insomnia.  It also conveys the scary psychological state that someone who suffers from chronic insomnia can find themselves in.

This image does not employ the strategy of logos, which would be written text or slogans that appeal to our intellect and reasoning.  This image really does the opposite of appealing to reason.  It evokes a pure emotional response.  The image also does not employ ethos; it has no details that appeal to our sense of trust and credulity.  Again, this image is more of a disturbing and surreal appeal to our emotions.

The image does, to an extent, appeal to us utilizing mythos, which are details that appeal to our beliefs in shared human values.  We all interpret the demon in the upper left as a frightening and threatening figure.  Demonic figures are a part of every religion and mythology that has existed in the history of the human race. 

Overall I think this is a very powerful image that appeals greatly to our emotions.  It really conveys the scary reality of insomnia by using a terrifying illustration which is not reality-based.

This editorial cartoon uses humor to illustrate the frustrations of a man with insomnia.  The practice of “counting sheep” is mostly found in popular culture, though the idea of this practice of a way to help one fall asleep has been around for ages and in many different cultures.  It’s rarely actually used as a treatment for insomnia, but it is an idea with which we are all very familiar.  In this cartoon, the man has obviously has been trying to fall asleep for a very long time, as he is close to counting is 2 millionth sheep.

This cartoon does imply the strategy of pathos, appealing mostly to the viewer’s sense of humor, but also the viewer feels sorry for the poor guy who obviously can’t sleep.  Though this cartoon is mostly meant to make people chuckle, we can all empathize with the cartoon man’s troubles, and the uselessness of this practice of counting sheep that is engrained in our culture.

This image does employ the use of logos, although it does so in a very simple manner.  The two numbers on the sheep, which are in the millions, convey to us just how long this cartoon figure has been counting these sheep.  Mostly the text is to further the humorous aspect of this image, but it does appeal to our sense of reason—if the man has counted this high, the practice of counting sheep is rather useless.

Since this is just a cartoon, and not a serious one at that, this image doesn’t really employ the use of ethos.  We aren’t meant to find this cartoon worthy of our trust or find it creditable; it is just a cartoon.

Lastly, this cartoon certainly employs the use of ethos.  It shows us a practice that is part of (most) of our shared culture.  While it doesn’t actually contain any presence of shared human values, it is something which we all can relate to.

Unlike the previous image, which was rather frightening, this image relies on humor to convey its point.  Nevertheless, it is a very effective image that is quite relatable.

Image retrieved on December 12, 2010, from

Singer, A.  (2006, January). Retrieved on December 12, 2010 from

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