Rhetorical analysis

structions for Major Essay 1: A Rhetorical/Textual Analysis of

They Called Us Enemy
If analysis of rhetoric is how a text makes meaning, then we need to consider not only the
words
in
They Called Us Enemy
, but its
illustrations
as well.
Before writing a thesis to guide us through our first draft, we need to ask questions:

“Which images from TCUE caught my attention?”

“How do those images from
TCUE
make a meaning worth analyzing or interpreting?”

“What is shown but unspoken in my chosen images from
TCUE
“How
does TCUE use visual rhetoric to make a storytelling point?”
The required non

fiction text for this workshop is
They Called Us Enemy
by Geo
rge Takei. What
makes it non

fiction is that Takei was actually kept prisoner by the United States During WWII.
What sets
They Called Us Enemy
apart from most memoirs is Takei’s decision to tell his
story primarily through drawings.
Your first major essay
will analyze how Takei uses patterns of
visual rhetoric to appeal to his audience.
How does a visual pattern
in
Takei’s
story
reveal
something significant?
Your thesis needs to interpret a
pattern in the
illustrations
.
For example, one thesis could be,
“The sewing machine at the end of
They Called
Us Enemy
concludes a pattern begun near the beginning of his memoir. The sewing becomes a
symbol of ….”
To bring
They Called Us Enemy
into focus, consider its
visual rhetoric
. For example,
consider how Harmo
ny Baker’s illustrations pleased Takei. While much of the verbal rhetoric
came verbatim from
To the Stars
, Takei praised Baker for framing details, such as his parents
holding hands after their trip outside the camp. Takei even praised Baker fine detail at
the level
of “a dot and a squiggle.”
Sometimes details connect across gutters,
such as when George’s naïve point of view is
juxtaposed to his father’s protecting point of view that doesn’t reveal everything as it is. Takei
even juxtaposes his own reminisc
ent narrator with complete understanding of the historical facts
with the naïve narrator back in the midst of the historical imprisonment.

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A hypothesis might me be something like,

“In
They Called Us Enemy
, the injustice of
Executive Order 9066 inspired Ge
orge
Takei to dedicate his life to civil rights,” or
“Although the Takei family was interned together,
They Called Us Enemy’s
visual rhetoric
frequently separates them to
dramatize the psychological conflicts involved many
Japanese

Americans faced during W
WII.”
The assignment
for your visual rhetorical/textual analysis is to develop and support a
thesis answering this question:
By considering the images from the book, how does a
visual
pattern
specific of Takei’s
memoir contribute to its meaning?
What patt
ern of images
supports your interpretation/thesis? What does Takei want the audience, to do as a result of
seeing his story? Please notice that discovering a specific
pattern of visual rhetoric
will help
you focus your thesis.
Answer the following
questions and fill in the blanks to develop a hypothesis:

Ask yourself, “What is a visual pattern in
They Called Us Enemy
that caught your
attention?” The answer to that question can become the
topic
or
x
in the following sentence:
“The pattern of _______
___x__________ caught my attention in
They Called Us Enemy
.”

Now ask yourself the question, “What does the pattern of _______x_______ in
They
Called Us Enemy
appear to mean?” The answer to that question can become the opinion
or
interpretation
in the foll
owing sentence: “________x________ in the
They Called Us
Enemy
seems to say/imply/signify ____y_____.”
R
emember the GEW rubric values critical thinking “characterized by complexity and
clarity,” so
make sure the thesis is not merely descriptive or evaluat
ive.

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