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Essay 3

Making Meaning

In essay 2, you explored how words have many layers of definition. Just as texts can
have many definitions, they can have many meanings. It is important to remember that
all texts around us have meaning. Texts include things such as: written texts, events,
foods, photographs, advertisements, buildings, clothing, vehicles, etc. The meaning in a
text is created by the viewer and the context it exists in. For essay 3 you will have the
opportunity to explore the layers of meaning that exists within a particular text.

Choosing a Topic
For essay 3 you will choose a print advertisement (can be from a magazine or accessed
online) or a commercial (can be accessed online) to analyze for meaning. For our
purposes these advertisements, print or commercial, will be considered texts that you will
analyze. Your job is to explore the layers of meanings that exist within the text you
choose. Your essay will argue the meaning you find in your particular text. Remember
meaning exists within context so be aware of how the advertising company is presenting
their product and who they are presenting it to. Researching using secondary sources such
as articles and company websites can help you in analyzing your text. We will go over in
class ways of analyzing your text and how to support you argument.

Developing a Thesis
Your thesis, as we have been discussing all semester, should be specific, well focused,
and arguable. Bullock says, “a good thesis is specific, guiding you as you write and
showing your audience exactly what your essay will cover”(252). As you analyze your
text try to develop a thesis that is complex. You want to avoid general statements in your

Developing Support
For this essay you will use a few different methods of support:
Textual references- Since you are examining a particular text it is important to reference
and explain that text in your argument.
Allusion- Make at least one reference to popular knowledge in your essay.
Personal Testimony- Use your own personal experience to persuade your audience.
Secondary Research- For this essay you will include at least one outside source to help
you construct your argument. This could be an article from an academic database or
information from the website of the company responsible for the text you are analyzing.
Appeal to Logic or Value- construct a line of reasoning in your argument using one of
the appeals.

Concessions and Counterarguments

As you argue meaning it is important to acknowledge that there will be others who find a
different meaning than the one which you are arguing. Briefly reference other meanings
that could be created from your text.
For this essay your audience will be the company whose advertisement you are
analyzing. You will be arguing your interpretation of the meaning of the text to the
company. Keep in mind what type of audience your advertisement is intended for. Who
is the company targeting this ad to? Is the ad effective?

Essay Requirements
This essay will be 3-4 pages in length. This means it must be at least 3 full pages. It
should be in 12pt Times New Roman font with 1”margins. All sources should be
documented in MLA format. This includes in text citation as well as a works cited page.
If you are analyzing a print advertisement please hand in a copy of your advertisement
with your essay and cite it in your Works Cited page. If you are analyzing a commercial
cite it in the Works Cited page so I will be able to locate it. Remember you must use at
least one outside source (scholarly article from a database or information from a
company website), personal testimony, one allusion, an appeal to value or logic, and
textual references in your essay.

Finding advertisements and Sources

We will be spending one class at Bracken Library where you will learn how to locate
journal articles and newspaper articles using the library databases. You can locate print
advertisements for your topics in magazines or online. Commercials can be found online
using You Tube. You will learn how to evaluate a website at the library as well. Please
remember Wikipedia is not a viable source for conducting secondary research.