Assignment: For this formal essay, you will analyze the visual and verbal language of the graphic novel Persepolis. In order to construct a strong analysis, you must first situate Persepolis in a particular rhetorical context. You will need to explain to your reader what a graphic novel is, who the author is, who the author’s intended audience is, and the social and cultural background of the story the author is telling. You will also need to explain what themes and broader lessons you will focus on that you think the book is expressing. You will use the supplementary readings/videos and your own research to help provide context and explain concepts throughout your analysis.
There are two approaches you can take to this analysis:
1. You can focus on two or three visual elements and analyze how they are used throughout the novel (use of color, lines, or borders, for example). Make sure to connect these visual elements to a broader theme or objective you see taking place throughout the story.
2. You can focus on a particular section of the book (say, about 2-3 pages) and explain the visual elements at play in that section. Make sure you connect that section to the broader context and themes of the book.
In order to expand on those ideas in an analytical way, you’ll focus on visual and verbal elements of the story that underscore those themes and highlight those contexts you describe above. You may answer the following questions through your analysis:
• Why does this graphic novel look the way it does? This will require description and explanation of book’s design: visual images, colors, etc.; word choices; layout and arrangement, etc.
• What kind of background does she provide her audience? What does she know about her audience that helps her decide what to include and what not to include throughout the story?
• What claims does the author make and how does she support that claim? In other words, what is she trying to teach us about her experience, about her world? Why? What is her purpose for doing so?
In order to get deeper into your analysis, you will need to use some of the source material we covered in relation to Persepolis. You’re also welcome to use any other sources you looked up while you were reading, as long as you found them to be credible sources.
Throughout your prewriting, you will identify elements of visual analysis you find helps you better understand the text and its themes.
As you move from prewriting to drafting the first (“shitty”) draft of your essay, you will begin to construct a thesis statement. The thesis statement is your main argument about the how the visual elements of the book supports your claim about what the book teaches us or what themes it is trying to present. You will then spend your essay presenting reasons and evidence to support your comparisons.
The evidence you provide in support for your thesis will be comprised primarily of material from the the book and the materials we read/watched or that you looked up while you were reading the book. So, part of your job will be to integrate sources effectively, by providing context and explanations for your source material.
A clear thesis and purpose. Organize your paper around a concise thesis statement.
An introduction that introduces the the book, the author, and the context of Satrapi’s graphic novel.
Reasons and evidence to support your comparison
Use of source material to fully explain your supporting evidence.
You are required to use at least 3 sources throughout your paper, including the book. Make sure that any sources you found on your own are reliable.
Topic sentences that help organize and focus body paragraphs.
A strong concluding paragraph that sums up the essay without being repetitive.
A descriptive and appropriate title (titles like “Paper #1” and “Compare/Contrast Essay” are neither descriptive nor appropriate). The title of your essay cannot be Persepolis. That title is already taken!
Your paper must use MLA formatting, including a 4-line header.
MLA documented sources: in-text citations and a Works Cited page.
Proofread carefully before you submit your assignment. Your paper should be written in standard, edited American English.
Required Length: 4-5.5 typed, double-spaced pages (not including any “Works Cited” pages), in a standard, 12-point font. Do not manipulate your margins or fonts to achieve the required page limit.
Participate in all stages of the writing process and the the assignments related to the paper project.
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