Monday, November 24, 2008

Visual Arguments

Ashley Cirillo
Persuasive Writing sec002
November 25, 2008
Critique #2

Visual arguments can be very effective when used correctly. Simple visuals, graphics, and videos can be an easy way to make a point quickly. Furthermore, an appealing visual argument will capture the audience’s attention more so than a strictly written or oral presentation. An audience will be able to connect more to a visual argument because its creativity will often evoke emotion and stir up thoughts.

My claim on higher education accessibility is as American citizens and taxpayers, we should have equal access to post-secondary education that is affordable. It is said that the more educated a person is, the happier they are. This is most likely due to an increase in their standards of living through better job opportunities from the level of education received. Higher education is almost a requirement to living at least comfortably in today’s society. Now, not even an associates or bachelors degree is enough; one must obtain a masters or doctorates degree for certain careers in order to be successful. However, tuition prices and fees are rapidly increasing. These days, students are graduating college with not only a degree, but also substantial amount of debt. With a declining economy, increasing tuition, and tempting credit cards, it is hard for students not to fall deep into debt. Many people cannot afford college from the start, and most students are forced to take out high interest loans to pay for school.

I had a tough time searching for visual arguments based on my topic. I found plenty of visuals on student debt and others on rising tuition, but hardly any arguments specific to my thesis. It took me long enough, but I finally found a visual argument that I think suits my topic well. It is very simple, yet straight to the point. The student in the hot air balloon is trying to reach his diploma, but the heavy bags of money in the basket with him are holding him down as the diploma moves higher. If he ever wants to have a chance of obtaining the degree, he must throw the money out of the basket to allow the hot air balloon to go higher. In short, the argument this cartoon is making is college tuition is continually rising, and the only way we have a chance at earning a degree is by spending more money.

In response to the above argument, I tried to create a visual argument of my own. Keeping my topic in mind, I wanted to create a cartoon that represented the fact that rising tuition is keeping many potential students from attending college. I think my visual speaks for itself; however a simple explanation would be the wind (college tuition) is blowing away the balloon (education), and the many reaching hands signifies all those who are being held back from an education because of tuition costs, while the single hand symbolizes the few people that are able to afford the rising costs. (I used and edited several different images found on to put together my visual.)

Additionally, finding a video was just as hard. Most of the videos I came across were just people saying how much debt they were going to be in a few years after school. I finally came across a video of an interview of University of Pennsylvania professor Adolph Reed. While the information in the video is merely his opinion, it supports my view on equal access to higher education. Reed argues that post-secondary education should be free for all those that are interested in attending, and he thinks the government should take care of all the funding. While the idea of free higher education sounds amazing, I do not think our society is ready for it. Many people would abuse the free ride, while others would have a problem with the increase inn taxes.

Just to throw it out there, I found another video that I found amusing, but it was from students in Canada, which is why I didn’t use it. As a response to an increase in tuition, students organized a funeral for “Affordable Education.”

1 comment:

vandinem said...

Hey! Glad you liked my hot air balloon cartoon. It's 30 years old (was published in Penn State's 'Daily Collegian') but the problem persists. And I was getting in-state tuition ... when you think that gifted kids, simply because of economic disadvantage, will never get a fair shot at a top quality school, it doesn't take long to realize that we all lose that one.