Visual Argument Essay





Visual Argument Essay

‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is a famous statement, and one that is very true. An image can be used to deliver an intended message without the need for any words. Pictures are quite powerful because they can convey emotions and give the viewer an actual feel of a situation rather than just describing it. For example, if a person were to describe a victim severely injured in a car crash, it would have less impact than an image of the same. Pictures employ pathos, ethos, and logos in order to persuade the reader to take a specific stance or action. Disasters are an example of situations where images are more powerful than words. In 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti destroying homes and lives, leaving millions homeless, hopeless, and hungry. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) used powerful images that utilized ethos, pathos, and logos to mobilize aid and donations to Haiti.

The image shows the destruction in the wake of the earthquake, and the focus is on the little girl. The girl is staring off into the distance with rubble and debris behind her. The image elicits an emotional reaction for the viewer because the girl has lost her home and probably her family. Pathos is evident in this case because the viewer will feel sorry for the girl (Wróbel 412), it is clear that she is suffering and there is little hope. Some of the questions that a person would ask after looking at this picture include, where is her family? Has she eaten any food? Where will she sleep? All these elicit pity and will convince the viewer to make a donation to UNICEF, which will help the girl to get her life back. At that particular moment, she has nothing in the world, and no human being would want to imagine a child suffering like that.

Logos is the use of facts and figures to convey an intended message (Wróbel 419). The caption accompanying the image explained that in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, 90% of schools were destroyed, and children could not get an education. In addition to this, 230,000 people were killed, and over 2000000 displaced from their homes. With forty percent of Haiti’s population under the age of fourteen, children were clearly the most affected in the earthquake (Sanderson et al. 35). From the loss of homes and schools to the loss of loved ones, UNICEF showed up to give any assistance that the children would need to cope with the disaster. On hearing this explanation of the important work that UNICEF does, many people would be motivated to make a donation and be a part of the efforts to save Haiti’s children.

The ethos in the image is that it is from UNICEF, a reputable organization that fights for the rights and freedoms of children all over the world. UNICEF has offices in 190 countries around the globe, showing that it is committed to children’s issues, especially in areas affected by war, famine, terrorism, epidemics, and other natural disasters (Sanderson et al. 39). People can be sure that the donations they make will reach Haiti and make a difference in the lives of the children, given the extensive logistical networks that UNICEF has in many countries.

In conclusion, pathos, ethos, and logos are a vital part of making an argument using an image. The image that UNICEF used to ask people to donate towards the recovery efforts in Haiti was an effective one because it employed these techniques. After looking at the picture, many people made donations to the reputable organization because it elicited an emotional reaction, and the donations would benefit millions in Haiti.

Works Cited

Sanderson, Rebecca Cornelli, et al. “Building resilience in children and their communities following disaster in a developing country: responding to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.” Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma 9.1 (2016): 31-41.

Wróbel, Szymon. “Logos, Ethos, Pathos. Classical Rhetoric Revisited.” Polish Sociological Review 191.3 (2015): 401-421.