A comic of two small children playing with toy blocks in black and white. The caption reads: "What do you want to be when you give up?"

Project 2 Proposal/In Class Writing 9/30/15

“What do you want to be when you give up” by Joe Dator is a comic that speaks directly to younger generations; calling to mind the common ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’, but switching the tone and creating a message far more bleak. The comic is not only timely, it also uses a powerful image, idea, and sentence to deliver a multimodal work of influence.
The comic originally appeared in the New Yorker and was created by cartoonist Joe Dator. Dator’s work often features on the site and he combines satire with social commentary in many of his comic panels. Knowing this, one can identify the influence of the piece being largely a work related to U.S. citizens, particularly young professionals who are reading the newssource. Dator’s purpose for this artifact was calling to mind a large societal problem in the U.S. (the collapse of the American Dream as we know it), and delivering the idea in as small and poignant a way as possible. The image and sentence are the distillation of an entire group of young people’s angst at not being able to follow their dreams and being forced to settle.  The primary audiences pieces young adults reading The New Yorker as they are the ones most intimately affected by the current socio-economic climate. This is not the only audience however, the comic also reaches anyone in the New Yorker’s readership this means any age or position in the workforce.The artifact uses a simple black and white color palette in combination with semi-detailed  cartoonist children provide both the level of realism and levity.  understanding these images in tandem with the sentence allows one to ascertain the meaning of the multimodal artifact. Because this medium emphasizes humor, the issue (which is very dark)  is delivered anymore easily digestible way. This piece appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos  because it interacts with the ideas of socioeconomic prosperity (Logos) and youth and innocence (Ethos/Pathos).


What do you Want to be When you Give Up? by Joe Dator

Part 2: In Class Writing Assignment

I think the most important aspects of my piece are also the most blatant which is why I have chosen to use it. A single panel comic with a 10-word sentence does not leave a massive amount of content to cover. Rather, the smaller amount of content appeals directly to an audience. The delivery of the piece is instant and the message is clear. The collapse of the American Dream (one of the largest/most deeply held beliefs about our nation) is massive, and this social commentary encapsulates all the feeling associated with that. For my actual rhetorical analysis I look to first analyze the sentence as the major appeal to both logos and pathos. I then look to expand this concepts with the addition of the picture as being a supplemental appeal to the pathos appeal. Furthermore, the piece fits well under the kairos umbrella based on the audience (young professionals) I think are being targeted here. In addition to these prominent figures I feel as though every line is a deliberate choice and I look forward to delving into the connotations behind the room, toys, etc. Because the work is a comic I can also discuss arrangement, style, and design relatively easily in tandem with the rest of my works.

My thesis could look like this: “What do you want to be when you give up” by Joe Dator discusses the collapse of the American Dream as an evolution occurring in tandem with younger generations based on its rhetorical appeals, the connotation surrounding the image, and the style and arrangement of the work which helps communicate this to a young New Yorker readership.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s