Visual Rhetoric – Mhmokaysure

0:00 – 0:03

The video begins with the scene taking place in a dark hallway of a seemingly normal house. The light in the hallway is turned off, making it so that only the silhouette of a person is seen. By looking at the height of the silhouette compared to the ceiling and door frames, we can see that it appears to be a young boy with curly hair atop his head, with a shorter cut on the sides, typical with today’s more fashionable hair cuts. The camera follows the boy, who appears to emphasize every step swaying from side to side as he walks, approaching an intersection in the hallway with a room in front of him and on the right side. There is light coming from whatever room is on the right. The room ahead of him however contains a window near the ceiling, letting in a little light from the outside. The window however now makes it appear as if the boy is in the basement, with the window being near the ceiling. The lack of sunlight coming through the window sets a gloomy tone, as if it was either turning dark, or it was a cloudy day. As the boy approaches the intersection in the hallway, he ominously turns his head towards the left, as if turning to look behind him, however the scene abruptly changes. The ominously slow pace of this scene, along with the darkness and silhouette applies 

0:03 – 0:04

The abrupt cut switches to the camera aiming down at a young girl laying down on the hardwood floor, atop what appears to be a green patterned rug. She appears to be wearing pajama pants and a winter themed sweater. As the camera pans from left to right, she kicks one foot carelessly on the ground, appearing to be very comfortably occupied with something. As the camera pans however, it becomes visible that there is a height difference between what she is laying on, and the wood floor, leaving one to believe it is a bed instead, and the green pattern is instead a quilt.

0:054 – 0:08

As the scene switches, we now see a third child standing atop a chair on their tippy toes rummaging through a wardrobe. Struggling to reach the top shelf, the child appears to be a girl due to the pink socks they are wearing. The room is clearly not her own, as the floor is covered by an ornate rug, along with multiple plants being in the room. Once again, the scene appears to be out of the ordinary, as there is no one else present, with the girl appearing to be looking through something she shouldn’t be, having pulled up a chair that does not fit the decoration of the room to reach the top of the wardrobe.

0:08 – 0:10

The scene then switches to the second character we saw, the young girl in the pajamas and winter sweater. She jumps down from the bed to reveal that there is another young child with her, a boy who appears to be a similar age, wearing a sweater and a hat confirming that the scene is taking place during the cold months of the year. In the scene he is kneeling on the ground looking up at the girl who jumped down from the bed. His body appears relaxed as he is slightly slouching, appearing to be possibly bored. 

0:10 – 0:12

Next we see the original boy, who appears to have reached the far room as it is now dark. It appears that he is in fact in a basement, as the room is filled with shelves containing packed away boxes with random items. He is also on a chair reaching for something on a taller shelf, and has placed a flashlight behind him to help see. It once again appears to be a young child looking through something they should not be looking for, due to the lack of presence of an adult, or anyone else in the vicinity. The scene does not however show what is on the top shelf that he is reaching for, instead the frame covers mostly what is behind him, as if focusing on the fact that the room is cluttered, along with the flashlight placed behind him.

0:12 – 0:15

The scene abruptly cuts to the last girl we saw, the one who was standing on top of a chair rummaging through a wardrobe. As she is reaching around, the contents of the top shelf fall, while she takes a quick step back on the chair to avoid it from hitting her. As the items fall, we see an assortment of books, old clothing and board games. The items however fall in such a way that they reveal that a pistol has also fallen from the top shelf. Being in the center of the fallen items, it is clearly intentional, confirming that the child had been looking through somewhere she was not supposed to. The gun is clearly the center of attention in this scene, being positioned in such a way that the barrel faces the camera, once again reaching the emotion of the viewer, a clear appeal to the pathos of the scene.


This scene is brief, however we now see the young girl and boy wearing winter clothing army crawl under the bed as the camera pans from right to left. The scene however starts with them already being under the bed, showing their feet as they crawl further underneath.

0:16 – 0:18

We now see the boy from the first scene, having found something on the shelves he was previously looking through. He is now in the bathroom with an object wrapped in a towel, which for a split second reveals the barrel of a gun. He is unwrapping the gun in this scene, however it does not clearly show that it is a firearm. His reflection appears in the mirror, showing that he is smiling carelessly while doing so, showing that he appears to be unaware of what is inside. The camera briefly showing the barrel of the gun once again applies to pathos, as the viewer of the scene sees something the boy does not, triggering emotion.

0:18 – 0:22

We now for the first time see the face of the third girl, as she has gotten down from the chair she was standing on. She is now on her knees on the floor, attempting to quickly clean up the mess she had caused, almost in an attempt to cover up the fact that she was going through the wardrobe in the first place. While lifting the board game, she suddenly freezes while looking back down at the ground, as for the first time she notices the gun that had fallen out along with the other items. The camera then swiftly changes from showing her and the room, to an intense zoom on just the gun itself, panning from left to right.

0:22 – 0:23

We now see the two young children in the winter clothing. They had pulled out boxes that were under the bed and are now wearing hats, while the floor is cluttered with old clothes and another board game. The young boy is once again kneeling, only this time his hands are together almost as if in prayer. The girl is putting a hat on his head, however all of the attention of the scene is focused on the large rifle that they had also pulled out from underneath. Seemingly oblivious however, they continue with their game of dressup. 

0:23 – 0:24

The last scene returns to the original boy, who is still located in the bathroom. This time however, the camera is in front of him revealing his face, however the view is cut off at the waist. He is looking down holding something, and we see a swift movement as he appears to cock back a gun that is not visible. As soon as he does so, he looks up, appearing frightened as if he had just been caught. The abrupt ending and transition to a black screen creates uncertainty and fear in the viewer, once again focusing on pathos.

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1 Response to Visual Rhetoric – Mhmokaysure

  1. davidbdale says:

    This is very fine work for a first draft, Mhm. I’m particularly glad you didn’t provide a link to the original, preventing me from peeking at the subject matter to verify or contradict what you’re reporting. You’ve done a good job of representing the details of the scene enough so that I can visualize them fairly well, and you’ve indicated a few times that the “authors” of the piece, let’s call her the director, were trying to evoke pathos.

    But that’s not an adequate explanation of the INTENTION of the director. Maybe the intentions aren’t always clear (You’re allowed to critique the director if you think she didn’t do her job very well.) Maybe her intentions are deliberately ambiguous (forcing us to impose our own interpretations on the scene). Either way (or if her intentions are only too clear!), your job is to report WHY you believe she made the choices she made.

    For example, were the kids in the scenes LOOKING FOR firearms? When they found them, did they react with alarm, with joy, with fear, with nonchalance? What do we learn, if anything, about the households in which they are being raised? You don’t mention ammunition. Is there any indication that the weapons are loaded or could be loaded? Do you have any sense that they’re part of an arsenal, or the only gun in the house, or that they were stored well or sloppily? You don’t mention on-screen text. Was a printed message part of the presentation? If so, did the visuals support the message well?

    I’m asking only questions that occur to me on a first reading. There may be many more that occur to you as you read mine. I look forward to your revision, which you can place, if you like, in a post called “Visual Rewrite—mumokaysure” and placed in the Visual Rewrite category.


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