Visual Rhetoric- PardonmyFrench


In the first second of the video you see a beaten-up van pull into the driveway. The van is blue, has a tree through the back window, broken taillights, a mirror that is falling off, multiple dents and many scratches throughout the whole body.  The house the van is pulling into is a dark brown home, with white shutters. It seems as though it has been taken well care of by the looks of the fresh cut lawn and the flowers in planter boxes. We also see a woman standing in the front lawn with a watering can, watering a flowerpot. The trees are bare and there is wreath hanging outside telling viewers its late fall and could be around the holidays. As the van pulls in farther the woman looks up, implying she must know the person pulling in. So far, we cannot get a feel what the intended message is or what it is appealing to but it could ethos to build trust with the audience that this is a normal household.


During this scene when the van has finally pulled into the driveway and parked, a woman with dark hair steps out. Now we can see the front of the van as well and it looks like it has been into a bad accident due to the hood of the car being bent upward and barley holding on. As the girl steps out of the car we cannot see her face, only her grey boots stepping down onto the concrete driveway and jean jacket. The blonde woman who was once watering the flowerpot has her back to the camera facing the dark-haired young woman.


In this scene we see the blonde woman is a little older, you can tell by her the wrinkles in her face. She stands with one hand on her hip which could be intended to show she is annoyed. Again, we know it is winter since she is wearing two warm fuzzy jackets. The blonde older woman looks at the brunette younger woman (who could very well be her daughter based on the age gap) as if she has something important to say.


The camera pans back to the brunette who then gets out of the car letting the door slam fast and hard. The blonde woman stays facing her and raises a hand as if she is saying something to her. At this point the brunette girl faces her and stops in her tracks looking concerned by the way her eyebrows are raised. The shot zooms all the way closer on the brunette girl, who we are for sure now assuming is the daughter based on all the body language. She points to a scratch on the car and shakes her head back and forth as if she is saying no to whatever question was asked about the scratch. Now that the audience has seen both people, you can see the clothes they are dressed in is modern and new, along with their hair and makeup being kept up. From this we can gather they are a pretty average suburban family. The only thing that still doesn’t make sense is why they would own such a trashed, beat up car. This would appeal to pathos because it is a middle-class American family that looks relatable.


The camera flips back over to the blonde mother figure who still holds her hand on her hip. She has a look of disappointment with a slight frown in her eyes and lips. She appears to be asking another question. The background is blurred out, so we know the focus is supposed to be solely on her and what she is saying.


The camera then flips again back over to the brunette daughter. She is still pointing at the scratch on the blue car, this time though she starts to move back and forth in place like she is contemplating something. When she responds to the question she looks back at her mother and then places her eyes toward the ground which gives off a look of disappointment. The creators purpose could have been pathos in order to bring emotion to the scene.


As this scene starts, the camera angle switches to the front of the vehicle. You can see a white tractor looking vehicle, with a bucket on the front of it heading toward the van. You cannot make out who is inside the tractor or why it is headed toward the van. Then at the end of the clip, the tractor hits the van with enough force to knock a part of the bumper off and send it flying onto the ground.


In this short second of a scene we see the blonde mother figure jump back from the driveway she is facing. She holds her hand to her chest as though she is startled with her mouth gasping open. She also has a wedding ring on her finger telling us she is married. We also have a better picture of the yard showing us how the leaves have all been raked which could conclude a male figure might have been helping her out. This was also intended to show pathos for vivid language and emotions.


During this scene the man in the work tractor pushes the door open with his left hand. In his right hand it is revealed he has a cell phone in it. As the door opens you can see he looks unphased by the accident that just occurred when he crashed into the van. The man continues to sit in the tractor and text on his phone. The tractor is very dirty as though it is used often. Soon after he completes texting on his phone the camera shows him look toward the young brunette girl and smile. The young girl has her arms crossed and replies to him as in an annoyed stance. Again, the man says something to the girl, and we can see he is wearing a construction outfit. From this angle we can also see that the entire front bumper has fallen onto the driveway. In the background their appears to be a shop of other cars and work vehicles, this could imply across the street is some sort of workshop. The creator most likely intended to put a message of pathos again in order to show the relationship and energy between the two in the scene.


A close up zoom in of the young daughter’s face shows her role her eyes and laugh to whatever the older man said. You then see her pick up her right hand which has a phone in it and laugh. She starts to stare at the screen and type.


The camera flashes back to the older man in the tractor. He is smiling ear to ear and also wearing a wedding ring, so its safe to assume he is the father. The man continues to smile and grip onto his phone and then begin typing again as if the event never even happened. Seems like these events occur often based on their body language and could explain why the van is so banged up. This could be the logos part of the add which gives reason to why the vehicle looks the way it does and creates a solid comparison.


The words “Distracted Driving is No Joke” appear on a black screen. The font is solid and has an effect the brings it closer and closer to the viewer.


The black screen then changes to display a “STOPTEXTSSTOPWRECKS.ORG” website. It also contains the name of a project and couple ad agency’s that worked on the piece. This concludes the ad and wraps it up. The director put this slide in to get the message across and used ethos to do so by citing sources and creating branding.

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1 Response to Visual Rhetoric- PardonmyFrench

  1. davidbdale says:

    This is solid work and a strong first draft, PardonMyFrench. I think you may have missed the humor of the portrayal of this family that shows no remorse at all about the many driving accidents in which they are involved. It’s not immediately obvious from the van pulling in to the driveway, perhaps, but a girl who drives a car with branches still protruding from the back hatch window, where she probably backed into some shrubbery, and who shrugs off the latest dent in the car could easily be an object of fun.

    I would also suggest that the scene could have been filmed in the spring, when the trees would have been full, the grass green, the window boxes filled with flowers, and the flower pot Mom is watering might actually boast something other than dead grass. Does it not seem odd that she’s bothering to water a plant that appears to be dead? Tiny details of the house and yard continue to send the subtle impression that the directors wanted to show a place that was NOT in the best repair. You seem to refer to the scene often as evoking Pathos. Maybe that’s what you mean.

    By the time Dad knocks the bumper off the van, it should be clear these are the Goofuses. Mr. Goofus is just as oblivious to the danger of texting while driving as his daughter is. Mrs. Goofus is the long-suffering spouse who has to put up with their silliness.

    At least that’s how it reads to me. I hope this will help with your Rewrite.


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