The Great Depression And The American South Essay Example


The Greatest Generation is the term used for describing Americans born in the period between 1901 and 1925. The population survived the Great Depression of the 30s and would later go into war during World War II. According to journalist Tom Brokaw, the generation could be characterized by the increased unity and willpower to strive for the good of humanity, as exemplified not only by military men but also everyone else who stayed at home and supported the war with their efforts.

However, the generation has not always been viewed favorably in the public eye. The so-called “Greatest Generation” has been criticized similarly to the way in which many have currently approached Generation Y. Therefore, the rhetoric used to explore the topic that is concerned with the Greatest Generation can be varied, and for the purpose of the current exploration, the essay “The Greatest Generation: The Great Depression and the American South” by Jeffrey DeRoven will be analyzed. Pathos, logos, and ethos are the rhetoric methods used in the essay to persuade the audience that their struggles rather than accomplishments define generations.

Rhetoric Analysis

The rhetoric analysis is concerned with the way in which an author uses and manipulated language to persuade the pre-defined target audience of the text in question. Once there is an understanding of the rhetorical situation that enabled the creation of a text, such as why it was written, for whom, what were the constraints and limitations, and what were the considerations of freedom of expression.

The core system of rhetorical appeals included ethos, pathos, and logos which date back to the times of Aristotle. In order to be rhetorically effective, the author of the text is expected to engage the audience in different compelling ways, which is concerned with carefully choosing how an argument should be crafted to ensure an agreement between the outcome, the argument, and the audience. The three modes of engagement are defined by their influence on the content as well as the use of information as related to the tactics of persuasion.

Examples of Logos

The first rhetoric appeal to be explored in relation to “The Greatest Generation: The Great Depression and the American South” is logos, which is described as the appeal to logic. Thus, when DeRoven uses logos in his text, he uses logic, careful structures, and objective evidence to appeal to the audience. The ways in which the appeal to reason is to achieve can be varied, ranging from offering accurate and unbiased data on the issue at hand to providing a thorough explanations of the arguments being laid out.

In the essay, there are several types of logical appeals that are being used to support the main argument – the Greatest Generation was called “the greatest” not because of what it had accomplished but for what it had endured. Exemplification is used by offering different examples and a variety of evidence to show how hard life was for the population of the American South, which was struggling the most during the Great Depression.

For example, the author offers evidence of the South lagging behind in such areas of development as poor education because of its high costs and the lowering of educational standards because of school overcrowding. In addition, cause and effect thinking is present in this example as the author suggests that the lack of education in the region caused the economic decline and the inability of the South to sustain itself effectively. Therefore, without proper education, the young people of the American South entered the workforce inadequately prepared for the array of challenges before them.

Examples of Pathos

The second rhetorical appeal used in the essay is pathos, which signifies the appeal to emotion. When an author of a text relies on pathos, they are attempting to tap into the feelings of their audience to make it agree with the claim that the South was highly challenged by the coming of the Great Depression. Pathetic appeals are implemented when an author wants the audience to feel something, whether it will be rage, anger, joy, or happiness. Therefore, such a strategy encourages audiences to open up to the topic being explored. Emotions can make audiences feel vulnerable, and the author implements such vulnerability to make the audience believe that the argument being made is compelling and worth considering.

The example of pathos in use in the essay is the emotion-laden vocabulary and expressive descriptions. The author uses such language as “hampered by low wages,” and “lacked the resources to compete against the vast industrial strength,” which is intended to signify the inability of the South to stand independently within the general national background. The sharing of vivid language and direct speech from various sources is another way in which the author aims to evoke emotion from the audience.

Quoting the National Emergency Council report, the author uses the following language “penalized for being rural and handicapped […] life of the South has been squeezed […] does not provide an adequate market” (DeRoven). All of the excerpts have emotionally-colored language used for describing the challenges that the population of the South had endured. The vivid word choice was intended to invoke sympathy from the readers and allow them to understand what the generation of their ancestors has undergone.

The sharing of personal stories is a stand-out pathos method that can be traced throughout the entire essay. For example, the author included the account of Rita Beline who remembers life in the South being challenging as no one could make enough money to sustain a comfortable living. June Athlete’s direct speech was also included as the woman stated that the majority of people had to live off home-grown produce and meat to buy as few essentials as possible. Reading about the real life of actual people who survived in the South gets the target audience closer to the issue being discussed, which is an effective rhetorical technique.

Examples of Ethos

The final appeal used in the essay is ethos, which is characterized by references to the values of the audience as well as authorial character and credibility. From one perspective, when an ethical appeal is used by the author, they make an attempt to tap into the values and ideologies of the audience, which are tradition, equality, human dignity, patriotism, tradition, and many others. Even though such values can often align with the audience’s emotions, the appeal to ethics is closer on a social level rather than on a personal level. In most instances, ethos is closely associated with trust, which means that the author has to ensure that their audience trusts their opinions and statements by recognizing that they are a credible individual who shares the same values.

The examples of ethos used in the essay include the appeal to the values of patriotism and equality that are considered to be essential American characteristics. Throughout the entire essay, the author mentions the importance of increasing the support for the South to improve its socioeconomic situation and raise it to the level of the nation. Considering the fact that the South struggled from low wages and severely decreased purchasing power even though the workers were overloaded with labor, the government had to ‘step up’ and offer solutions. At the heart of patriotism is the idea that all citizens of America should have equal rights and opportunities, and the experiences through which the population of the South had endured is highly important to appeal to patriotism.


Considering the increased appeal to logic and historical examples, the essay does not include logical fallacies. The fallacies are defined as common mistakes or errors that can undermine the logic of the argument that is being made. For instance, these can include irrelevant points or illegitimate arguments that have no basis in evidence. The author does not allow for faulty causalities or analogies, nor does the evidence being offered is stacked.

On the contrary, the author offers enough evidence from reputable sources while also including discussions about the experiences of real people who have experienced life in the South during one of the most complicated times in history. The essay is effective for showing that it is the struggles rather than accomplishments that define a certain generation.

Work Cited

DeRoven, Jeffrey. “The Greatest Generation: The Great Depression and the American South.” Etude and Techne, 2001.

The Conflict Between Russia And Chechnya


Russia which was formerly the Soviet Union (USSR) was a constituent of several republics which included Chechnya. Russia has continued to express its interest on controlling Chechnya owing to the control Chechnya has on its rich mineral land that’s famous for oil deposits and other valuable minerals like sulphur and natural gas among others. Russia has been interested in keeping Chechnya under its rule for its interests in accessing the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea as well as the nations bordering it to the south like Georgia. For a long time now, a sour relationship has existed between Chechnya and the larger power Russia.

The conflict between Russia and Chechnya has existed for centuries now. Dating from as far back as 1783 when Georgia which was Islamist nation joined hands with Moscow and launched an attack on Chechens who were primarily Muslims leading to a war that lasted for 47 years up to1864. The Soviet rule took over the territories and established a combined Chechnya and Ingushetia resulting in formation of Chechen-Ingushetia. The Chechens still continued with their fight for autonomy leading to maintained pressure on Russia. After many years of tension between Russians and Chechens, the residents of Chechnya stood up against the Soviet rule. The Russian leader during World War II, Josef Stalin, forced all the Chechens out of Chechnya into neighboring Kazakhstan and Siberia after claiming deaths of a third of the population for claims that they collaborated with the Nazis in the war. This led to disbanding of the Chechen-Ingushetia and up until 1956 the Chechens lived in exile but were allowed back to their native land and the territory was again known as Chechnya. Russia still continued applying its rule on Chechnya and further proceeded to make Russian language a must learn for every one in Russia.

Dunlop in his book notes that upon settling back years later, they still wanted to be autonomous and this quest was even further fueled by the failing of the USSR and eventually led to the war in the years of 1994 and 1995 which is now referred to as the first Chechen war. In 1991, the Soviet Union officially disintegrated leading to 14 states being declared fully autonomous. Chechnya took this chance to go ahead and claim full independence, an issue that did not go down very well with Boris Yeltsin. Dzhokhar Dudayev led the Chechen National Congress to claim independence from Russia. Boris Yeltsin seemed to beg with this declaration and claimed that Chechnya was still under Soviet rule citing that they still owe allegiance to the Soviet constitution and the fact that Chechnya was rich in oil deposits and therefore cutting itself from Russia was a big blow to the economy. A war therefore ensued when the Russian military was deployed in the mountainous Chechnya to try and stop Chechnya from separating itself fro the Russian states. Despite the many number of troops deployed in the fighting as well the sophisticated weapons used by the Russians, Chechens guerilla war proved too strong for them. The war saw the capital Gonzy brought down to ruins in addition to scores thousands of dead civilians. The Chechens proved too strong for the Russians and President Boris Yeltsin withdrew the troops in year 1996 and agreed to sign a treaty. The devastating effects of the war were felt by both the Russians and Chechens is seen by the number of casualties whish totaled to not less than 50,000 people. After Russia retreated to a ceasefire, Chechnya was not done on considering themselves an independent territory. In a bid to reestablish them, they elected Aslan Maskskhadov as the new leader and then they changed the name of the capital from Grozny to Chechen Djohar. The failure to obey the Russian law continued throughout.

In 1999, some apartments in Russia were bombed as well as bombing in other city states in Russia like Moscow and the invasion of Dagestan. Russia proceeded to launch military attacks on Chechnya laying claims of terrorist attacks on them. This was the famous War in the North Caucasus. Compared to the first Chechen war, the Russian troops were much better organized and hence the attacks enabled them recapture of the Chechnya city state. Even as Russians continued with military attacks, Chechens continued with their guerilla attacks this time taking Russians hostages in a theater. In a rare move, the Russians decided not to engage in negotiating for the release of the hostages but instead set ablaze the building killing around 130 hostages but in the process causing the death of the Chechen terrorists. This war led to a weakened Chechnya and resulted in Russia taking back the control of Chechnya and establishing federal control over the Chechens. However the rebels retracted to the mountains and therefore fighting did not actually fully end. This war saw one of the biggest abuses of extra judicial killings as characterized by the actions of Russian Troops murdering Chechens. This prompted the United Nations to send rapperteurs to investigate cases of human rights abuse. The rebels still continued to make attacks and hence fighting never completely ended until recently.

Causes of the War

The exact sources of the conflict are said to be complex and date to as far back as the 19th century during a period which Russia extended its rule to the Caucasus. The Chechens never at any particular time embraced the Russian rule but instead maintained protests that culminated in various wars although triggered by specific causes.

The main cause of the first Chechnya war of 1994 is linked to the declaration of autonomy of Chechnya led by Dzhokar Dudayev from Russian rule. Following the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, Dzhokar Dudayev declared that Chechnya was a free republic, a statement that led to attempts to overthrow his government by rebels during the years of civil war in the region. Russia recognized the increasing unrest in the city state of Chechnya following massive corruption, drug smuggling and crime of international nature. It was for this reason that Russia backed the military in attempts to overthrow the then president. The attacks finally happened in December 1994 when Russia started the Chechnya capital of Grozny in an attempt to regain control over Chechnya. Chechnya’s guerilla tricks were enough to resist the Russian rule.

The second Chechnya war of 1999 has attributed to Responding to terrorism attacks by Chechnya on Russian city states. As of the year 1999, several bombings were experienced in various Russian city states including the apartments that were bombed in Moscow. Russia went ahead to link every aspect of these terrorism attacks on the activities of Chechnya. President Putin ordered Russian troops into the separatist Chechnya. This time they were organized and were able to restore Russian federal control.

Apart from the political explanations for the conflict between Russia and Chechnya, there also exists an elaborate reason that the source could also be as a result of religious roots of the people in the two regions. Among the millions of Muslims who from the population of the Soviet Union, there exist seven million different Muslims who spoke different languages and belong to different ethnical backgrounds. Two of categorizations are Tatars and Chechens. These two sit on lands rich in oil reserves and hence Russians special interest in them. Another cause of Russia’s interest in the two is the fact that after declaration of independence of various city states following the collapse of USSR, only these two were against the application of Russian rule as outlined in the treaty. Russia maintained threats especially on Chechens that eventually boiled up to an invasion in 1994.

There have been explanations to the cause of the conflict that emphasize that it was as a result of “greed” and “grievances”. A look at the events in the history of the two (Russia and Chechnya) it is clear that Russia is specifically motivated to enter a war by greed. It is also true to say that the Chechens are spurred by their quest for honoring of their grievances. From as early as the 18th century, Chechens fought Russians with the aim of protecting their Islamic religion, which they upheld as the guide in their life. Chechens have faced a lot in the hands of the Russians from being exiled to the wars that have left many of them dead and displacing others. Russians on their side have resulted into forcing the Chechens to have a grievance that they advocate for and fight for it every single time. In response to these frustrations, Chechens use techniques such a as bombings, hostage taking in a bid to earn their independence. Greed and grievances argument is a logical way of explaining the motivations of each side of the conflict. Russians economic greed is their major cause for them to want to conquer Chechnya which is rich in oil reserves. On the other hand, Chechens have constantly been at logger heads with Russians as they try to establish their own rule away from the Russian rule.

The Situation Today

There has been continued heavy presence of troops allied to Russia in Chechnya up to today. They however continue to be withdrawn as time passes. Statistics show that about 8,000 pro-Moscow allied individuals still existed in Chechnya by 2007. Very few separatists are said to still be active in the resistance for Russian rule today, with Russian government pointing out that there are only less than one thousand in Chechnya today. Following the fleeing of anti-Russia rule Chechens into the Caucasus Mountains, there are still minimal incidents of fighting around there but these have kept on check by the Russian government as well s pro-Moscow government. According to “BBC News”, the separatist’s movement has today weakened significantly following the death of many of their leaders. Following the terrorism attacks of September 11, 2001 in the US that also changed the way Russia dealt with bombing attacks by Chechens who wanted autonomy branding them terrorists, the war against those calling for independence has been looked at as having links to terrorism and there fore those advocating for it have since kept a low profile. Several incidents of attacks have however been reported, mostly carried out inform of guerilla warfare with the rebels now relocating to neighboring territories. The war has aver the years been said to have come to an end with the Russian government making a statement that the conflict officially ended in the year 2002 in April and the events that have been reported of late are purely peacekeeping. Remaining separatists maintain however that the war is not concluded yet and as a result they cite the fighting that has continually rocked the northern part of Caucasus. Accurate accounts of the Chechnya situation are difficult to state following the Russian government control of the information reaching the media. Many camps today seem to echo the words that the situation in Chechnya is under control. Following meetings between the Russian president and the Director of Federal Security Service, discussions concerning the laws on combating terrorism have been discussed. The result was the abolishing of the counter-terrorism operation which took effect as from April 2009. “Now the Chechen Republic… is a peaceful, developing territory, and canceling the counter-terrorism operation will only promote economic growth in the republic,” (“BBC News” 3)

Concerning the relationship between Chechnya and Russia, the feeling of wanting to run independently from Russia has now faded. Chechnya is today a territory of Russia and is run under the federal government of Russia. The Russian government has today made positive efforts to restore a normal state and progress has been reported concerning establishment of an effective judicial system that is line with the Russian laws.

In conclusion, the Russia and Chechnya conflict reported some of the worst cases of human rights abuse including sexual abuses, killings and torture. Human rights observers say that one step to restoring decades of injustices is to settle these cases of human rights abuse. Although many people and mostly the leaders claim the situation has calm down, there still military attacks though at a very low level. The change in the world’s political sphere has also shaped the situation mostly on the war on terrorism.

Works Cited

“BBC News” Russia Ends Chechnya Operation. 2009.

Dunlop, John, B. Russia Confronts Chechnya: Roots of a Separatist Conflict. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Melloni, Nicola. The Russia’s Chechen War: The Political Causes of Russia’s War in Chechnya. 2007.

Cosmetic Surgery Advertising: Multimodal Analysis


This study documents the multimodal analysis of cosmetic surgery advertisements in British clinics. Specifically, flyers from three clinics have been analysed throughout this study. The analysis has considered the textual and visual elements used to pass the messages to the targeted audience. It describes how advert discourses utilize the ideal female body in the leaflets to increase their profits due to increases in cosmetic surgery. The targeted audience is persuaded with the prevalence of the feminine ideology, which in most cases, start from and continue to be enhanced by consuming cosmetic products and services to meet men’s expectations. Thus, men define what they believe an ideal female body should be equated to, thus pushing them to fit in the social pressure. It is essential to note that women willingly choose to undergo surgeries, which have diverse consequences. However, it is difficult for them to resist the pressure partly because they are influenced by supermodels, whom they consider their ambassadors when it comes to some product consumption and cultural and social acceptance. Thus, the current research reveals that these ideologies can be studied using multimodal realizations, such as through assessing the hidden messages in text, colour, and images.

Multimodal Analysis of Cosmetic Surgery Advertisements

This chapter describes the background of the multimodal analysis of cosmetic surgery advertisement based on the approach given by British Cosmetic clinics, which major in surgery and body transformations. It delves deep into understanding the concept of advertisement and its application in the cosmetic industry. It also enumerates the research aims, which guide this study. The essence of this section, therefore, is to provide an in-depth understanding of the issue under investigation and to achieve the research objective by providing needed responses to the key explorative problems.


The Concept of Advertisement

Advertising refers to the means of communication in which sellers or businesses lure consumers to use the products or services. Product promotion requires the publicity to create a message that focuses on and inspires the targeted market and pays some defined costs to make their promotions reach the intended people (Hidayat et al., 2020). In the current world, advertising is present in almost every corner of human interaction, particularly in social media and other discourses such as magazines, newspapers, journals, radio, press, mail, events, and peer endorsements (McLoughlin, 2017). The advertising industry comprises several categories of people and organizations working to ensure that their leaflets can reach the intended audience and impact it. There are advertising companies, advert creators, media, editors, visualizers, designers, market researchers, and brand managers (Lee & Lau, 2018). The business that wishes to advertise its services or products have to hire advertising agencies with experience and content to make the advert capture the intended market.

The definitions of advertisement adopted for this study focuses on informing and persuading target customers to buy a particular product or service from a specific organization. This is a general approach to understand the concept of product promotion. Apart from persuading the buyers to purchase a certain item, advertising can also help the seller achieve other outcomes. Firstly, according to Jang and Moutinho (2019), promotions help an organization to generate product demand. In this case, the advertising done pulls the goods and services through different distribution channels and noting the business, which does the selling. In essence, the advert made results in increasing customers’ demand for the service, product, or idea. This enables the owner of the business to sell products in large volumes to the targeted audience.

Secondly, advertising acts as a way to preview new trends in the product line or industrial standards. A product, service, or concept snapshot enables the seller to motivate its target consumers to obtain the items sold as they would not need to be left behind in what the world finds fashionable at any specific time (Shareef et al., 2017). Businesses offer coupons, trial offers on the new productions, and rebates to acquire new customers and induce those who already exist to try the new products and services.

Thirdly, advertising helps to provide information to the target customers. This is important, especially when a business, which promotes its products, wishes to decode some misleading information in the market. According to Anshari et al. (2019), by advertising, an organization can supply the necessary information to the target buyers to understand some of the concepts about the product or service and know where products are available and can buy them. Information is critical, especially when a service or product line affects human life, such as cosmetic surgery. The next section describes how advertisements are used in the cosmetic industry to provide information and persuade the targeted audience to buy or use certain products.

Advertising in the Cosmetic Industry

Social media platforms and magazines have various contents, which relate to the cosmetic surgery industry. Beauty attracts users from different parts of the world, and they become targets for the manufacturers and sellers of such products. The beauty industry’s main contents comprise campaign, advertisement or news about launching a new brand (Ringrow, 2016). Simultaneously, advertising options also vary due to the availability of different platforms. Most of them emphasise the image of customers who undergo surgery to become more “perfect” than advantages of certain plastic surgery clinic overall. These options are print, TV, radio and Internet advertising, as well as mall boards.

One can note that radio advertising is the most distant in terms of the images and beauty standards use due to its limitations in their visual presentation. In other words, it is easier for a plastic surgery clinic to describe its advantages through radio advertising, rather than to convey the need for changes through a short verbal message. Nevertheless, this type of advertising has its benefits as it is usually short and catchy. Such audio messages are also often repeated and make the listeners remember them, since they hear them several times during “driving time”, or on the way from home to work and back (Cohen, 2010). Thus, although this type of advertising is not suitable for analysis in this research, it must be considered.

TV advertising has some similarities with radio, but, at the same time, differs in the key ability to spread images. A similar feature is that marketers need to know exactly the demographics of their audience, as well as the time at which the ad is seen and accepted by as many people as possible (Cohen, 2010). Without these elements, even the best commercial is a waste of money. Simultaneously, the advantage of television is that it can broadcast different types of images, such as the results before and after operations, model images of ideal bodies and faces or specialists in the workplace. In other words, TV ads can grab the viewer’s attention in many ways, without focusing only on the “ideals” that people should aspire.

Internet advertising has even more options and advantages as it is not limited by time and format. For example, it can be a photo, video, text message with useful information or call to action, which displays clinics’ services. Simultaneously, the images and messages of advertisements can differ significantly depending on the benefits of clinics, as well as the level of morality and ethics that determines the use of accents. For instance, one clinic may advertise post-trauma rhinoplasty surgery while others focus on women’s sexuality according to typical male-centred beliefs. However, most often existing and emerging businesses use social networks to extend their target markets through advertisements and representations of female bodies to create specific narratives about the products and services they offer (Appel et al., 2020). Nevertheless, since Internet advertising has many options, it is difficult to analyse it from a certain perspective, so conclusions can only be drawn from the systematic analysis.

At the same time, such kinds as print advertising and mall boards are suitable options for analysis as they use the visual images that are limited by one moment and, therefore, usually convey the main trend of plastic surgery advertising. According to Cohen (2010), mall boards are a more effective way to advertise because they are visible due to their size and are located in places of consumers concentration. At the same time, print advertising in magazines is the most common type, which has the same message conveying characteristics, namely a vivid visual image and short text message (Cohen, 2010). Consequently, the analysis of print advertising in magazines is most relevant, since it summarises the most common trend in drawing attention to plastic surgery. The main argument for confirming this idea is that print advertising is an effective way of sending the message through visual imagery that also has its limitations, which forces marketers to choose accents.

Cosmetic surgery focuses on enhancing appearance through medical and surgical techniques, and it can be applied to all areas, from head to toe. Even though this invasive physical practice is risky and painful, people are still willing to take this risk and suffer the pain. It is because they desire to modify their body and achieve the dream of a perfect body. The questions are, why do people need to be perfect, and what does “perfect” mean in their interpretations?

When browsing social networking sites, reading magazines, and watching television, it is unavoidable to be bombarded with zillion female images, mainly young girls with skinny bodies, flawless skin, beautiful faces, or luxurious backgrounds. The television makeover programs, testimonials in beauty magazines, and advertising posters are all highly promoting cosmetic surgery, and social media even directly advocate the “fake perfection”. Under this circumstance, women feel guilty about every flaw and imperfection on their bodies and arouse a sense of inferiority that they are born to be changed on physical aspects (Brooks, 2017). This circumstance implies that the advertising and media overemphasize the importance of female physical attractiveness in different relationships, create the beauty canon, and naturalize the objectivizing female body’s ideology. Unlike other discourses, cosmetic surgery advertising produces and promotes the ideologies and utilizes them to achieve its economic goals. Under this circumstance, it is crucial to explore how persuasion can be achieved and what underlying ideologies and influential values in the advertisements promote mainstream thoughts. More importantly, it is critical to investigate how influence denaturalises the veiled ideologies and values.

Lirola (2009) revealed the gender inequalities and gender violence through the analysis of the advertisements. It stated that males had a privileged position in society while females were still inferior. Women were defined by physical appearance, and their bodies were utilized as an object to adapt to society’s wishes (Lirola, 2009). This mainstream value was promoted by advertisements that are androcentric and male-oriented. After a decade, it is time to re-examine whether the ideology and values that the advertisements are still male-defined, the female self-identification and values conform to society’s patriarchal demands or not, and the differences of using the female body images in the advertisements.

The current research focuses on deconstructing the representation of the female body in cosmetic surgery advertisements. Multimodal analysis is adopted to discover how the “perfect body” is mediated visually and textually, especially in advertisements that strive to persuade the recipients to conduct cosmetic surgery. This study shows how the visual elements are connected with the textual elements and how this combination shares the sexualized female body’s ideologies.

British Cosmetic Surgery Clinics

British cosmetic surgery clinics offer beauty products such as make-ups and body transformations, depending on the needs of the users. In this analysis, three texts from Transform Cosmetic Surgery Clinic are analysed for different aspects of multimodal language use to achieve the intended goal, which is to persuade their targets to use the products the organization offer. The analyses present an in-depth understanding of how the advertising company uses different approaches to communicate the intended message to the target customers.

Aims of the Research

This study aims to investigate how cosmetic surgery companies use both verbal and visual features in advertisements to persuade women to undergo plastic surgery, and deconstruct the ideology of beauty in society.

Literature Review

The Concept of Multimodal Discourse Analysis

Three different approaches exist and can be used to conduct multimodal discourse analysis. The first is the social semiotic modality formulated by Jewitt (2013). This particular viewpoint focuses on using choices to make meaning of any discourse. The second point of view is MDA’s use, developed by Kress and van Leeuwen (2001), following Halliday’s model (1967). The perspectives mentioned above differ in their particular stress on the sign-maker. The third technique is the multimodal interactional analysis, which according to Jewitt (2013), “addresses a dimension of the social semiotic that conventional multimodal analysis does not seem to commonly address and focus on how multimodal texts are interfaced with and mediated by people” (p. 33). More focus is placed on MDA, which defines the goal of the current research.

One of the multimodal discourses that have existed for several years is Barthes (1977) in Rhetoric of the Image, where he reviewed the link between image and language as tools for expressing meaning. MDA raised several concerns regarding its application in academia. However, despite such criticisms, multimodal discourse continues to be used in vast academic fields. In its prosperity in academia, this analysis is used in two ways: multimodal metaphor and systematic functional linguistic (SFL). The multimodal metaphor approach studies the discourse using the cognitive perspective. On the other hand, SFL interprets the functional link between language and social structure. Apart from the two scholars mentioned above, other researchers have contributed tremendously to the growth and stabilization of MDA, such as Martinec (2000) and O’Halloran (2004), who discussed the aspect of systemic function. Still, other studies have continued to find how different disciplines can contribute to understanding the multimodal discourse analysis. For instance, digital technology was adopted in 2002 and resulted from annotation and analogue of complex MDA (LeVine & Scollon, 2004). The main aim of the efforts put in this area results from the need to understand different aspects used in the advertisement, such as in cosmetic surgery.

The logico-semantic expansive relations, projections, and representation, which results from language grammar, can also link the multimodal text’s visual and verbal aspects. The shift to social expositions within linguistics transposed the attention of how the use of language shapes. This turn to social approach agrees with the theory formulated by Halliday on the social functions of textual language. Metafunctions appear to be higher-order constructs of meaning instead of being particular to a single language (Ledin & Machin, 2019). On the other hand, metafunctions can be viewed as meaning potential, which refers to the implied meaning or action resulting from any specific set of modal resources. Halliday refers to this as “every semiotic fulfils a function of ideation, which represents the internal and external sides of the world, and serves the interpersonal function, which enacts social interactions and relations” (as cited in Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996, p. 15). This implies that any particular text has an element that coherently interrelates with each other. These specific features link with the relevant environment, which accomplishes textual function.

Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) went further to study and develop concepts that could also help understand MDA. According to them, one can visually realize ideation, textual, and interpersonal functions using composition, which comprises information value and salience, the modality of vectors, and framing. Van Leewen (2005) and Maier et al. (2007) opined that both verbal and visual modes function together, except that most of the time, either of the modes extends or elaborate its meaning. Lemke (1989) reiterated that ideational metafunction offers textual dimension and has features of verbal and visual symbols that can be decoded through multimodal transitivity. On the other hand, interpersonal metafunction provides facet to words, conveying, and interacting with the intended audience (Lemke, 1989). Furthermore, the textual metafunction comprises the interrelatedness and linkage between written words’ visual and verbal components. Thus, there is a need to understand how to construct models that describe images in relation to the text.

There have been efforts to connect images and text to make a better judgment of the visual elements. Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) came up with a model describing the semiotic pictorial resources and how they are used. Consequently, this resulted in the formulation of the systematic functional grammar framework and adopting a visual design grammar (Kress & Leeuwen, 2006). According to the concept, the visual structures are viewed as linguistic components. The various segment of this model presents a specific function, which interprets unique experiences and creates social interactions. For example, in communication achieved through visual representations, one has to choose between different interpretations and, at the same time, express the diverse social interactions using variations of colour or the structure used to compose the image.

Multimodality considers both communication and representation to comprise more than any language offers by being more attentive to different communication methods such as gaze, colour, pictures, posture, composition, and topography. It asserts that these components lead to the transfer and generation of meaning when they are combined. Each component has a meaning potential, which defines its propensity to transfer meaning. The full denotation of any element can be realized only when it exists in its entirety. MDA’s purpose is to know textual meaning and power based on how they activate different modes, including verbal, aural, and visual (O’Halloran, 2004). It is possible to systematically deconstruct texts using semiotic analysis with MDA, which has been used to analyse several domains, including magazine covers, movies, online advertisement, motion pictures, commercials, surgical websites, and books.

Research Questions

  1. How do the companies use idealized female body image to achieve economic goals?
  2. Are the ideologies of beauty still male-defined?


This section provides the methodology used to gather data utilized in the project. In this multimodal discourse analysis, samples of three articles from the British Cosmetic Surgery Clinic are examined, because of the region’s known cosmetic industry. The texts were taken from one of the British cosmetic surgery organization known as Transform Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, which is renowned in entire Britain for offering high cosmetic surgery services and treatments. The three advertisements from the Transform Cosmetic Surgery Clinic were selected for this study because they are considered aggressive in terms of publicity.

Advertisement is a multimodal discourse, which contains pictures and texts. These elements are considered interrelated in terms of creating meaning to the flyer. A poster can also be used to send messages to the intended audience. However, poster advertising is mostly a one-way communication tool used by several companies to pass the intended idea. In particular, this is possible because the bodies that are embedded within the signs are often representational. The images used in the posters can help the audience to understand the messages that the advertisers are trying to pass since the pictures create an emotional appeal. However, when catchy words accompany the images, they often engage the readers more than plain posters.

Since advertisements that use text to accompany visual images tend to engage the audience more, this project uses multimodal analysis to decode how the advert’s verbal and visual components work together. In particular, the approach used in this analysis considers visual and textual characteristics. The three main elements of visual characteristics include the following:

  1. Prominence: describes the interactions of several factors (such as image, letter size, choice of colour, placement) and concerns the size of the pictures comparing with the written text
  2. Frame: describes whether the elements appear in the text are placed together or apart.
  3. Information value: describes the placement of the texts within the advert. For example, left to right, centre to margin, and top to bottom.

The analysis was followed by talking about colour schemes and the subject’s gaze and positions. For instance, in the advertisement used in this project, all the women are tanned and young, which indicates the characteristic of the intended audience of these texts. The women in the images wear very few clothes, which partially reveal their breasts through the low neckline. The private sphere is represented by one’s body and the openly displayed sexuality, which is a significant aspect of the younger population. Modernity has used feminist nakedness until transforming it in practice at the same time codified and considered in terms of money or commercialisation.

As for the textual characteristic, the verbal components found in the text may enhance the visual aspects of advertising the messages. Companies tend to incorporate texts to promote themselves beyond the visual representation of the product they sell. The words enable businesses to brand themselves in ways that integrate and socialize with the intended audience. Terms such as “transform”, “enhance”, “suit up”, and “experts” have been used to send specific messages to the target population. These words are written in large letters, hence easy to ready, and integrate well with the images. This makes it easy for the viewers and readers to understand the intended message. This aims of this section is to explain the transitivity patterns that develops from the textual to the visual elements in the text. It will analyse in stylistic and description and transitivity structure and verbo-visual coherence.

Visual Grammar

Visual grammar was proposed in 1996 by Kress and van Leeuwen based on the findings from semiotic school, which was mainly concerned with illustrating linguistic written words. Halliday (1967) saw language as a depiction of semiotic mode represented by ideational, interpersonal, and textual metafunctions. Kress and van Leeuwen built their theory by redefining the words used by Halliday, such that they called them representational, interactive, and compositional metafunctions, respectively. In this new definition, representational connotation focuses on how pictures created in any particular piece represents the participants used in the image. It is split into the narrative and conceptual representations, according to the Transitivity framework developed by Halliday. Narrative representation gives extensive actions and events, change processes, and transitory spatial arrangements.

Interactive meaning concerns the social links between interactants and evaluative orientations that actors or reactors adopt towards one another and to the area symbolized by the text. Its discernment relies mainly on attitude, modality, contact, and social distance. Social distance describes the links between the viewer and the producer of the image and the represented participant as a frame size function. Attitude categorizes image into objective and subjective, thus deeming them naturally neutral. Contact describes the demand relation between the represented and the targeted audience and then conveys the intended meaning through offers and demands following Halliday’s four speech acts. Lastly, modality emanates from linguistics and describes the credibility of statements concerning the world and explores its markers’ roles, such as colour differences, saturation, and differentiation.

On the other hand, compositional meaning associates the interactive and representational pictorial meaning using framing, value, and salience. The value of information mainly deals with the placement of components and their attached trusts. The information can be arranged in different layouts based on the designer’s understanding of culture and the target audience. Salience describes the factors considered in the hierarchy of placing various elements based on their sizes, focus sharpness, and total contrast. Lastly, framing refers to the link between connectedness degree and differentiation. However, it is critical to understand that framing and salience offer practical know-how for image interpretation, though it can result in over-interpretation since the researcher can be subjected to unusual decisive meanings. Citation

Multimodal Analysis of Three British Cosmetic Surgery Clinic and Discussion

Text 1. Transform the way you look, love the way you feel (source). The current research is based on British cosmetic surgery clinics and beauty magazines to expose the narrative around lean bodies resulting from clinical interventions. In this study, three images from “Transform”, a top cosmetic surgery clinic in Britain, are analysed. Each of the images from the firm presents unique messages to the intended targets. The advertisements discuss major visual and linguistic features of the magazines to help decode and understand the meanings hidden in the flyers’ multimodal texts. The leaflets are produced to convince the women to consider using cosmetic surgery to transform their bodies and become monuments of beauty in their society, even though the advertisement’ primary goal is to make the clinics generate profit.

Multimodal Analysis of Three British Cosmetic Surgery Clinic and Discussion

The perspectives taken in this study to decode texts written and visualized helps to understand social practice and behaviour. According to Van Leeuwen, (2008), ‘’Social life can be seen as networks of diverse social practices, including economic, political, cultural, familiar practices and so on. Social practices are more-or-less stable forms of social activity which always, or almost always, include discourse’’ (p. 23). Regarding cosmetic surgery, the social practices persuade the viewers of advertisements to feel inadequate to meet the normal standard, thus desire to modify some parts of their bodies to be as that of their idols, yet without considering possible consequences of their actions.

Visual Features

The different visual elements that help in constructing meaning in the pictures clarified using visual grammar, which uses frames, prominence, and information value to explain each element in the advert. After analysing these features, the significant features used to represent hidden meanings such as colour and gaze are considered. Each of these elements exists in the pictures and serves different purposes based on the designs used.

Transform yourself

Text 2. Transform yourself (source). Prominence describes the combination of text and image and other attributes related to their specific features such as the relative size of the texts and image, colour, and placement within the flyer. Frame indicates whether texts and images are placed together at the same point or separated in distinct places. This is an important aspect of understanding the relationship between the two elements and their effects on the targeted audience.

Frames form an important aspect of multimodal textual composition, mainly because they point out various text elements. All the texts analysed in this research are placed in different parts of the flyers. In Text 1, for instance, the words written to accompany the image illustrate the main goal of the advert. These include the emphasis on “transform” and “love”, which immediately captures the eye and mind of the viewer, especially women, who process the information to mean that they will love themselves after transforming their bodies through cosmetic surgery

Advert by Transform Cosmetic Surgery
Figure 3. Advert by Transform Cosmetic Surgery (source).

In Text 2, the words are placed at the right and left and top and bottom of the flyers. The text on the left is distinct “Transform”, which is pushed to the side of the back, thus making her curve at the back more pronounced. The texts on the right are diverse. First, the most notable one is “yourself”, “transform”, placed at the upper part of the woman, and constitutes a trajectory that links the lady’s beautifully curved breasts with the rest of the body. One can easily identify that the theme is “Transform Yourself”, which combines the text on the left and that on the right, making the audience scan through the body when reading the texts. There are writings at the top of the advert and the lower part, however, they are not visible at first glance. Moreover, the words are written in both horizontal and vertical orientations, making the viewer glance at the cleavage in a different direction, hence looking directly at the woman’s breasts, which is focal of the flyer.

Text 3 is a bit different from the first two, particularly with respect to the orientation and placement. There is no particular textual orientation on either the left or right or top or bottom. However, the placement of the words “Enhance your Confidence. Transform yourself” is made through the body as this gives the viewer a closer look at the body of the person in the flyer, hence contemplating the meaning of those words and seeing their evidence on the image.

Colour Scheme

Colour is an essential element in multimodal analysis because it presents a vast amount of information. All the women are tanned, which creates a more fulfilling and pleasing to the viewer, mainly because it removes biases. Bright colours are used in Text 1 while black in Text 2 and 3. Using these two colours accompanied by their smiles represent the vibrancy and universality resulting from cosmetic surgery. Moreover, the black colour symbolizes the authority and strength these women possess to speak about and defend cosmetic surgery. Blue and its various shades dominate the background used in two of the three texts analysed, representing royalty and power. According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2002) and Van Leeuwen (2011), colours can highlight different features of the participants in an advert. However, it is also important to notice that some colours may have been used appropriately. For instance, the shade of red in the woman’s lips in text 1 and text 3 may differ with that meaning it implies on the background of Text 2. For instance, the shade adopted in Text 2 may sum up the circumstances of pre-surgery and post-surgery in the Transform Cosmetic Surgery Group.

Gaze and Subject Positions

Text 1 presents a youthful, attractive lady, with her eyes deeply focused on the viewer. Her hair curls in such a way that it creates a feeling of peace and admiration of the cosmetic products used on her. Her most outstanding feature appears in her smooth and long face, with well-trimmed eyelashes, which is well complimented with the shape of her mouth. In text 2, the image shows a young and beautiful woman revealing most of her body that creates the notion of fitness. She is lean and steady, looking younger than she is supposed to be, which is attributed to cosmetic surgery. Her smile shows that she is likely satisfied with the service she got from Transform. It is also critical to notice that her body is perfectly placed at the centre of the burner, such as it does not lean on either right or left, or top or bottom.

Text 3 shows a beautiful middle-aged woman looks stunningly at the viewer, showing great confidence in her body. Her arms are stretched out to reveal every perspective of the curves achieved through surgery. The body of the woman attracts the eyes of the viewer at first glance. It worth noting that she is a young woman and chose the service to look as stunning as she appears in the image. Her smile reveals both the confidence and satisfaction she has with the surgery offered to her.

Linguistic Features

Even though the images occupy the more significant part of the leaflets, there are essential verbal features in the texts as they accompany and improve the visual perspective of the advertisement’ information. The linguistic features in these flyers serve two purposes, which include description and coherence. Thus, the texts can explain the transitivity pattern used throughout the advertisements to capture the mind of the image viewers.

Description of Styles and Text

Words used in the leaflets were chosen carefully to perform specific functions. In most advertising discourses, as with the current flyers, positive expressions and instructions are used, combined with different approaches to reach and persuade the customers to use the products. In particular, Text 1 and 3 has a vector at the participant’s eyeline stating, “Britain’s number one cosmetic surgery specialists.” The statements make the viewers develop a sense of attraction towards the company and build their confidence in the services it offers. Being the topmost company creates a sense of dependability on the clinic, and assures potential customers of gaining the body they desire to have. Most people are uncomfortable with their bodies, hence when they see a source of gaining their belief in themselves, they find it satisfying and reassuring.

Flyers used by Transform have used repetition to pass their message to the targeted clients. In particular, the clinic has used the word “transform”, which is the name of the medical facility, but at the same time, the name of the activity that should be achieved by the surgery. The word “surgery” has also been used in several places within all the three texts to enhance the understanding of the service the clinic offer. This is meant to qualify the fact that the body transformations are supported by medical practices and the fact that the clinic can perform all the possible surgeries. In “Transform magazine, the phrase “Britain’s number one cosmetic surgery specialist” is repeated in all the clinic’s flyers. This creates the competition by revealing to the targeted audience there is no competitor cosmetic surgery in the area.

Verbs form a critical part of the advertisement as it puts the targeted audience in control of everything they need. All the texts use verbs in their advertisement to create a sense of action from the targeted audience. For instance, Transform Cosmetic Surgery Group has used the verb “transform” in two of its leaflets, first to create a doubt in the mind of the targeted audience that their bodies are not in shape, and secondly to give the perspective that they can change their bodies to a perfect size that will please them. Secondly, the clinic has used the verb “enhance”, which is meant to tell the audience that having a good body is not the final solution, that there is more to be done.


Attention is crucial in any advertisement as it makes the targeted audience develop a sense of the company. Promoting a business or a particular product requires a detailed approach as the audience can focus on the advert or decide to ignore it. Marketing not only provides information about the service of the business being advertised but also persuades the viewers to grasp the consumer’s attention. All the texts analysed in this case pay close attention to the three most useful ways of capturing the attention of targeted customers, as suggested by Suggett (2014), who claims that location, personalization, and a shocking factor can help best hook viewers to the flyer.

Participant’s Representation

The three participants used in the text are young women, who are represented as confident and beautiful. Their smiles and attractive faces reveal the quality of service they got from the cosmetic surgery, and in particular, from the clinic. Moreover, the choice to use only women in the flyers is crucial as it forms the primary need for advertisers to reach the vulnerable women who think they are inadequate. Sexuality is a crucial element that promoters of businesses use to persuade women to get cosmetic products and surgery. As noted by Suggett (2014), sexuality drives every form of advertisement, both among men and women. Consequently, it is often possible to find that the number of females in advertisements used in different niches is higher than that of men. The faces of the participants in these texts are closely linked with those of celebrities within the country. Influencers are mostly used to help the public understand the move towards using a particular product, partly because they have a huge following and can easily persuade their internet friends.

Context Specification

Transformation attracts viewers by addressing the specific contexts of services offered. First, using women is crucial because women are most affected by their bodies’ insecurities. For instance, ladies want to have appearances similar to those they adore because they believe having tanned bodies makes them more attractive to men. At the same time, they are driven by the desire to meet what the men construct in their minds. It is often easy to realize that men are attracted by women with soft, smooth, and curved bodies, hence creating a sense of inadequacy in their women’s minds. Moreover, context is implied by revealing the types of surgeries the clinic performs and highlights the major ones, such as breast, hip, and facial manipulations, which are some of the main areas women are interested in to have changed.

Overall, analysis of Transform’s advertisement demonstrates that Lirola’s (2009) findings on inequality and sexualisation of women are relevant today. First, all three plastic surgery clinic’s ads use images of women to reach their target audience. This fact is not indicative in this case, since the analysis includes only three images; however, if one analyses the advertisements of both the Transform clinic and other similar facilities, he or she will note the predominance of female portraits. This feature also coincides with the thesis of Lirola (2009) that men are privileged and better than women; thus, they do not need to change. At the same time, women must change to meet the expectations of men, who perceive women through their appearance, and, therefore, require sexy and attractive body shapes and beautiful faces. This statement is also emphasised by statistics, since, for example, in 2018, 92% of plastic surgeries were performed on women and the most demanded procedure was breast augmentation (“Cosmetic surgery stats,” 2019). In other words, these changes that women have undergone were caused not by physical reasons or injuries but imposed by advertising and society.

Secondly, all elements of advertising and the message, in general, are aimed at changing the body of women in accordance with European beauty standards. The placement of text on advertisements is used to highlight the curves of the female body that are most stigmatised and objectified. For example, the word “transform” emphasises the waist and curve of the woman in Text 2, and the word placement in all three examples point out more than medium-size breasts. At the same time, although, unlike the study by Lirola (2009), women are depicted without men, they have many similarities, such as tanned skin, attractive breasts, youthfulness and fit bodies. This particular feature and emphasis that advertising offers once again confirm the thesis about the sexualisation of the female body, which is aimed at meeting the needs and creating male-oriented standards of female beauty. In addition, all the women also look happy with the changes, since, after the operation, they meet the standards imposed by the masculine society and can feel more confident.

Another feature that highlights the inequality in plastic surgery advertisements is the text that convinces women that their appearance is imperfect. The analysis showed that the word “transform,” which is also the name of the company, was used in all texts to emphasise the need for change. The word “enhance” is also used to hint that women, even with minor flaws, cannot be completely confident in themselves. This approach can be characterised as “gender violence,” which Lirola (2009) highlights as it exposes women to social pressure due to the features of their bodies. These advertisements also promote this type of violence as they propagate female beauty standards that are far from reality for most women. Thus, this analysis demonstrates that the ideology of beauty has practically not changed over the past decade and remains male-defined.


Cosmetic surgery has been used extensively as a social and cultural norm that compels women, and in some cases, men, to define their bodies by consuming some specific products and practices such as clothing and lifestyle. The analysed data have revealed several discursive aspects in the multimodal construction of cosmetic Surgery among women. These include what they consider an imperfect body, need for improvement, extra beauty, sex, and health and fitness. While imperfections exist, the need for Surgery among women is driven by the need to satisfy the men’s eyes, who are the creators of the perceptions of flaws in the feminine body. However, the women find consolation in cosmetic Surgery as it promises them to solve their issues, thus meeting their body goals. The businesses that offer these solutions use different strategies to reach their intended customers. For instance, they use influencers and texts that are meant to pass persuading messages, thus making it possible for the clients to seek their services. Most importantly, the audience willingly chooses to go to the surgeries based on the impacts created by different advertisements.


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