Visual Analysis Essay

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In As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial, authors Derrick Jenson and Stephanie McMillan create a clever comic essay to capture their youthful audience into imminent environmental issues. First published in 2007, their essay contains bantering between two young girls which engages the audience into a statistically dominated argument on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to save the planet. However, the statistics show that minor lifestyle changes will not have a lasting impact. Then, with input from many pleading species of animals and a native person, a resolution to change is decided upon. Big business, industrialism, over-population and a modern technical society are portrayed as the main problems. The authors present a strong message to future generations on environmental issues, using a comic style with young children as the main characters, native peoples and pleading animals, and repetition with emotional and ethical appeals to the readers.

The authors use a comic style which is well suited to the intended audience. The girls’ bantering back and forth to solve the world environmental issues appeals to youth, through the knowledge of one girl and the idealism of the other. One is idealistic and the other a brainy one. The authors cleverly use children to get the message across of our environmental imbalance. In one scene’s caption the light hair girl says,” And the rich

keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. And it all keeps killing the planet”. Some may find that Jensen and McMillan’s pictures and text are simplistic and annoyingly over-done. The bantering and pleading may put-off some readers. This comic technique has not-so-subtle innuendoes of politics and anti-establishment. A good example of this is the cow who remarks “And recognize your real enemies: production, the system that requires, the people in power who keep it running.”

The use of native people and pleading animals is also an effective...
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