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Second EssayFilm Analysis

 

For your second essay, I want you to analyze a movie that critically examines aspects of our consumer culture—and I will give you your choice of any of these films. You can watch either:

Fast Food Nation

Food, Inc.

Flow (For Love of Water)—not “Hustle and Flow”, not “The Flow”

Wall-E (yes, the Pixar movie)

Ghost World

 

All are available online (YouTube and elsewhere), local libraries, and video stores. If you actually have to purchase one, most are available for under $5 on YouTube.

 

If you have watched one of these before I encourage you to rewatch it with a frame of mind geared to this class.

 

In 1000-1500 words, analyze your film choice and apply it to points made in the readings in this course so far. I am looking for a cohesive essay that addresses the following questions. Don’t answer these questions separately. Instead, use them to guide you as you construct an essay that addresses them in an integrated fashion.

 

What is the film trying to say about consumer culture? What consumer culture issues does the film raise? How does it raise them?

 

What are the major issues raised by the film? How does the film illustrate any of the points made in our classreadings? How do our readings shed light on problems identified in your film? The truly astute student might find connections to materials from outside of class, as well.

 

You should… watch this movie with the frame of what we have discussed in this class this term.

 

You should… describe the arguments your movie makes (remember, everything is an argument) and how it makes those arguments.

 

You should… write confidently and declaratively. State, don’t speculate.

 

You should… explicitly describe how individual readings from the term apply to the movie—explaining how the readings support or contradict the movie, and vice versa.

 

You should… bring in any elements from our class discussions that might be relevant.

 

You should… avoid summarizing. I’ve seen all these movies and you can assume I have a working knowledge of the scenes and story therein. You should be writing to me as your audience and formulate your essay accordingly.

 

You should… cite the work, information, arguments, and evidence you get from other sources. When you get an argument from someone else’s writing you need to give them credit. That shows diligence and honesty. It shows me you did research.

 

You should… avoid padding your essay with quotes from the readings. The 1000-1500-word goal on this assignment should be your words. Again, I am your audience and you can assume I know the readings as well. If the material you are referencing is more than two sentences long you should probably just give me the essence of the passage rather than quoting it directly in its entirety.

 

You should… have fun. Nothing says an assignment has to be all work. Take some interpretive chances. Make a stretch and try to support it. Fun shouldn’t mean flippant—we still have to take the essay seriously. We can have fun while still treating the assignment and the movie with respect.

 

What differentiates a good paper from a mediocre paper on this assignment? More than anything it is the ability to show a link between what we have been discussing this semester and the content of the movie. How doesyour movie add to or detract from the arguments made this term?

 

Final reminder: All work should be your own. This is not a research assignment, it is an assignment intended for you to show YOUR ability to find connections and build arguments.

 

If you use, in any way, the work of others you should reference their work and give them credit—and then build upon it to show how you have taken their point and improved, expanded, or corrected it.

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