ENGL 101.009/.011
-- Paper # 2 Assignment --

Dr. Nick Melczarek | anmelczarek@salisbury.edu | 410-546-6203 (66203)

Contents (click to jump to the following sections)
Paper 1 Assignment (read all the way through -- there are helpful tips throughout):

»» Cultural analysis: Based on ideas gathered from this section's essays (on reading films), write an essay of 1,500 to 2,000 words on one of the following topics:

Compare/contrast two or more movies that take different approaches to the same goal or message -- which one offers the better model?

Compare/contrast three different types of the same character (the prostitute, the patriot, the nerd, the dumb jock, the popular girl, the gangster, the small business person, the soldier, the witch, etc. -- your choice) in movies or on t.v. -- which film or show offers the most complex version of that character?

Choose two or more movies that specifically cast virtues or vices in terms of class -- which film is the most egregious in this respect? (Look up "egregious" in the dictionary -- it's an excellent word to know.)

Discussing films or television shows requires giving your reader certain specific information -- see the "What I'll look for" section below.
You can refer to the essays we read in Signs of Life for inspiration or good quotations, but pick your own movies or television shows. Pay attention to how many examples the question asks for in your discussion, and develop those examples in full ¶s with topic sentences.
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  • Rationale: each of this section's essays studies some aspect of film. Since movies and television earn several billion dollars a year, people obviously think them important cultural forms. Yet while many or most movie spectators or televisions viewers treat these media simply as entertainment, each of the essays we've read acknowledges messages buried in movies/shows. Do not presume that these messages are either deliberate or accidental -- all you care about is that they're there, on the screen and that people see them regardless of the film/show-makers' intent. Paper #2 asks you to conduct your own analysis of a set of movies or shows -- and to do some research about them. Look up movie or show sites on the internet, or in magazines or film journals. Be ready to cite each source you turn to.

  • Caveats/cautions:
    -- Why work this hard on a paper worth only 10% of your grade? Because Paper #1 and Paper #2 are practice for papers 3 & 4, which count 20% each. Wouldn't you rather have most of the learnig curve in the 10% range?
    -- By "1,500-2,000 words" I mean 1,500-2,000 words. (Enlarging the font size, or enlarging the margins, does not change the number of words.) This is not an invitation to pad you paper with needless material; rather, this is an opportunity for you to fully explain your ideas and illustrate those ideas with examples. If you're padding, waffling, or tangenting, I'll know it -- and it'll count against you.
    -- Use examples from the essays we've read in SoL only as inspiration or starting points: come up with your own examples.
    -- Treat your chosen films or television shows as seriously as you would any literary text.

  • Thesis note: Be sure that you state clearly and directly your thesis -- i.e. the point of your paper, your argument. Try not to phrase your thesis as "In this paper I will show that ..." -- your reader already works from the assumption that you're going to show her something. Instead, early in your paper simply present your paper's thesis, including your topic/subject matter, how you will treat that matter, and what your assertion or argument is.

  • Need a little help with your thesis? Before you start writing, have a look at "timesaver #3 (a)," "timesaver #3(b)" and "timesaver #4" on the writing tips site -- these items will help you AND save you oodles of time!!!
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    »» What I'll look for in this paper: (Papers 3 and 4 will have additional requirements)


    Writing mechanics & technical guidelines:

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    »» DUE DATES AND ACTIVITY DATES: (see updated course schedules) (back to Contents)
    »» Troubleshooting & therapy: If you have questions about the assignment or your paper that we don't address in class or during conference times, (back to Contents)