I’m just going to copy and paste the Instructions:
Table of Contents
1 or 2 PRIMARY SOURCES from which you will form your main thesis
3 RESEARCH SOURCES, including AT LEAST ONE scholarly PEER-REVIEWED article
Sunday, November 21
Submit essay topic (and potential thesis if known)
Sunday, December 5
Submit a list of primary and research sources with CORRECT MLA citations
Sunday, December 12
OPTIONAL: Submit thesis and/or introduction for feedback from Prof Gray
Tuesday, December 21
Submit final essay: 6 pages plus works cited list
We have been talking this semester about the importance of analyzing the world around us to discover the implied messages that get delivered covertly through our everyday environment. Many of the texts we have read and films we have viewed show the danger of leaving unexamined the representation of marginalized groups. While we may be used to thinking of media representations as just pretend, or just jokes, or just entertainment, we find that such far-reaching representations and caricatures greatly inform our understanding of the groups and cultures that make up our society. For this reason, media literacythe ability to decipher media messages about groups in our society and understand the impact of these representationsplays an important role in helping to free actual people from stereotypes and definitions that burden them psychologically and that may lead to violence and discrimination against them.
Choose a group of people and analyze its representation in a particular media source or sources (this/these will count as your PRIMARY SOURCE[s]).
You may create your own topic, or you may choose one of these listed below:
- How does the film Jarhead depict American marines?
- How does the film Bend It Like Beckham or Slumdog Millionaire depict Indians?
- How are fathers portrayed in blackish?
- How does the show Fresh off the Boat depict Chinese immigrants? Or first-generation Chinese Americans?
- How are scientists or high-performing academics depicted in The Big Bang Theory?
- How does Grand Theft Auto portray men?
- How are women depicted in the film Legally Blonde?
- How are teachers depicted in Ferris Buellers Day Off?
- How does the show blackish portray white people?
- How are people with disabilities depicted in the film I Am Sam?
- How does the show 24 depict Muslims?
- How are drug users depicted in Breaking Bad?
- How are Christians portrayed in The Simpsons?
- How does Modern Family depict gay people?
- How does the show The Middle represent the American family? What changes in representation of the American family do you see when comparing Leave it to Beaver to Roseanne or The Middle?
- How does the show Orange Is the New Black depict prisoners?
- How are women depicted in Snow White? How does the portrayal of women differ between Snow White and Mulan? Why might that be important?
- How does Fast Times at Ridgemont High portray teen-aged boys?
- How does Beyoncs music portray women?
- How does the show Game of Thrones depict men?
- How does Hawthornes novel The Scarlet Letter portray Puritan Christians?
- How does the film The Pursuit of Happyness portray homeless people?
- How does Tim McGraws music portray men?
Notice that each of these suggested topics contains a SPECIFIC GROUP of people and a SPECIFIC MEDIA SOURCE OR SOURCES. If your topic does not fit in this format, your essay will not match the assignments goals.
Your goal is to consider how the popular, everyday fictions we consume transmit ideas about a groups qualities, characteristics, mannerisms, culture, purpose, abilities, or any other component that helps craft societys understanding of the group.
In other words, if you learned everything about your group from watching this show, or reading this book, or listening to this music, what would you think that group is like?
PLANNING THIS ESSAY:
- Decide which group and which media source you would like to analyze. You may have a few false starts, so get started early.
- Watch or read or listen to the primary sources with TABLET or PAPER/PEN in hand. Take notes as you observe the DETAILS. You cannot choose to write this essay about a film you saw in 8th grade without re-watching the film and taking detailed notes about its content.
What are people wearing?
What are people saying?
What music is playing?
How are people treating each other?
What repetitions do you notice?
What do the members of your group seem to have in common?
What stands out as different between members of your group or between your group and other people in the source?
In what setting is your group shown? What do they seem to care about?
- Notice patterns and potential meanings in the details you have observed.
What messages about this group does the source seem to be giving to its audience?
Your main answer to this question will be your thesis.
- Organize your essay based on the many ideas you have developed from analyzing the details. You may have several answers to the above question or you may start by highlighting one aspect of the groups representation and then move into discussing the implications and significance of these ideas.
- Conduct some research to find articles that support your idea or that analyze similar themes and draw similar or different conclusions from your own. I will take you through the process of using the library to perform academic research in the coming weeks.
- Begin paragraphs with topic sentences presenting CLAIMS that you can support with your primary source and your research.
- Use your body paragraphs to give DETAILED EXAMPLES from your sourcesincluding quotations and detailed descriptions of important words and images that you analyzedand explain how these examples support your claims.
- Use your conclusion to talk about the importance of analyzing media narratives and of noticing the kinds of representations that surround us.
AVOID THE 5-PARAGRAPH TRAP!
Remember to avoid 5-paragraph formatting which makes lists that dont connect to a central argument.
NOT STRONG THESIS:
Women in Sex and the City seem to have a lot of free time, to like pizza, and to want to get married.
These may all be accurate, but you havent put forth a very interesting idea here that can be developed.
STRONG THESIS/CENTRAL IDEA:
Sex and the City portrays women as dependent on men to feel successful.
This is a strong starting idea and can be developed to include complications and implications throughout the essay.
EXCELLENTLY PLANNED DEVELOPMENT OF IDEAS:
In developing an idea chain for this sample Sex and the City essay, topic sentences may look like this:
Idea 1: According to these characters actions, women spend most of their time thinking about pleasing men.
Idea 2: The shows depiction of women suggests that even though women are capable of being financially independent, they would rather be taken care of by a man.
Idea 3: This limited view of women is dangerous because it maintains traditional ideas about gender.
Idea 4: The behavior of some characters demonstrates that women often break out of traditional gender roles.
Idea 5: The overall treatment of progressive women in these episodes suggests that even progressive television shows seem hesitant to break these traditional barriers.
Idea 6: Women want to have more choices, but as a society we also feel more comfortable with safe, traditional characters.
Idea n: The show portrays women as having more desire, more intelligence, and more ambition than has been shown in earlier depictions of women. However, these progressive ideas are always tempered by reminders of traditional womens roles.
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