Choose two films/televisions shows (NO DOCUMENTARIES or REALITY SHOWS) that depict the same historical event, social issue, or segment of American culture (9/11, race relations, organized crime, etc.) and analyze and discuss the ways in which the films/television shows depict the American identity. How do the depictions differ in each film/television show? How are the depictions similar? Who is the intended audience for each film/television show? What points do the films/television shows make about the American identity? Here are some examples of the kinds of films that could be compared to one another: United 93 and World Trade Center, both of which depict the events of 9/11 from different perspectives; School Daze and Higher Learning, both of which depict race relations in America from different perspectives; The Godfather and Goodfellas, both of which depict organized crime in America from different perspectives. It will be your job to analyze, evaluate, and reflect on the possible meanings, intended or not intended, in both of the primary texts that you choose. Ask yourself the following questions: Do the texts rely on almost mythic ideas of the American identity? Do the texts utilize symbols or motifs or stereotypes (class, race, ethnicity, gender)? What messages—implicit or explicit, accurate or not so accurate—do the texts produce or promote concerning the American identity? What language and/or visual images are incorporated into the texts and for what effect? Do the texts convey a negative image and criticize what Americans stand for? Is such a criticism valid and what is its source? Specific details from the primary texts are essential to support your claim as well as information take from secondary sources that offers insight into the texts. Your secondary sources could consist of literary criticism specifically on the texts, as well as information related the primary texts or themes related to the American identity as depicted in films and/or on television. The secondary sources should not consist of critical reviews or plot summaries.
You MAY NOT, however, use any of the following texts as your primary texts for the research essay.
Captain America (comic book/graphic novel and film)
The Blind Side (novel and film)
The Help (novel and film)
The Great Gatsby (novel and film)
World Trade Center
The Godfather (novel and film)
Remember the Titans (book and film)
The Pursuit of Happyness (book and film)
To Kill a Mockingbird (novel and film)
Of Mice and Men (novel and film)
The Natural (novel and film)
Gone with the Wind (novel and film)
Forest Gump (novel and film)
All of these requirements must be met for the assignment.
An interesting and informative title
An introduction that identifies your primary texts and establishes an explicit statement in your introductory paragraph that makes a claim about your texts relate to one another and how they impact on our understanding of the American identity
An awareness of audience, purpose, and context
An appropriate voice, tone, style, and level of formality
An analysis of argumentative strategies and/or persuasive appeals present in your primary texts
Development and support of a compelling idea through relevant and thorough exploration of at least two (and no more than four) primary texts
Development and support that incorporates ideas and evidence from at least six (and no more than eight) secondary sources
An identifiable structure, including introduction, coherent paragraphs, and conclusion
Appropriate conventions for structure and paragraphing
Appropriate mechanics and format
Effective use of syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling
Proper documentation of primary texts and secondary sources in the body of the essay and on a Works Cited page
At least two direct quotes from each primary text
At least one direct quote from each secondary source
Appropriate textual conventions for incorporating ideas from sources, e.g., introducing and incorporating quotations; quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
A minimum of 2,000 words (not including quoted material or the Works Cited page)
I will also attach a sample, so you can see as an example.