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Essay #2: Culture through Film and Television

Choose ONE of the following:

A) Using Gabler’s essay as a framework, discuss a television series that is a “wish fulfillment” and contrast it with one that is, in your opinion, more “realistic” (For example, This is Us vs. Shameless; Jane the Virgin vs. Vida). What insights about cultural mythology can you draw from these differences? Use general summaries of the shows, specific examples of scenes and/or episodes and dialogue, and quotes/paraphrase from at least three outside sources (could be essays from our book) to support and illustrate.

B) Using the stages of the hero’s journey (monomyth), compare two films from different eras or different cultures. Analyze the connection of each film to its own time or place. In what ways do the films diverge from the hero myth? In what ways do the films show similar and/or different cultural mythologies through the monomyth? What conclusions can you draw from their similarities or differences? Use general summaries of the films, specific examples of scenes and dialogue, and quotes/paraphrase from at least three outside sources (could be essays from our book) to support and illustrate.

C) Pick a genre of film (sci-fi, horror, teen comedy, western, rom-com, super hero, etc.) and analyze at least one film from our current era (something in the last 5 years) and one film from at least one previous era (something from the 1950s-2000). Discuss their similarities (how they fit the conventions of their genre) and then discuss how their differences reflect the cultural mythologies of the eras in which they were produced. Use general summaries of the films, specific examples of scenes and dialogue, and quotes/paraphrase from at least three outside sources (could be essays from our book) to support and illustrate. (Note: You could also do this with TV shows).

Essay should be 5-6 double-spaced pages in MLA format and a Works Cited page. You must use at least one quote from at least three different outside sources (could be essays from our book).

  • Should have a title that states topic and hints at thesis.
  • Introduction should begin with 3-5 sentences introducing the topic of how television and film reflect and/or distort social reality.
  • A thesis statement should end the introduction making an analytical argument—that is detailed, developed, and dynamic—about the particular shows or films you will be discussing.
  • Body paragraphs should begin with clearly articulated topic sentences that develop individual points helping to support your overall thesis.
  • Evidence should describe the shows/films and be connected to quotes, paraphrase, and/or summary from outside sources (could be essays from the book).
  • Conclusion should bring these individual points back to the overall thesis and make it clear what the implications are between the differences you pointed out in the shows or films.

Essays should follow MLA style and format (see Hacker or look it up online): typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1” margins all around.

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