Film Assignment

English Composition


This time, analysis of the subject will be a bit complex, evenif the subject does prove to be only a cheesy dinosaur movie. Our readings will involve various disciplines–including scientific,political, and ethical perspectives. You will be expected tosharpen your skills in reading and in making your own connectionsbetween abstract theory and expression of cultural attitudes (infilm). I will show video clips in class and we will practiceapplying the perspectives to help explain the workings beneaththe surface of the filmic examples. Then we will watch a filmin its entirety and you will find your own connections and writeabout one of them.

The Assignment: Your job is to watch the film shown twoconsecutive days in class and, armed with your textual tools,to analyze the film politically, drawing carefully from the articlesfor quotation, paraphrase, or summary of ideas in order to illuminateyour points about cultural attitudes. Consider the role of atraditional Western cultural attitude in its interaction withall else it encounters.

When watching the film, be prepared to take notes and jot downany quotations that seem even remotely relevant for use in theessay, even if you’re not sure how they’ll come into play. Whenwriting up your analysis, select one specific angle. Don’ttry to tackle too much, or you will end up with pockets of generalizations,and don’t summarize the film at length. In writing up your interpretation,go for precision and depth, not just “coverage” of filmand articles. Illustrate points you want to make with quotationfrom the film and articles, and give readers just enough explanationof the context as is necessary.

Reading List: The following articles and excerpts willlend a variety of possible critical perspectives to your analysis.

Chief Seattle. “Environmental Statement.” In WritingAbout the World. 2nd edition. Ed. Susan McLeod. Fort Worth:Harcourt Brace College Pub., 1995. 42-44.

Darwin, Charles. “The Action of Natural Selection.” In Writing About the World. 1995. 44-46.

King, Winston L. “Religion and Nothingness.” In WritingAbout the World. 1995. 516-518.

Mead, Margaret. “Warfare: An Invention–Not a BiologicalNecessity.” In Writing About the World. 1995. 87-92.

Memmi, Albert. “Racism and Oppression.” In WritingAbout the World. 1995. 250-257.

Russett, Cynthia E. “Darwin in America,” In WritingAbout the World. Ed. Susan McLeod. Fort Worth: Harcourt BraceJovanovich, 1991. 100-103.

Simpson, George E. “Early Social Darwinism.” In WritingAbout the World. 1991. 97-99.