Assignment: You will write an analysis of a fictional movie or television show (sitcom or drama) about crime. You will be exploring and supporting a unique claim (thesis statement or central idea) of the visual text related to the topic of crime. Your analysis should be based on your own observation and critical viewing of the visual text with specific references to it through quotations, paraphrase, and summary.
For this project you will only use your chosen visual text and your own ideas about this text. Do not use websites or other outside sources such as IMDB, Wikipedia, etc. to find other opinions or analysis on the visual text. If you use these types of outside sources, you will risk plagiarizing your essay.
Trace the main character’s journey.
Compare and contrast two very different characters.
Examine the significance of the setting.
Explain how the cinematography is used to convey the theme.
If your chosen text is older, look at how the depiction of crime and/or law enforcement is different than it would be in a contemporary visual text.
Audience: Someone who is not as familiar as you with your chosen visual text.
Steps for Analyzing a Visual:
Watch the movie or television show at least twice, reflecting on its meaning and looking for anything you might want to discuss at length.
Develop a thesis. (Do your prewriting.) What message does the visual text send about crime? Choose a thesis that you can defend with explanation and examples. Keep the focus narrow: you shouldn’t write about every aspect of the film.
Watch the visual text again. (If you’ve chosen a television show, watch several episodes—or in some cases the entire series—as many as you need to support your thesis.) Take notes as you watch; be ready with your remote control to pause and rewind. Write out bits of dialogue that seem significant. Be careful to do so accurately, and use quotation marks.
You may use any introductory technique (p. 299 of The Field Guide), but you must include the title of your visual text and what genre it is (such as move drama or TV sitcom). The thesis should be the last sentence or two of your introduction.
Summarize the movie or television show in your second paragraph. Include the director and when it was made. Include the name of another technician if your analysis will be focusing on that aspect. For instance, cite the name of the cinematographer if you are going to writing about the importance of shadows to film noir, or include the name of the composer of the movie’s score if you are writing about the importance of background music to the emotional tone of the film.
Include key characters (and the actors who play them) woven into the rest of your essay, mentioning when necessary.
Develop the paper, devoting a paragraph to each main point you want to make to support your thesis. Each paragraph should expand on a supporting point and begin with a topic sentence. Use examples, which may include dialogue, from the text to support your assertions. Write vivid descriptions employing all of your senses.
Use any technique for concluding your essay that you feel is appropriate (p. 299 of The Field Guide).