Compare or contrast In Cold Blood to another filmed depiction of the true crime genre, whether in feature film or TV series form. Have a debatable, persuasive claim and focus on specific points of comparison (the similarities) or contrast (the differences) using the Lesson in week 7 to guide your structure. Please consult MLA guidance to see how to cite television and film: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/09/Checklist for Essays *There will be penalties for each of the items below that is missing or incorporated incorrectly into essays: *Please save your MS Word doc as your last name, followed by Essay 1, for example, Fiore_Essay1 Thesis Statement: Your essay must have a thesis statement. Since the reader is familiar with the story, summary is unnecessary. Rather than tell your reader what happened, tell him or her what specific point you are making about the story. See the attached Powerpoint How to Write a Thesis Statementâ€ for help with this. Organization: Your essay must be well-organized, with an intro paragraph that includes a thesis statement, body paragraphs, each organized around a main focus along with examples from the text that relate back to and proveâ€ the thesis statement, and a conclusion. See the attached handout How to Write an Essayâ€ for help with this. Format your essay according to MLA style guidelines. *There is no cover page in MLA formatting, just the standard 4-line heading on page one, a title centered at the top, and double-spacing consistently throughout. See a sample here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/13/ *Use Italics for titles of longer works like novels and films and use quotation marksâ€ for titles of shorter works like poems, short stories and essays. *Write your essay in third person objective voice. This means avoiding use of first person (I, we, me, us) and second person (you). This is standard practice for academic, college-level writing that lends more credibility to your writing. After first introducing an author, such as Robert Frost, refer to him or her by last name only (Frost) in all subsequent uses of the name throughout your essay. *Take great care to avoid plagiarism by citing all information included in your essay that is not considered common knowledge to the general public. It is best to use a signal phrase that names your source up front and then include a direct quote that shows exactly which words and phrasing is borrowed (for example, “According to Jane Jones, “and then add a direct quote”, followed by a citation (Jones 23). When citing information from one of our course readings in your essay, cite the author of the literary selection and not Perkins, who is the editor of the text book, the one who compiled the stories together into this collection of readings. How to Cite a Reading from our Course Text Always cite the author of the story you are writing about and not the editors of the text book (Perkins). Lastname, First name. “Title of Reading.” LITR 221: American Literature from the Civil War to Present . Ed. Perkins. New York: McGraw Hill, 2014. Page range of entry. VitalSource. Turnitin.com – The 80/20% Rule When you submit your essay for grading, it is automatically submitted to Turnitin.com, which generates a similarity report showing all of the borrowed information included in your essay. In addition to needing citations for all borrowed information included, students should also aim for an 80/20% split, with 80% of the words and ideas being their own and 20% coming from direct quotes from the literature or secondary sources writing about the story. Having a similarity report that goes much above 20% is considered more of a cut and paste job rather than a critical essay and will reflect in the grade earned. Consult the Purdue Online Writing Lab for all your MLA formatting questions: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ How to Read and Understand an Expository Essay The Initial Reading Read the first paragraph (or section for a longer essay). Then, read the conclusion. Identify what seem to be key concepts introduced in the opening of the essay and those concepts that have been emphasized or that have emerged in the conclusion. Scan any headings or subheadings for a sense of progression of the development of key points. With a pen in hand, begin reading the essay from the beginning, marking in your notes or on the printed page the main ideas as you see them appearing. From your list of main ideas, annotated in the margins of each paragraph and copied to a separate page or note card, try to reconstruct mentally the main ideas of each paragraph. Identify key passages that you may wish to use as direct quotations, paraphrases, summaries, or allusions in the drafts of an essay. Subsequent Readings/Reviews Always begin by reviewing first your notes and note cards on which you have copied the annotations of main ideas from each paragraph. Turn to the text of the essay only when you fail to remember the exact reference made in the annotations of main ideas. Identify the Mode of Development Is the purpose of the essay to inform, persuade, entertain, or to explore? What is the conclusion of any argument the author may be developing? As an informational work, is the author’s voice prominent or muted? Be sure that you understand the writer’s viewpoint and purpose: Is the writer trying to explain his or her own opinion? Trying to attack another’s position? Trying to examine two sides of an issue without judgment? Is the writer being persuasive or just commenting on or describing a unique, funny, or interesting aspect of life and what it ‘says about us’? As a piece of entertainment, what specific literary humorous devices does the author employ? (See burlesque, hyperbole, understatement, other figures of speech.) As an exploratory work, what is the focus of the inquiry? What is the author’s relationship to that focus? Is s/he supportive, hostile, indifferent? What? Analysis of the Author Explain the author’s attitude toward the subject of the essay. Is s/he sympathetic to the thesis, issue, or key concepts? Explore on the Internet and/or other electronic or print media any information you can find about the author and the essay. Explain how this external information better helps to understand the essay. Explain what seems to be the author’s motivation in writing the essay and what s/he hopes to accomplish with the composition. Identify any other factors in the author’s biography or notes that seem relevant to the purpose of the composition. Some Major Essayists Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) St. John de CrevecÅ“ur (1725-1813) Thomas Paine (1737-1809) Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) James Madison (1751-1836) Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) Frederick Douglass (1817?-1895) Herman Melville (1819-1891 James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) Mark Twain (1835-1910) Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) H. L. Menken (1880-1956) E. B. White (1899- ) Ralph Ellison (1913-1994) Louis Auchincloss (1917- ) Betty Friedan (1921- ) James Baldwin (1924-1987) William F. Buckley Jr. (1925- ) Gore Vidal (1925- ) Edward Abbey (1927-1989) Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) John McPhee (1931- ) Joan Didion (1934- ) Garry Wills (1934- ) Jonathan Kozol (1936- ) Barbara Ehrenreich (1941- ) Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) George F. Will (1941- ) Garrison Keillor (1942- ) Annie Dillard (1945- ) Dave Barry (1947- ) Katha Pollitt (1949- ) Bill Bryson (1951- ) Brent Staples (1951- ) Deborah Tannen (1951- ) Anna Quindlen (1952- ) Cornel West (1953- ) David Sedaris (1956- ) Malcolm Gladwell (1963- ) Reading and Writing about Film Truman Capote is not an essayist, but he is a major American literary figure. His work is paired with the Grisham piece this week because of the emphasis on Post-modern theme and the non-fictional nature of the story told in the film. Capote was undoubtedly one of the more flamboyant characters to grace American literature. In a sharp contrast to his own persona, he set out to write a novel chronicling the murders of an all-American family in the heartland. What he produced was an epic conglomeration of his own experience as an outsider to the rural area, social weaknesses, and the faultiness of perception. This interview in The Paris Review “Truman Capote, The Art of Fiction No. 17” offers some interesting insight into Capote, the person and the author. Of particular interest is Capote’s views on his own work and, to some extent, his motivation. Even in that first published story, it is easy to see the origins of In Cold Blood. Expository essay analysis can be applied to this piece just as it could a documentary film. When watching and analyzing a purely fictional film, you can treat it as you would a novel, creating your analysis based on any of the critical schools of thought we’ve examined in this class, and thinking about fictional devices such as setting, plot, character, symbol, presence of irony, point-of-view, structure as well as the devices that are particular to the form of ‘film’- cinematography, special effects, directorial choices, acting, music, costume, etc. Like novels, films can be analyzed as singular events, or they can be compared/contrasted in a broader conversation. You might look at other works featuring the same main actor, the same main character, or that are by the same director ( comparing “Batmans”, for example). You might look at the same film in its original and re-make form ( comparing versions of The Great Gatsby, for example). Of course, is a movie is part of a larger series or has a book/comic tie-in, you can create an analysis of the movie based on how it compares to the literary version or how it works in the larger series (analyzing any of the Marvel comic movies, James Bond, Star Wars, Twilight, or the Hobbit films, for example). There are lots of options. When asked to analyze a film try to think of a persuasive thesis ( an opinion) about the film, then brainstorm at least three forms of evidence to help you construct the body paragraphs. When writing a compare/contrast, you want to think of your three forms of ‘evidence’ instead as your ‘three points of comparison’. A film analysis, then, might have thesis statement like this: The Departed deserved the Best Picture Academy Award for the superb performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. I would then construct the body of the paper to explore and discuss the performances of these three lead actors. I could have said: The Departed deserved the Best Picture Academy Award due to its gritty realism, its masterful irony, and its cinematography. The evidence I choose to support my opinion helps me to structure my piece, no matter what the evidence is. Compare and Contrast Writing If I’m comparing/contrasting, I might think of two subjects ( the original “The Great Gatsby” and the remake by Baz Luhrmann in 2013) and then three ways to compare/contrast them, my “points of comparison.” In this case, my thesis might be this: The 2013 Luhrmann “Gatsby” is superior to the original because of its use of music, color, and symbol to truly capture the spirit of the Roaring 20s and the conflict at the center of the story in a haunting and memorable way. I would then, most likely, structure the body of my paper like this: Intro with thesis 1st body paragraph: Music-discuss both films and how they handled the musical accompaniment. 2nd body paragraph: Color- and again, I would discuss both movies. 3rd body paragraph: Symbol- discuss both movies. Then I would conclude. This is called a point-by-point arrangement and can be applied to any compare and contrast assignment, whether you are examining movies, poems, generals, disease treatment protocols, presidents, graduate schools, etc.
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