Minor Assignment 1

In English 109, Professor Mary Hays assigned us an essay with the following prompt.

This is a low stakes assignment addressing the following Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  1. Identify and analytically employ narrative elements such as plot, character, narrator, point of view (first-, second-, and third-person), theme, motif, imagery, and tropes/figurative language.
  2. Produce compelling evidence within literary-critical arguments, and structure a coherent written explication of a text using the language of literary criticism.

This week we will watch some movies in class. You’ll write a review of either Ryan or Alter Egos or both films together. Look at the Baraka guide to writing movie reviews for directions on how to critique a movie.

Your review should be 350-500 words. It is due before class on Tuesday.

A movie review is very much like a literature paper. In a literature paper you analyze the elements of fiction and how they are working in the story, providing support in the form of quotations, summary, and paraphrase of the text. Note that the emphasis is on analysis. Assume your reader has read the book, and so use only minimal summary–only enough to help your reader locate the passage you want to talk about. Also, closely link your summary with the analytical point you want to make. In a movie review, you are also analyzing–this time to convince your reader to see (or not to see) the movie. To that end, you don’t want to summarize too much lest you spoil the enjoyment of the viewers who want to discover how the movie ends on their own.

Here you will analyse the filmmakers’ success in using any of the elements of fiction and/or cinema at play here. You may make a recommendation about whether this movie is worth watching, but the primary focus should be on your analysis.

Remember that the movie itself is a primary source. You will make it clear to your reader when you are using material from the film (usually in the form of paraphrase, unless you took very careful notes so you can quote it.) For this paper, please provide both in-text citations and a works cited page for each source you use. (You’re not required to use secondary sources for this assignment, but you may if you like.) You can use easybib.com to format your citations. Your response must include a works cited page and in text citations where appropriate.

Here’s the information you’ll need:

  • Title: Alter Egos
  • Company: Copper Heart Entertainment
  • Date: 2004
  • Director: Laurence Green
  • Title: Ryan
  • Company: Copper Heart Entertainment
  • Date: 2004
  • Director: Chris Landreth

When I grade these response papers, I will look for:

  • A specific and descriptive title.
  • Detailed review of the movie, including not only an analysis of the themes, plot, setting, characters, and dialog, but also your opinion of anything that affected your viewing of it, like cinematography, score, editing, narration, etc.
  • Clear, concise writing.
  • Focused paragraphs.
  • Logical organization of your response.
  • A works cited list and in-text citations for any source you use, including the primary source. Citations should be in MLA format.