Final Draft Submission

Please make sure you can answer yes to these questions before submitting your final paper:

Finally, please submit your final essay to this Dropbox Link:


Web Sources

For your research paper, I am encouraging you to use a combination of scholarly sources from the databases (academic journals, scholarly articles, etc) and non-scholarly web sources (movie reviews, editorials, opinion articles, television episode recaps, pop culture analysis video essays, etc). However, it is not effective or efficient to type the name of your exhibit into Google and hope for the best, so here are some pop culture and entertainment websites that I would recommend. Use the search function on these websites to search for your exhibit or topics related to the exhibit and its genre. – Offers news and commentary on movies and TV shows – Specializes in science fiction and fantasy – Also offers news and commentary on movies and TV shows and an interesting look at Guillermo Del Toro’s love of monsters – More focused on reviews than analysis – Has a great “Longform” section with in-depth reviews and deep dives into popular franchises and genres – Interviews and reviews – An online newspaper with a Culture section that provides reviews and commentary

The New York Times – Their entire Arts section discusses movies and TV, but they also have this “Anatomy of a Scene” section where directors offer commentary and analysis on specific movie scenes – In-depth reviews and commentary on pop culture as well as TV episode recaps for shows like The Walking Dead

The AV Club – Similar to Vulture, but more casual in their writing approach. Also includes TV episode recaps

YouTube channels – As I mentioned in class, video essays are an interesting medium for analysis, but due to their popularity, be wary of those that are based entirely in opinion or conspiracy rather than analysis. The mark of a good video essay is one that utilizes evidence, either from the exhibit they are analyzing, or from secondary sources. Steer clear of videos that are centered around “Why _____ is Bad” or “Everything Wrong with ______”

Crash Course Film – Offers videos on film criticism and analysis, but also offers videos that explain the film making process, such as the “language” of cameras

ScreenPrism – Offers commentary and analysis with a focus on the symbolism of films and the defining features of specific famous directors

Nerdwriter – In depth-analysis on everything from fine art and poetry to pop culture to technology, including a video on how Pan’s Labyrinth breaks the rules of fairy tales

RenegadeCut – In-depth analysis that focuses on philosophy and political themes in movies, including a video on symbolism in Pan’s Labyrinth and the parallels between the fantasy world and reality

What’s So Great About That? – Focuses on horror and fantasy

Functions of Sources

Your research paper starts with a research question, which will serve as the basis for both the analysis of your exhibit and the engagement with secondary sources. As we’ve discussed in class and as is required by the final paper assignment, we should consider sources in terms of function – ie, how they will be used within the context of the bodies of our essays. As I’ve said in class, sources do not simply exist to prove that you are “right” since interpretive, analytical research essays do not necessarily have a “right” and “wrong” answer. Instead, a writer of an effective, in-depth research paper should consider how there are many possible perspectives on a given topic/exhibit and that the writer is using their essay to join that framework of perspectives.

When you are doing your own research into these different perspectives, consider the purpose that sources will serve for you. Use these questions as guidelines for determining a source’s purpose, and then utilize the source according to that purpose in your essay (this does not mean you have to answer every single one of these questions in your essay).

Contextual sources are used to answer these kinds of questions:

  • Context about the exhibit:
    • Who made the exhibit (director, writer, production company, television network, video game production company, etc)?
    • How popular/well-known is the exhibit? Does it have high ratings? Did it earn a lot of money in movie theaters?
    • Who watches or engages with the exhibit the most?
    • When or where was the exhibit released?
    • What is the exhibit’s premise? What is its setting? Who are its main characters?
  • Context about the exhibit’s social or political background:
    • What are the main social or political issues addressed in the show?
    • What contemporary real-world reporting has been done about these issues?
    • Is the exhibit inspired by social or political issues from history?
    • What is the historical background of the exhibit and its setting?

Use contextual sources in places in your essay where you need to provide summary and background information about the exhibit or its social, political, or historical circumstances.

Argument sources are used to answer these kinds of questions:

  • What have other writers said about the exhibit? Scholars? Film analysts? Reviewers?
  • How have other writers interpreted the exhibit?
  • Is there a predominant viewpoint about the exhibit? What is it?
  • Has the predominant viewpoint changed over time?
  • Is there a debate about the exhibit? Why? What are the different perspectives in the debate? Where do you fit in to the conversation?

Use argument sources in places in your essay where you need to respond to other writers. Also, use argument sources where your analysis of the exhibit either builds off of another writer’s work or challenges another writer’s work.

Theoretical sources are used to answer these kinds of questions:

  • How is the exhibit typically classified?
  • Is it classified or categorized in a variety of ways?
  • Can you classify the exhibit’s genre (ex. horror, fantasy, action, fairy tale, thriller, comedy, animation, anime, etc)?
  • Can you classify the exhibit according to its social context (ex. post 9/11 media, postwar media, feminist media, mainstream media, etc)?
  • Can you classify the exhibit as part of a larger body of work (ex. movies directed by a famous director, shows released by a popular television studio, something created as a part of a social/political movement, etc)?
  • How are these categories defined? How do they typically work (according to experts or scholars)? What do they typically do (according to experts or scholars)?

Use theoretical sources in places in your essay where you need to establish a lens for your analysis of the exhibit.

Individual Conferences

Please remember that on Tuesday, November 27th and Thursday, November 29th, we will not be meeting for class. Instead, we will be meeting for our ten minute one-on-one meetings. Come meet with me in our classroom to discuss your research paper on the date and time you signed up for on the sheet I handed in class.

If you were absent, please sign up for a meeting time on this Google Doc. You can also double-check what time you signed up for on the Google Doc if you’ve forgotten.

Since we will not be having class, you only need to come in for the date and time you’ve chosen. Please bring the latest version of your essay draft with you.

Homework for 11/20

Refer back to the video we watched in class (Pan’s Labyrinth Crash Course Film Criticism), hosted by Michael Aranda. Identify a moment where Aranda refers to a secondary source in the video and then responds to it with his analysis. In a comment on this post, write a sentence (or two) that summarizes Aranda’s interaction with the other source. Your summary must follow one of the “They Say/I Say” templates from “Starting with What Others Are Saying,” or it should at least follow a similar structure to one of the templates.

Remember, in this instance, “they” stands for any of the other sources or perspectives Aranda mentions, while “I” refers to Aranda himself.

Sample Student Responses

Two examples of how to conduct visual analysis (note: these are not essays written in response to our assignment, but they still do a great job demonstrating how to analyze an advertisement):

An example of a strong essay that was written in response to our assignment:

Lastly, a sample paragraph that follows the structure found in our lens analysis handout, which is color-coordinated to show the steps and written about the Surrogates movie poster:

Steps of a Lens Analysis Paragraph



Tips for Choosing an Advertisement

If you choose to pick your own advertisement for Essay 2, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, your advertisement should be static (ie not a video) and it should be primarily visual (of course, there can be some text incorporated into it, but images should be the main focus).

If you’re unsure of where to look, Ads of the World, Coloribus, or AdForum might be good places to start. You can use an ad from another country as long as it is appropriate to this assignment.

Consider ads that feature monstrosity in some way. This can mean:

  • advertisements that contain an explicit or obvious monster or monstrous image. Think zombies, vampires, Godzilla, horror movie posters, ads for shows like Stranger Things or The Walking Dead, etc. The King Kong posters are an example of this.
  • advertisements that do not contain a literal monster, but rather, are conceptually monstrous. In other words, you should be able to argue that something about the exhibit is monstrous as defined by Cohen. Consider ads that depict something strange, grotesque, or seemingly unnatural, such as ads for American Horror Story, Lady Gaga’s Fame perfume, the Land Rover ad, the Levi’s Kids ad, or the Surrogates movie poster.

If you are choosing your own ad, please post a link to it in a comment on this post before Thursday, October 18th.

Monstrous Advertisements

For Essay 2, you will have the option to use static advertisements of your own choosing, but here are some additional examples/options (warning: some are NSFW and/or gross).

King Kong Posters

King Kong movie posters

Land Rover Wildebeest Print Ad

Land Rover advertisement

Levi’s Kids Ad

Levi’s Kids advertisement

Click on the images to view them larger:


Before Submitting Your Final Draft

As we agreed on in class, the official due date for the final draft of Essay 1 is Monday, October 8th at 11:59 PM.

However, before submitting your essay, review it alongside our lessons and your class notes:

In addition, you can look into the chapter on rhetorical analysis in The Little Seagull Handbook (Chapter W-8 starting on page 49), as well as the section on MLA formatting (starting on page 119 in the R section).

Announcements and Homework for 9/28

As I mentioned in class on Tuesday, I’ve moved over our two upcoming due dates:
The formal draft of essay 1 is now due Friday, September 28th at 11:59 PM, and the final draft is due Sunday, October 7th at 11:59.

On Tuesday, we practiced writing body paragraphs that followed the format on this handout. The assignment was to find one example of a rhetorical pattern, one example of Cohen using ethos, logos, or pathos, and one example of Cohen using a literary device in “Monster Culture,” then to craft a body paragraph centered around one of your chosen examples. Please write your body paragraph in a comment on this post.

Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar