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PAPER #2: THEORIZING MONSTERS

Choose one of the following options on which to write a 3.5 to 5 page paper.

OPTION 1: 28 Days Later

Having watched 28 Days Later in class, our next paper will ask you to use at least one of the theoretical readings from the unit as a basis for an argument that addresses one of the following questions. You may choose to answer one of these questions in response to 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, or both films.

  • Using "Monster Culture (Seven Theses)" as a guide, identify a monster from the films and argue why specifically it should be seen as a monster. This essay will need to quote heavily from the essay and analyze specific scenes in relation to points from the essay.

  • Is Selena the ultimate "Final Girl" as described in "Slashers and Post-Slasher"? Quoting from the essay, argue for or against Selena as a final girl in the film. Alternatively, can Hannah be seen as a final girl?

  • The Monster Show argues that horror films tell us about the specific anxieties of a particular cultural moment in history. Consider the following potential cultural themes identified in 28 Days Later films: scientific research, disease, political activism, the military, urban life, violence, human nature, gender presentations, and so on. Using at least one of the readings as a springboard into your own cultural analysis of the films, trace how one (or more) of the films weaves a cultural issue into otherwise straightforward horror flick.

OPTION 2: I Am Legend or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Using "Monster Culture (Seven Theses)" as a guide, identify a monster from one of the books and argue why specifically it should be seen as a monster. This essay will need to quote heavily from the essay and analyze specific scenes in relation to points from the essay.
  • Using the same kind of cultural critique featured in The Monster Show, explain how either book (pick just one) speaks to a specific set of cultural fears from its time. Be aware that you will need to look up additional information about the time period in order to successfully argue your case.
  • Please note that if you return to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you need to have a topic different from your first paper that uses the theory extensively.

Each of you will need to write a 3.5 to 5 page paper that deals with one of the above topics. You will need to quote from both the primary text (either a film or novel) and the secondary source (i.e. the theories from the syllabus), avoid summarization, and argue a specific interpretation. A works cited page is expected, plagiarism is forbidden, and proper quote mechanics (including citations, signal phrases, and quotation marks) are required. Make sure your introduction sets up both the primary text and the theory with an introduction of the titles of key works and authors/directors.

A final caution: while you will be using the theories from the readings to support your argument, remember that you are building your own argument and using the readings as support for your interpretation. Don't let the readings take over your own ideas.

Expectations of a successful paper:

  • Your introductory paragraph will identify the author, the title of the text, and a clear thesis about the text that informs the reader of the topic your argument specifically addresses and the point you are trying to make about that topic. It should lay out the major points you will address in the paper, and it should end with a strong "springboard" statement that offers the reader a clear connection between the paragraphs that are to follow.
  • The specific monster theories should be introduced by author's name and the title of the work. This introduction may fit in the introductory paragraph, or it might be saved for the first time you use it depending on how central it is to your overall argument. Do not assume that your reader is familiar with the theory: give them enough information to understand what the theory says in order to follow the claim you are trying to make using the theory.
  • Discussion of the action of a novel or a film should take place in the present tense: "Jekyll drinks the potion and immediately transforms into Hyde."
  • Each of the body paragraphs should have a clear introduction that identifies the specific point being made and the connection to the overall argument of the paper. Each paragraph should also offer at least one quote from the text for analysis, complete with a proper MLA-style parenthetical citation, a signal phrase, and discussion after each quote that uses the quote as evidence to support the paragraph's thesis.
  • At least one block quote should be used in the novel that takes a large chunk of text and presents it for analysis. See A Writer's Reference for a review of how to properly format a block quote.
  • The conclusion should tie together the three major points of the body paragraphs and synthesize the evidence to expand the thesis statement into a more significant final point.
  • There should be a properly formatted works cited page with at least at least two entries on it. Make sure that you are clear if your theory is article in an anthology or just a chapter from a book.
  • The paper should be between 3 to 5 pages long. No more, no less.
  • The paper should follow the MLA style guidelines in A Writer's Reference. All margins should be 1" and the font should be 12pt Times New Roman.
  • The paper should be free of plagiarism and should not reflect the contents of Spark Notes or similar sites.

CAUTION: There is no need to specifically name each thesis from Cohen's essay in the body of your paper. Make sure each quote you use from your theoretical source actually matches the example from your primary text. Just putting an unrelated theory quote next to an example from your primary text is not enough: the theory must help explain or interpret the point being made about the primary text.

Previously Learned Skills required for this assignment:

  • Ability to follow format.
  • Ability to use a handbook to document sources.
  • Constructing a strong introduction.
  • Use of signal phrases for quotes.
  • Proper placement and punctuation of parenthetical citations.
  • Short and long quote mechanics.
  • Quote inside quote skills.
  • Textual analysis.
  • Argumentation and analysis.
  • Use of drafts to promote deep revision, effective editing, and a strong final product.
  • Peer review skills.
  • MS Word skills.

New Skills required for this assignment:

  • Ability to deal with indirect sources.
  • Ability to cite from multiple sources.
  • Ability to introduce theories of others.
  • Ability to use or challenge theories of others to support unique interpretations of a text.
  • Minimization of summary in favor of analysis.
  • Proper demarkation of titles of essays, films, and books.

 

 
 

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