You have 4-6 pages to critically analyze the text. You need to use at least one of the course readings; maybe you want to perform a deep-dive into one of the readings we talked about in class. Maybe you want to reject a point made by one of the authors, and you choose to demonstrate it by pointing to a film that contradicts that point. Freedom is dangerous, and you, like the Harlequin swooping down to unload jellybeans, have a ton of freedom in this assignment. With that in mind, you must meet with one of us (including Nada, our wonderful course assistant) for some guidance. You have two ways to go about this. You can either do some additional research, grounding your paper with at least one course reading, but also providing research you’ve done on your own to prove your point. We have not set a limit, but I’d imagine around 3-5 secondary sources (not including your primary source) would do it if you take this route. Alternatively, you can use one theory reading from class and the cultural text of your choice and do a deep-dive close reading, requiring no additional sources but requiring a lot of intellectual work on your part. Both offer benefits and drawbacks. You have plenty of time and space to argue your point. Your primary concern is how your object relates to the world around it. Is it a simulacrum that seeks to simulate and thus replace reality? Does it represent a transgressive rebellion against a social order, a Harlequin raging against the machine? Your goal is to signal your research question assuming that your object or text does or argues something, that it has some type of agency in which it can perform an ideological act. It analyzes. It subverts. Explain your point with careful textual allusions and key framing. Tell what you believe and show us why it’s accurate.Keep in mind that creative works are a type of representational world: they connect or disconnect in various levels of similitude. Some represent the world as is, some as it should be, some as it could never be. You do not need to connect a creative work to some historical or cultural moment. Good research can be done that solely stays within the world of the text. We call this “close reading” and that’s fine. We can learn a lot just by you helping us read and understand the text itself.
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