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The modern experience is the experience of being bombarded by media, of all types, from all directions, at all times. Our ability to comprehend the world is, now more than ever, contingent on our ability to make sense of these streams of communication. To further hone this ability, you will write a “media analysis essay,” demonstrating your skills at reading a text, analyzing a text, and understanding a text.Select one of the prompts from the reverse side of this page, and then write an essay to the prompt of minimum five pages. Specific formatting guidelines are below.While the prompts vary in scope and intent, all successful essays will meet the following guidelines:–Ensure your analysis is rigorous. It would be easy to focus on, for example, the film Children of Men as a plot-heavy sci-fi thriller, but to do so would miss the complex layers of reference, allusion, and theme that we discussed in class. Do as much legwork as possible before starting to write; a solid foundation of complex, multi-disciplinary analysis will be key.–Ensure you are interpreting, and not simply describing, the text. The point here is not to give me a book report; I have read/watched/played/listened to all of the texts, and I don’t need them described. A summary will be useful for you in the pre-writing stage, but it is expressly not the purpose of this essay. You are examining a work not to tell me what it is, but why it is; what is the purpose of the work? That is the question you are trying to answer.–Ensure your interpretation is consequential. All of the texts I have chosen are dealing with big, weighty issues (even if they might not seem to do so at first glance). Saying the point of Children of Men is that babies are important is inconsequential; no one can argue with that. Saying that Children of Men is interrogating the trend in liberal democracies towards more closed societies is consequential; one can argue with that, but more importantly, that interpretation makes the film an argument about society and progress–which does matter.Although not required, I strongly encourage you to make use of supplemental sources. All the texts available to choose from have produced substantial critical and scholarly material. Use the Internet or Ivy Tech’s library resources to find interviews with the authors/directors/artists involved, seek out their other work, incorporate biographical information, explore historical context, and chase down anything that seems like an artistic reference. All supplemental sources must be cited in MLA format; failure to cite the use of material that is not your own is considered plagiarism.All essays will be typed and in MLA format:–One-inch margins on all sides, 12-pt font, Times or Times New Roman–Left alignment, non-justified, double line and paragraph spacing–Name block in the upper left corner, title centered below name block–First paragraph not indented, all other paragraphs indented–MLA-format citations (source in-line with the text, “Works Cited” page)–Your last name and page numbers in upper right cornerAll essays will be a minimum of five pages with a soft maximum of ten pages. If you go to eleven or twelve pages, that’s fine; if your essay is twenty pages long, you’re belaboring your points. Be concise. Use specific moments from the text. Make sure your analysis is serving your interpretation.The essay will be graded according to the rubric posted on our course website.Due Sunday, October 28th, by 11:59pm, via Blackboard. No copy+paste submissions; PDF, .doc or .docx file attachment only.Texts:1. “Redeployment,” by Phil Klay. Short story. 2014.Prompt: The narrator of “Redeployment” is a veteran returning from the war in Iraq. How does the author, Phil Klay, establish and reinforce the narrator’s distance from the society to which he is returning? How does he use narrative distance, diction, sentence length and rhythm, and motif to inform the reader of the narrator’s mental state and sense of isolation, and why? What is Phil Klay trying to say about the experience of veterans? NOTE: Your essay is on the title story, not on the entire eponymous collection.2. Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott. Feature film. 1982.Prompt: Blade Runner takes place in a futuristic, dystopian Los Angeles. How does the film’s director, Ridley Scott, use set design, costume design, and sound design to establish a series of thematic references for his future city? How is that city similar or different from what we know of Los Angeles today? What do these thematic references have to tell us, the viewer, about the type of society Scott is depicting, and what is Scott trying to tell us about our own?3. Braid, developed by Jonathan Blow. Video game. 2008.Prompt: The central gameplay concept of Braid is the manipulation of time. How does Braid weave this theme of the fluidity of time into its narrative, such that understanding the flow of time ultimately becomes necessary for understanding of the game’s plot? How does Braid play with the video game trope of “Rescue the Princess” to show us something about the game’s protagonist? What does Blow intend to say with his ending, especially the explicit reference to the Kenneth Bainbridge quote “Now we are all sons of bitches”?4. The Wall, by Pink Floyd. Rock concept album. 1979.Prompt: Pink Floyd’s The Wall is a concept album open to many interpretations–it can be read as a character story of a drug-addled rock star, as an extended metaphor for the barrier between an artist and his audience, and as a social commentary on post-war England. How does the album use musical motif to establish characters (or groups of characters), and then alter those motifs in order to change our perceptions (such as the difference between the tracks “In the Flesh?” and “In the Flesh”)? If the album is social commentary, what is the commentary, and where do you see this theme developed most directly? What do we make of The Wall’s comparison between rock stars and fascist dictators, and what can that tell us about contemporary populists?
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