For our next assignment, you are to write a 4-page analytical essay on Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird (2017); this thesis driven essay should answer an interpretive question regarding the film. Generate a
that addresses this prompt. Please include a title, heading, margins, and page numbers in proper MLA format. The paper should be double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font.
The essay is due on Canvas by the posted due date.
Secondary Source Requirement : You must use multiple direct quotations from the secondary source material supplied by the instructor: “The Parent of Virtues” by Molly Brigid McGrath. DO NOT use outside research. The best use of quotations is to develop your analysis through supporting claims in the body of the essay. Use of a secondary source is required. Use proper MLA citation format.
You may explore the role of a single feature of the film; you should not attempt to explain the whole film.
You will want to explore how the feature (or set of features) shapes the nature of an idea; more than identifying a theme, how does the text define a concept or promote a viewpoint?
That is, how does the film reflect upon our world?
The final words of the film are “thank you.” In her article, McGrath makes the case that a notion of gratitude is the central theme of the film. How does the film explore the concept of gratitude and how does it more particularly define the concept?
The development of the protagonist often betrays a foundational concept of a narrative. How does Lady Bird (or Christine) change from the beginning to the end of the story? How does she stay the same? What are we to learn about our world from her evolution and/or lack thereof?
As the film progresses, Gerwig’s story adds new dimensions to characters. Often we find that our initial understandings of characters are incomplete (even if not wholly inaccurate). How does character development manifest in the film? How do our thoughts and feelings about characters change throughout the film? What does the film seem to communicate about our world via this deepening of character?
Much of the comedy in the film results from poking fun at Lady Bird’s self-centeredness. As is natural to adolescence, her own personal development (and the associated pain) blinds her to the inner lives of other people. In her defense, characters often seek to hide their pain from others: there is a social stigma against revealing our inner workings. As such, the film becomes concerned with the power of empathy and compassion. How are notions of empathy and/or compassion manifested in this film? What does Gerwig seem to want to say about those ideas and/or their relationship to self-centeredness? You will want to explore the moments that characters open up (or fail to open up) to one and other.
A topic of your own development…
Introduction and Thesis
: That said, bottom line:
the essay MUST have a thesis
. A thesis is a statement that comes as the last sentence of the introductory paragraph. It is not a question; it is not a statement of fact:
the thesis is a claim that you will support with the body of the essay
So, “In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris is able to outwit all of the adults” is not a thesis.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is about rebelling against authority” is not a very good thesis.
Here’s what we are going for: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off uses an idealized teen hero to model what a meaningful, productive—rather than merely lazy—rebellion against flawed authority should look like: young people may justifiably rebel against authority so long as they make the most of the lives they take back.” This sentence makes a clear claim that a feature of the primary source works to produce a defined message applicable to our world.
: This multi-paragraph essay should begin with an
culminating in a
, present a series of body paragraphs that begin with
, and end with a
You must support claims with specific evidence from the text: this means that you will have to specifically describe formal elements of the film and use quotations.
Imagine that your reader has seen the film a year or so ago; you will have to describe evidence to give your reader a vivid mental picture of the evidence.
A Word on Style
: Style is a complex concern, but as the most basic level we want to employ
formal collegiate prose
. Analyze using the
; avoid slang or casual phrasing; use the third-person and do not use personal pronouns (I, you, me); choose active verb constructions whenever possible.
Feel free to visit my office hours for help developing a topic or evidence, or even just to run an idea by me. The ACE and NetTutor also available for assistance; be sure to take this assignment sheet to any ACE or NetTutor appointment.
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