Paper #2: Analyzing a Visual Text for Messages about Gender and/or Racial Identity
Write a paper in which you engage in a close textual analysis of a visual text such as a TV series, film, music video, political ad or series of ads, commercial advertisement, etc. The purpose of your close textual analysis is to develop a paper that thoroughly answers this question: What messages or ideas about gender or racial/ethnic identity are embedded within this text beyond the most obvious stated, intended messages?
For the purposes of this assignment we are referring to these visual media as “visual texts” so as to emphasize that it is necessary to “read into” them in order to develop an intelligent, original analysis. Quite often, when a writer/producer/artist/etc. creates something, they embed ideas within it beyond the most obvious elements of the text. These ideas are sometimes intentionally placed so as to add more complex or nuanced meaning.
In some cases, these messages/ideas are intentionally placed so as to provoke thought by the viewer.
In some situations, the creator did not necessarily intend for an implied message/idea to be displayed, but they unconsciously included something that reflects messages/ideas they take for granted or those that are held by many within the society.
To engage in a true close textual analysis, you must be able to find these sub-textual messages within the visual text chosen. In other words, you are looking for meaning that is not directly stated. It may be somewhat “hidden” or might be only implied.
To help you get started in your analysis, look for details within the plot, the portrayal of characters, dialogue, sound and visual cues, and/or even framing preferences that might send messages about gender.
For this assignment, YOU MAY NOT DO ANY ADDITIONAL RESEARCH beyond viewing your chosen visual text itself and reading the assigned essays in Chapters 5 and 6 in Rereading America. You must develop your paper based on your own ideas and observations (informed by the readings and class discussions) and use one of the assigned essays in this learning unit to support your analysis of the visual text. Therefore, you should choose a visual text about which you feel you can develop an intelligent analysis. Since this is an analysis of a visual text and you are required to include some info from one of the assigned essays, you will need to properly cite both your primary source (the visual text) and the secondary source (the essay) in order to avoid plagiarism. Therefore, make sure your review the Pearson Tutorials on avoiding plagiarism and the MLA citation style included in this Learning Unit in order to prepare for this paper assignment.
This paper must be typed, double spaced, font: Times New Roman 12 or Arial 11.
This paper must be at least 5 paragraphs in length AND must be at least 1000 words long. This generally equals 3 complete pages. Do not exceed 4 pages. If you do not meet the minimum length requirement, you will not earn a passing grade on the paper.
Any plagiarism on this paper or any of the steps in the writing process will lead to immediate failure of this course, so please do not make that mistake.
The Writing Process
MANDATORY: Submit the Outline Worksheet in the Assignments section of the course. This worksheet can be found in the Assignments tool and the Learning Unit #3 folder as a Microsoft Word document that you can download. It asks you to develop your thesis statement as well as the topic sentences for your body paragraphs. After you submit this completed worksheet, I will reply to you with feedback on your thesis & topic sentences and specific suggestions as to how these might be revised to more successfully craft a quality paper.
OPTIONAL: Submit a 1st draft to the online tutoring site Smarthinking, following the Smarthinking link on the home page of this course (under Student Resources). This draft should be your best attempt at the completed paper, not a “sloppy copy” or an incomplete paper. Instead, seek to develop your very best version of the paper at that point, complete with proper proofreading and editing.
Submit the final draft of Paper #2 in the Assignments section of the course.
On your Outline Worksheet you will receive feedback and a grade that indicates credit for submitting the assignment. However, the grade is ultimately of less importance. Instead, the FEEDBACK provided by your instructor is of ultimate importance. Utilize this feedback to proceed in the writing process in order to develop a quality first and final draft that will earn a successful grade.