Literature and the Human Experience
Introduction to Film Study and Genres in American Film

Remember: you are required to write 1 paper out of the 3 I assign. You have the option of writing a 2nd paper, in which case I will count the highest paper score and throw out the lowest. But keep in mind that if you wait until the 3rd assignment to write, you will not have the option of writing a 2nd paper.

Write an essay addressing one of the questions listed below:
1. Compare/contrast one of the following pairs:
?the townspeople of Hadleyville v. the townspeople of Big Whiskey
?one of the major women characters in High Noon (Amy, Mrs. Helen Ramirez) vs. one of
the major women characters in Unforgiven (Strawberry Alice, Delilah)
?Will Kane v. “Little” Bill Daggett

2. Who are the antagonists in High Noon and Unforgiven (remember, an antagonist is anything or anyone who conflicts with the protagonist)? What overall messages are the films sending about “civilized” societies (the towns) versus the “wilderness?

3. Robert Ray says that in American culture, there are two kinds of heroes: “official” and “outlaw.” Which one, according to Ray, do we most prefer and why? Do you agree? Using Ray’s scheme, how would you categorize Will Kane and William Munny?

4. Film critics have described Unforgiven as an “anti-western western”; that is, the film is a western that shows the falseness of the western genre. Expand upon this idea: in what ways does the film refute conventions of the genre, such as the western hero, and in what ways does it conform to the conventions? What overall messages about westerns does the film send?

5. Topic of your choice dealing with High Noon and/or Unforgiven (run it by me first).

Your essay should be a minimum of 500 words (format: double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, MLA citation style. No title page necessary: just put your name and the title of your essay at the top of the 1st page). Your discussion should have a thesis (an overall argument that you will prove) and use textual evidence (that is, you should identify, quote, and analyze the sections of the movies and/or readings that support your argument). Finally, you should strive to avoid plot summary, so you don’t need to recount all the events of the work: focus only on those which are immediately relevant to your discussion. Feel free to ask questions during any part of the writing process.


Literature and the Human Experience