English and Literature

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Essay 1 Assignment:

Like advertisers, producers of television shows and movies often argue that they do not create problems, but simply reflect the values of society. Do you think this is the case? Do TV and film simply reflect the values of society, or do they have an influence on the way people behave? To answer this question, choose a particular film or television genre and analyze how it either reflects society (or a segment of society) or influences it.

Write an essay in which you explain your perspective on whether film or television influences society or simply reflects its values. Take into account the views expressed by any of the writers in this chapter. Focus on a specific film or television genre about which you have formed an opinion regarding how it reflects or encourages certain social values or kinds of behavior after reading the assigned texts. Supplement those readings with additional research. Then explain in detail your own position using the class readings and your research to support your analysis of the film or television genre you are focusing on and how it either reflects or influences its audience. For instance, you could focus on popular sitcoms like Modern Family and analyze how they reflect current values in American society or, alternatively, how they promote them (depending on your argument). As another example, you could choose a film series like the Fast and the Furious and analyze either how it has an impact on youth today or simply reflects the values already there, again depending on your position.


Your first task is to provide your readers with sufficient background information to understand the specific genre you have chosen to consider, identifying the features that define the genre, the history of genre, and how your example TV shows or films fit into that genre.

Your second task is to provide your readers with some background information to understand the specific position you are taking with regard to whether your chosen genre has an impact on society or simply reflects it. You will then need to develop a supportable thesis reflecting your perspective on the way this television or film genre influences or is influenced by society.

Your third task is to use well-chosen examples and facts to support your thesis. Use a minimum of three sources to do this. Provide support, including at least one citation in every body paragraph. (Remember, you must cite a source any time you summarize, paraphrase or quote an idea that is not your own.) Although quotes are generally used sparingly, a minimum of four quotes is required for this paper.

Create a Works Cited page that is properly formatted in MLA.  Chapters 6 & 7 in PCI give these directions.

Because this is an academic piece of writing based on facts and research, the use of the personal pronoun “I” is probably inappropriate. Do not use phrases like, “In my opinion,” as you are making an argument supported by evidence, not just stating your beliefs. You are writing for a general academic audience that has little knowledge of the topic you are discussing.

Page Limit:  4 -6 pages plus a Works Cited page (MLA format)

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