Essay: Pop Culture Textual Analysis
- Choose a pop culture text to analyze in terms of disability stereotypes. Here, "text" includes such things as a television series, film, popular song, music video, video game, or comic book. Your thesis is the answer to this question: Does this text reinforce negative disability stereotypes or does it defy them?
- Research: Find, cite, and incorporate 3 credible, relevant sources. Start your research by using the skills and Library resources you learned about in English 101.
- Length: 1200 to 1500 words
- Format: Every document you submit should be formatted in MLA Style
- For in-person classes, use this worksheet: Download draft workshop worksheet (PDF)
- For online classes, use these prompts: Download draft workshop prompts (MS Word)
- Sample essay(s):
- Related links and documents:
Due dates (check calendar)
- Due date 1: Required Submit topic proposal to Blackboard by 11:59pm. This need only be a few sentences explaining which pop culture text you propose to write about. If you'd like, you may propose more than one and then later choose one.
- Due date 2: Required Submit annotated bibliography of at least 3 credible and relevant sources concerning your topic by 11:59pm. Annotated Bibliography instructions are available here.
- Due Date 3: Finished draft for draft workshop on Google Drive (follow instructions). Also, submit workshop draft to Blackboard by 11:59pm.
- Due date 4: Required Submit Revised Draft (to be graded) to Blackboard by 11:59pm. In the "comments" section on Blackboard, explain in complete sentences what revisions you completed in response to feedback.
Whether we realize or not, popular culture is a pervasive influence in all our lives. It is the source of entertainment, controversy, and even academic study. In this paper you will evaluate and analyze a text from popular culture that portrays or addresses some issue related to disability. You will begin by selecting one television series, film, popular song, video game, or music video on which to focus. Your goal is to analyze the language, structure and craft of the text, to make a claim and draw connections between the style and the author’s purpose.
This assignment requires you to "read like a writer," to read critically, and to integrate credible research with your own interpretation to arrive at a solid conclusion pertaining to the text you are analyzing. As you analyze your choice of pop culture text, does it makes use of the disability stereotypes that pervade so much of popular culture or does it instead defy those stereotypes? Make your answers to these questions a central part of your argument.
For your research, you may start with the resources you learned about in English 101. You may also want to search the websites of major publications such as the New York Times or Entertainment Weekly. You could research what others have had to say about your chosen text, or you could research what experts have had to say about the disability (or disabilities) portrayed in your text.
This essay should be directed to actual and implied audiences: both your fellow students and professor as well as an imagined audience to whom your chosen pop culture text might appeal. For example, you might choose a movie to analyze. In that case, your paper might be geared toward others who have seen that movie. You might choose a song or album by a particular musician. In that case, your readers would be fans of the that musician. Make your essay meaningful and appealing to others.
This assignment asks you to select, engage critically, and analyze a text from the world of popular culture. The goal of this assignment is to encourage you to think critically about the text, conduct a small amount of relevant research pertaining to the creator's (or creators') background, genre-specific context, style, or content, and to write a cohesive paper synthesizing your research with your own interpretation. Your paper must:
- identify the text and its creator(s), and discuss its social context/situation;
- contain a clear thesis, or claim regarding the text: make a specific argument about how the text reflects society and why it is so popular.;
- summarize the text(s) and incorporate evidence in the form of quotes and paraphrasing
- develop the analytical argument offered in your thesis, including careful evidence from the primary text and from secondary sources; and
- cite your research appropriately according to MLA Format.
Each of the following will be evaluated from 1 (Poor) to 3 (Average) to 5 (Excellent). These criteria are listed in order of importance, with the most important criteria at the top and the less important at the bottom.
- Provides a clear thesis statement in the introductory paragraph that answers this question: "Does this text reinforce negative disability stereotypes or does it defy them?"
- Introduces, uses, and explains specific evidence from the pop culture text as support for that thesis.
- Uses the conceptual framework of disability stereotypes as well as suggested ways to defy those stereotypes.
- Effectively incorporates 3 relevant, credible sources other than the pop culture text.
- Uses MLA Style correctly for citing sources.
- Uses MLA Style correctly for document formatting.
- Provides stylish, clear, and complete sentence-level writing
- Avoids major mechanical or grammatical errors.