Essay: Pop Culture Textual Analysis

The Basics

Due dates (check calendar)


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:


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.