Five Page Paper
Papers should be double-spaced, in 12-point font, and approximately 5 pages long. Each prompt
requires you to use Alan Rowe’s essay “Film Form and Narrative” and one additional course
reading. ( https://www.popmatters.com/164954-interview-with-aurora-guerrero-2495801265.html ) You will construct an argument about one film, Mosquita y Mari. The best papers will
likely be those where the author has seen the film more than once.
1. A thesis: concisely state what you’re arguing and why it matters (the stakes).
2. Examples: specific scenes or trends from the film that demonstrate your argument.
3. Evidence: quotes from readings that support your argument and choice of examples. This is where class concepts come in!
What makes a good thesis?:
First and foremost, a thesis makes an arguable claim.
It is not just an observation.
A good thesis shows the reader something, rather than just telling them something. It outlines the stakes (the ‘so what?’) of your argument.
These may be multiple sentences but should be as concise as possible.
Tips on Formulating a Strong Thesis
(thanks to Professor Christen Sasaki in Ethnic Studies for compiling these)
A strong thesis statement is one of the most important parts of a paper. When you are crafting your thesis you want to make sure that it is more than an observation. Here are some questions to ask yourself when checking to see if you have a strong thesis statement:
Does it . . .
… take a specific position or make an interesting claim? (rather than just stating a fact or observation)
… express one main idea and demonstrate why it is important?
… need to be supported by significant discussion?
… answer the question, “why does this matter?”
If your answer is yes to all of these questions, then you most likely have a strong thesis statement. Remember, a thesis often consists of more than one sentence. Prioritize clarity in writing your thesis: does it state your claim clearly? Does it outline the stakes of your argument?
When crafting your thesis, ask yourself: is it arguable?
In other words, is it more than a yes/no answer?
Can you have a discussion or argument about your claim?
A revised thesis: “Pariah follows Alike’s struggle to be her authentic self. In this essay, I argue that the film uses lighting to symbolize the tensions and contradictions Alike must navigate to be her true self and draws attention to the intersecting forces of gender, sexuality, and class which shape her experience.”
1. Settings. Chose a film and made an argument about the significance of its settings. For this topic, you
will need to identify the film’s different settings and then analyze their meanings. You may want to focus
on particular settings such as interiors, parties or celebrations, urban settings, and landscapes. How do
different settings frame characters and anchor them in different meanings? How do settings convey
information about class, race, gender, and sexuality? Does the constructed world or worlds of the film
comment on the limits and possibilities of our actual world?
2. Narrative. Rowe suggests that we can begin to analyze many film narratives in terms of an initial
equilibrium, then the disruption of that equilibrium, and finally, the establishment of a new equilibrium,
different from the equilibrium at the film’s start. Does your chosen film conform to or depart from that
narrative structure? How might that narrative structure help us understand the significance of the film’s
story? In particular, you may want to focus on the ending. Each film’s ending is relatively open-ended.
The film endings suggest possible futures for their characters but their subsequent stories aren’t told and
we don’t definitively know their fates. What is the meaning of such open-ended conclusions?
3. Respectability Politics. Historically, models of respectability have celebrated heterosexual marriage
and reproduction; “normal” gender roles; and respect for and deference to authority. On the one hand, by
identifying with such forms of “respectability,” BIPOC communities have countered forms of racism
based on ideas about their deviancy and immorality. On the other hand, identifying with respectability has
reinforced the definitions of deviancy and immorality that have been used to depict BIPOC
communities as dangerous and disposable. Choose a film and construct an argument about how it
represents such contradictions. To what extent does the film challenge respectability politics? How do the
filmmakers use the tools discussed by Rowe to represent and comment on “respectability”?
4. Sound. Chose a film and made an argument about its use of sound. According to Rowe, sound can
reinforce the continuity of action and link different scenes. Music, in particular, can establish or enhance
emotion, or help lead an audience to a particular understanding of a scene. While you could focus on all
sorts of sounds, you may want to focus in particular on music. Music can identify characters and attach
particular meanings to them (Rowe cites as an example The Godfather, where different kinds of music
mark differences of class and nationality between different characters). How is sound used in one of the
three films and to what effect? Be sure to draw on not only Rowe but one other assigned reading.
When quoting from or citing course readings, please use the “Chicago Style,” which means all
relevant information is incorporated into endnotes. For more information, follow this link to
selections from The Chicago Manual of Style:
The first time your reference a film or a course reading, provide an endnote in this format:
Title (Director, Date).
El Norte (Gregory Nava, 1983).
For endnotes referencing course readings, copy and paste from the syllabus, and add a page
number where relevant.
Priya Kandaswamy, “Gendering Racial Formation,” Racial Formation in the Twenty-First
After the first reference to a text in the endnotes, subsequent references can be made
parenthetically, in the main body of the essay. For example: Rita Raley argues that contemporary
forms of electronic civil disobedience build on earlier histories of dissent (Raley, 43).
Five Page Paper Papers should be double-spaced, in 12-point font, and approximat
Five Page Paper