THE TERM PAPER
Due:  The Last day of lectures


Your assignment is to watch one of the following films (they are available for rent through Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Netflix and most large video rental stores; or you can buy them at Best Buy, Circuit City, Fryís or Amazon.com ) and:

Write a four to five page (typed, double spaced) essay about the protagonist using the concepts and theories that you have learned in this class to explain or explore the following four questions. Here are some ideas (only some; many more can be drawn from the text or your notes of the lecture) that can be explored in answering the questions:

(1) The manifestation of major issues of adolescence (identity, autonomy, achievement, intimacy) you see occurring with the protagonist. For example, there are many important influences on the development of an adolescentís identity: Bandura describes how certain individuals are models that inspire or promote different attitudes and behaviors by their own behavior. Are there such role models that impact the protagonist? Steinberg notes that ďthe more alternatives [for future career and life style] available to the young person, and the more areas in which decisions must be made, the more difficult establishing a sense of identity.Ē Do you see such difficulties? Erikson proposed that an adolescent goes through an identity crisis; did you see any evidence of this, and if so, what? In terms of autonomy, four types were identified: Emotional, Behavioral, Value, and Financial; Is the protagonist struggling in anyway in any of these areas? In terms of intimacy, what issues (or theories) do you think apply to explaining the protagonistís emotional attachment to the various people with whom he or she interacts.

(2) The relationship the protagonist has with peers, parents, teachers (and other authority figures), siblings, and other significant people in the personís life. What the nature of the relationship of the protagonist with his or her parents (or parental figures); i.e., is it Authoritative, Authoritarian, Indulgent or Indifferent and to what consequence? Do they belong to the clique (or a crowd or is the individual as isolate) how does this impact the way the protagonist interacts with peers? Is there a special problemódepression, negative self image, antisocial tendencies that impact the way he or she interacts with others? Does the protagonist need to be more individualistic or collectivistic in his or her outlook?

(3) Events and turnings points that you see that demonstrating the protagonist personal growth and change associated with the adolescence period. Describe and explore what you see as factors that may have delayed or prevented growth and change. Where there economic, social-class, or any form of discrimination that impacted his or her personal growth? Did the protagonist have to deal with a family crisis and, if so, how did it impact him or her? Were there issues in the school environment that negatively (or positively) impacted the protagonist and how so and what theory would account for this? Did the protagonist have a job, and in what ways (negatively or positively) did it prevent growth and change or maybe promote it? What about leisure activities? Was the protagonist involved in any? Were the supervised or unstructured with the absence of adult supervision? Did the leisure activities seem to promote or delay growth and change?

(4) The difference in the protagonist between the beginning and the ending of the period of time that are covered during the course of the film. Adolescents is a time of transition. Did you observe any physical, cognitive, emotional or social changes? In other words, is their evidence that the protagonist is more like an adult than a child at the end of the time covered by the film? Did you see any personal struggle the protagonist had to overcome to achieve this growth not addressed above? How would you describe the protagonist as being different at the end of the film from the beginning?

In addition to your observations of the protagonist you can use the observations that other characters in the film make about the person.

The paper is to be 4 to 5 pages long, typed, doubled spaced. Do not write a plot summary of the film: I know these films--- believe me, I know these films---, so I donít need to be told the story. Instead you can describe certain instants (i.e., scenes) and the protagonistís behavior, words, or reactions in these to illustrate a point.

Again, use specific theories and or research to support your answers.
 
Movie

Dead Poet Society
The Mighty
October Sky
Dirty Dancing
Boyz N The Hood
Stand and Deliver
Bend It Like Beckham
Friday Night Lights
Ordinary People
East of Eden
About A Boy
Karate Kid (Original)
Mean Girls
Saint Ralph
Protagonist

Todd
Max
Homer
Frances "Baby"
Tre
Angel
Jesminder 'Jess'
Boobie, Don, or Mike
Conrad
Cal
Marcus
Daniel
Cady
Ralph Walker

More films may be added to this list, so periodically check this page.

The term paper is worth 100 points and will be graded on a demonstrated understanding of the theory(ies) and/or research you discuss and a clear application of that theory/research to your discussion of the protagonist. This is an upper division class, and the paper is expected to reflect an appropriate level of grammatical and compositional mastery. The grade for this paper can be affected negatively by poor writing craftsmanship. Turning in the term paper after the due date and time will result in a 25% penalty

 
In picking a film for the paper, be sure to select something you will enjoy.  There is something here for almost every taste.  (Okay, if your favorite movie of all times is CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE, you might have a problem picking a film that you will enjoy.  But, then again, you might be surprised to find that these little films can not only be thought provoking but an enjoyable viewing experience.


RETURN TO HOME PAGE