THE TERM PAPER

THERE IS NOT TERM PAPER REQUIRED FOR THE CLASS.  IF YOU
WISH TO SEE WHAT STUDENTS USED TO HAVE TO DO, READ THE
FOLLOIWNG:

PAPER: A paper is worth 100 points. Your assignment is to watch one of the following films. In viewing the film, consider what you’ve learned about sex and love. Using the theories and research presented in the lectures and reading, speculate and answer the following questions:

1. What drew these two together? What was the attraction? Remember, apply research and theory in answering this and the following questions. For example, does their attraction reflect Homophily, i.e., the tendency to be drawn to someone of equal social status? Does Donn Byrne’s law of attraction apply? (Our attraction to another is proportionate to the number of reinforcements that a person gives us related to the total number of reinforcements plus punishments the person gives us.)

2. What role do you think sexual attraction played in their relationship? Was their a difference for each partner? Evolutionary psychologists propose that physical attractiveness is a product of evolution and natural selection. Does the woman have reproductive value? Does the man in the relationship appear to have the willingness to invest resources in the woman and their future children?  Remember, sociobiologists are not saying that a person is aware of these issues when drawn to a person but are attracted to qualities because homo sapiens are wired to be so attracted.  Another question:  Is there anything unhealthy about the attraction or anything unhealthy about either or both’s sexual attitudes and/or behaviors? These are the kind of questions you need to explore.

3. How does the couple respond to dilemmas and external factors that impact their relationship?  What factors put a strain on the relationship?   These questions explore the relationship's resilience and the relationship's strengths and weaknesses for dealing with external pressures with which the couple must  contend with (work, friends, outside interests, etc.)  Social Exchange theory proposes that relationships are dynamic which means they can fluctuate between equity and inequity. What causes the inequity and how do the couple respond to inequity? Is there any disillusionment experienced and what is the source of it?  Thibaut and Kelley's Interdependence Theory proposes that two people involved in a relationship are interdependent with respect to the outcomes of their behavior;  the thoughts, feelings, and actions of one partner will influence his partner and this does not necessarily mean the outcome for the partner will be desired.  Do they compromise so both are satisfied or does a strain result because a compromise is not achieved?  Rusbult's Investment Model proposes that satisfaction is a function of three factors:  Rewards/costs; quality of alternatives to the relationship; and the person's investment in the relationships.  Another question you can consider here:  What sort of conflict resolution strategies are employed by the couple and how affective are they are reducing stain? 

4.  What is the arc of the relationship? That is, what is the course of the relationship and how did the relationship evolve and change from the beginning to the end?  For example. Sternberg's Triangular model of love proposes that there are different types of life and in the course of a relationship a couple can experience one or more of these.  Some couples experience more of a passionate type of love in the beginning which in time evolves into a companionate love or a complete falling out of love.  Some couples discover that they have mismatched love styles which has a great impact on the evolution of the relationship.


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

As you can see you need to use specific theories and or research to support your answers. Use any that were discussed in the lectures and/or reading materials and are relevant to you to support your answer. As you do, integrate the material so that it fits together. Just don't take all the examples I give here or pull everything you can think of to pad your paper. Your term paper will lack focus if you do. Instead, select theories and research that hangs together and works for you. If you use any of the examples I've provided here, you need to develop their application specific to the protagonist with good examples from the movie to illustrate your point.

To make the paper easier for you to write (and clearer for me to read and grade), answer each question separately and start your answers by identifying the question you are answering.  Here is a sample A paper that I encourage you to review to get an idea of what you need to do both in terms and style and content.

                                                  SAMPLE PAPER


The paper is to be 4 to 5 pages long, typed, doubled spaced.

Finally, do not write a plot summary of the film: I know these films----believe me, I know these films----, so I don’t need to be told the story. Instead you can describe certain instants (i.e., scenes) and the protagonist’s behavior, words, or reactions in the movie to illustrate your points.

Film      Couple    Year Released
Age of Innocence   Newland/Ellen   1993
Annie Hall   Annie/Alvy 1977
Children of a Lesser God   James/Sarah 1986
Becoming Jane Jane Austin/Thomas Lefroy 2007
Finding Neverland  James/Sylvia 2004
The English Patient Almásy/Katharine
            or
Hanna/Kip
1996
Lost In Translation Charlotte/Bob  2003
Monster Aileen/Shelby 2004
Murphy’s Romance Murphy/Emma 1986
Notting Hill Anna/William 1999
Possession Maud/Roland 2002
Shakespear In Love Will/Viola  1999
Shirley Valentine Shirley/Joe 1989
True Love Donna/Michael  1989
Vertigo Scotty/Judy 1958
War of the Roses Oliver/Barbara 1989
When A Man Loves A Woman Alice/Michael  1994

 

*Even if you have seen the movie before, it is recommended that watch it again because your memory may reflect a different mind set when first viewing.

Each quarter, films are added and dropped from this list. DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF VIEWING A FILM THAT WAS ON A PREVIOUS QUARTER’S LIST!

This list contains a variety of movies.  For the most part, they are "art house" films and watching them is not like watching HELLBOY or DUMB AND DUMBERER.  

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.)