For this analysis, you will need to extend the reach of your interpretation into areas outside the movie itself.
Rather than simply explaining that a certain object is symbolic or why a certain character says a certain line, you
will show me how that symbolism or how that line of dialogue creates a larger holistic meaning for the movie
that relates to the real world in some way (this can be ANY aspect of our world, by the way). In other words,
you are attempting to explain what one of the movies says about our lives, the world we live in, or reality in
general. I want to see that you can take numerous aspects of a movie, dissect them, and then patch them all
together so that you have support for asserting that the movie has an overarching meaning that relates to the
real world (and, of course, so that you can explain what that bigger meaning is).
You could approach the movie through any number of other equally valid windows of interpretation, including
but not limited to:
popular culture/cultural studies (which can include studies of race, gender, sexuality, class, etc. within a specific
cultural group like Americans, for example)
sociology or anthropology (which can include studies of race, gender, sexuality, class, etc. as apply to people
across cultures i.e., humanity at large)
politics (which can include war and economic issues)
film theory and/or philosophy
other movies (intertextuality)
religion and spirituality
scientific inquiry and scientific progress
So long as you are giving me an analysis of the film and its overarching meaning and, further, relating that
meaning to the world around us, you will be accomplishing the assignment.
In order to more effectively support your assertions as to the movie’s meaning, you should probably cite
literary critics who have previously written on the movie OR on the subject that you believe the movie deals
with. Find out what other scholars (yes, you’re a scholar) have said about the particular film/topic you’re
analyzing. See how what they’ve said might be similar or different to what you’d like to say those similarities
and differences will be points for you to expand on in your paper. Indeed, by utilizing the scholarship of other
literary critics, you make your analysis more forceful, more focused, and more relevant to the people who might
be interested in reading about this subject (the story you’ve analyzed).
Examples of previous papers include:
an argument that The Shining is a film about about domestic abuse
an examination of philosophical ideas of justice and revenge in A Nightmare on Elm Street
a study of the role of sex and sexuality in Halloween and American Psycho
a discussion of the effects of first person perspective in horror movies such as Jaws or Halloween
5 7 full pages
12 point font, double spaced
3 5 secondary sources

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