The Assignment for the Paper Your goal in this paper is to compare and contrast some element of two films made by the two most famous silent film actor/directors (although Harold Lloyd has been gaining ground on both in recent years), Buster Keaton’s The General and Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, and to make some kind of evaluative judgment regarding them. Note that you need not — and probably should not — claim one film is better than the other; it is a much easier task to argue that one film does something in particular better than the other.
Even saying one film is “funnier” is not the best approach because they employ different kinds of comedy. As always, a specific and well thought-out thesis is key to an effective essay. Guidelines Structure is the key to this assignment. Pay careful attention to your organization, whether basically block or alternate. The paper may again be either open- or closed-form. You should not analyze specific evidence in your first paragraph or your conclusion.
The thesis will presumably be your evaluation. You need to focus your essay in some way. You may discuss theme (or message), characterization, plot, setting, or any other attributes of the films, but you cannot discuss everything in enough detail to be interesting. Do not confuse the actor/directors and the characters. Keaton plays Johnny Gray: Keaton does the stunts, but Gray tries to enlist in the army. Chaplin plays a tramp, but the tramp is the one who gets drunk with the millionaire.
The same principle applies to Marion Mack (who plays Annabel Lee) and Virginia Cherrill (who plays the blind girl). While it is important that you establish that these films have both points of comparison and points of contrast, you should not spend equal portions of your essay comparing and contrasting. Most comparison essays do more of one than the other. The best idea is to spend more time on whichever — the differences or the similarities — you think are more original and therefore interesting.
Once again, you should not begin or end paragraphs with references to the films. You must always set-up your evidence and comment on it afterwards. Support is crucial, but it does not make your argument for you. You must introduce it in a way that helps explain why you are bringing it in, and then comment on it so that the contribution it makes to your argument is clear. This should be a formal academic paper: no slang or contractions; use of first person should be severely limited or avoided entirely. Resources
Consult The Inexcusable Error List, Format Rules, Conventions for Papers in the Humanities, Advice on Cutting Words, and the guidelines on Thesis Statements, Form, Introductions, Conclusions for help. ——————————————————————————– Due Essay: 6 April; bring four copies to class. The essays must fulfill the requirements to earn full credit for peer response. Revision and Reflective Commentary: 18 April; 8:00 p. m; submit these to me at [email protected] edu directly as . oc or . docx attachments to an e-mail message. Your reflective commentary should discuss (among other things) the structure you chose to use and why you chose it. Length Minimum: 1200 words Maximum: 1500 words Please use your word processor’s word count function and put the result at the bottom of the last page. After the word count, please note whether your essay uses either block or alternate structure, and whether it is closed-form or open-form. Evaluation You will receive scores in the following areas:
Quality of Comparison: how thoroughly and perceptively you compare these works Persuasiveness of Evaluation: how well you justify your claim of superiority in one area or another for these works Organization and Structure: your overall organization and ability to avoid the usual pitfalls of comparative essays, including repeating yourself and hopping back and forth excessively Grammar, Style, Concision, Surface Polish and Adherence to Format Rules: grammatical and stylistic problems, which also include Error List errors and voice, title, spelling, typographical errors, font, spacing, header, etc