Essay # 3 – Midterm
Please choose one of the following topics and identify your choice by including the phrase “prompt #1, 2, or 3” at the top of your essay response, before your title:
Cause/Effect: The film implies that there is a causal relationship between history and personal identity, suggesting that one’s history, whether recent, distant, and/or collective, shapes one’s personal identity. Write an essay that traces and analyzes the causes and effects that discovering her Chicano history has on the main character, Paula Crisostomo’s, personal identity. What effects does knowledge of one’s history have on Paula’s formation of identity? Your thesis should argue that an effect (the formation of Paula’s personal identity) is based on historical causes (whether recent, distant, collective, and/or individual).
Personal Experience/Comparison: The film posits that we are all affected by our past, whether we know it or not, and that it’s important to become educated about our personal and collective histories because we can only change history when we are educated and when we stand together. Write an essay in which you analyze how your family history and/or past has shaped you as a person and compare this to one of the characters from the film (Paula, her father, her mother, teacher Sal, or any of Paula’s peers). Is it important to know your familial and cultural past? Your thesis should argue for or against the ideas presented in the film based on your personal experience up to now. (You may use the pronoun “I” in this essay.)
Close Reading: Much of the film explores the choice Paul and her peers make to stage a Walkout in protest of civil rights issues all Chicanos were facing in 1968. The film also follows the relationship between Paula and her father. She feels empowered to advocate for changes in education and her school but her father disagrees and he accuses her of hanging out with “agitators.” Look closely at and analyze a scene or two where Paula and her father cross paths. Your thesis should argue for what the overall message or meaning the director, Edward James Olmos, is attempting to convey by contrasting the generational divide between Paula and her father. You should consider some of the following elements in your analysis: camera shots, angles, lighting, editing, soundtrack, script/dialogue, mise-en-scene, etc.
Your essay should contain at least 2 quotes from the film (approximate) and at least four (4) paragraphs (Introduction, at least 2 body paragraphs, and a conclusion). A paragraph should be at least eight (8) sentences.
You should probably spend about 15 minutes thinking about and planning your essay. If you construct an outline/list, use the list on the next page of this prompt.
Be sure that your thesis is arguable, specific, and manageable given your time limit.
All good essays include specific, concrete details. Make sure that you’re not generalizing too much!
In your analysis consider some of the following items in support of your claim: camera shots, angles, lighting, editing, soundtrack, script/dialogue, mise-en-scene, etc.
When you have finished writing (about an hour or hour and a half), PROOFREAD CAREFULLY!! First, look at your content and revise it. Then read the entire essay again looking solely at your grammar (edit).
That is the prompt for the essay. You need to watch a movie before doing it so thank you so much in advance! Please don’t make it sound too smart. Limit the use of deep words.
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