• 3-4 pages double spaced, 12 pt font; use the quote sandwich (see Writing Process slides); avoid consulting outside sources

This assignment asks you to think about how both directors and authors use setting, characterization, narrative approach, and/or language to help the reader understand main ideas or themes.  Also think about how directors use camera shots and angles, lighting, music, color, and visual effects to convey a story to the viewer.

Choose one of the following topics to address in a persuasive essay.

  1. Compare and contrast the storytelling devices in one text and film pair we’ve discussed thus far (Shire and Chaplin or Hansberry and Leon).
  1. Discuss the use of one or more cinematic storytelling devices in either  The Immigrant or A Raisin the Sun.
  1. Discuss one of the films in dialog with a current event (if choosing this topic, you can reference a current event article)

4.  Alternative Creative Option: Adapt to film a particular scene or except from one of the texts we’ve read. Aim for a 5-10 minute film. Write an accompanying explication (2 pages double spaced)  of your creative decisions.  It should go without saying that this should be a low-budget production; I don’t expect professional equipment or editing! The focus here should be on the ideas, and the translation from the page to visual media.


In your thesis, you should identify the fiction elements/ literary devices you are discussing, as well as the theme they help convey. To build a thesis, you will want to ask and answer the following questions:

  • WHAT is the author’s argument?
  • HOW (through which literary elements) is it conveyed?

Thesis Example: Fitzgerald uses foreshadowing and flashback in order to convey a sense of foreboding and haunted memory surrounding the failure of the American dream.


Essay Structure: Intro, Body Paragraphs, Conclusion

  • Intro: Begin with hook (quote, relevant personal anecdote, question or philosophical musing to grab reader’s attention), then introduce and summarize work you will be discussing (author, title, year of publication). End with thesis statement
  • Body: Each body paragraph should have a focus and main idea, and help prove your thesis statement. Give examples. Include textual evidence to support your points.  Avoid super-lengthy quotes (try to stick to 4 lines or less). Avoid merely summarizing facts or plot.
  • Conclusion: Explain what you learned from this reflection. You could also choose make a connection to current events.