Essay 4 Directions

Hi Class,

Essay 4: (750 words) Write about ethics or ethical decisions in To Kill a Mockingbird, Buffy the Vampire Slayer,  or Rear Window/”It Had to Be Murder.” In addition, you may write about ethics in a comparison of two or three texts/films. Be sure to define ethics for the text/film that you choose and use scenes/dialogue to illustrate your points. You may consider how camera movement or framing contribute to audience perceptions of ethics.  Above all, make sure that your essay makes an argument (thesis).

A short introduction to ethics:


Email any questions. The essay is due May 15th at the beginning of class.


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End of Semester Schedule–Note Changes



May 1:

—Quiz 4

—Finish watching To Kill a Mockingbird

—Homework: Read Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Cornell Woolrich’s “It Had to be Murder”

Copy and paste this URL into your browser:


—Watch Buffy, Discuss morals and ethics of vampires (!?)

—Discuss Essay 4

—Discuss Woolrich’s “It Had to Be Murder”

—Begin watching Rear Window (Hitchcock)

—Homework: Write, revise, and edit Essay 4

May 15:

—Due: Essay 4

—Finish watching Rear Window

—Discuss Film Noir and Morals/Ethics

—Discuss Final Exam

—Homework: Study for final exam

May 22:

—Final Exam–LAST CLASS






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Writing, Research, and Memory: “when I work to learn something, I remember it”

Here is a reflection from one of the best-selling novelists of all time:

From The Writer’s Almanac, April 28, 2012


It’s the birthday of novelist Harper Lee (books by this author), born Nelle Harper Lee in Monroeville, Alabama (1926). She has written just one novel, To Kill A Mockingbird (1960), but it has sold more than 30 million copies. She hates interviews and speeches, and prefers to live quietly in Monroeville, where she is known as Miss Nelle.

She wrote: “I arrived in the first grade, literate, with a curious cultural assimilation of American history, romance, the Rover Boys, Rapunzel, and The Mobile Press. Early signs of genius? Far from it. Reading was an accomplishment I shared with several local contemporaries. Why this endemic precocity? Because in my hometown, a remote village in the early 1930s, youngsters had little to do but read. A movie? Not often — movies weren’t for small children. A park for games? Not a hope. We’re talking unpaved streets here, and the Depression. […] Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it.”

A daily feed about poets and writers:


What do you think of this quotation?


Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Welcome to the Hellmouth (Season 1, Episode 1)


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Homework for April 17th, 2012

Hi Class,

I hope that you are enjoying your break. Here is a recap of the homework:

1. Get a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and bring it to class on Tuesday

2. Get a copy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol 1: The Dust Waltz by Brereton, Ketcham, Allred (ISBN: 978-1569713426).

3. Begin Essay 3, which will be due April 24th. In this 750 word essay (about 3 pages), you are to write about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Zeffirelli’s 1968 film version of the play. Choose one or two scenes (at most) and then compare and contrast how they work in the different formats. If it is helpful, you may use Linda Cahir’s ideas from her “Plays into Film” (144-5). You may also consider comparing characters, especially if certain characters change more than you expected, or are filmed in a way that shocks your expectations.

Note: I’ve posted two clips of different balcony scenes under the menu tab titled “Film Clips.”

PLEASE NOTE: We will not have Quiz 4 on April 17th.

Have a great Spring Break,

Prof. Scanlan

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A Streetcar on Broadway Beginning in April

Hi Class,

Thanks to Harold Carter for informing me about an exciting performance of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire coming in April to Broadway.

Here is the website. The tickets are very reasonable (starting at $49):


Here’s a recap of the homework due next Tuesday (3.27.12):

1. Finish reading the play: A Streetcar Named Desire

2. Prepare for quiz 3: pay attention to the ending of Streetcar and the idea of “epic fornications” –end of scene two (not “epic debauches” as I wrote on the board–sorry for the mistake).

3. Buy/get a copy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Bring it to class.

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Homework for Tuesday, March 20th

Hi Class,

We covered a lot of ground today in terms of Shawshank Redemption and the art of film technique. Here is a recap of the homework:

1. Buy the book and bring it to class: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.

2. Finish Essay 2: Write a 750 words essay that considers the Stephen King story “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” and the film version by Darabont: The Shawshank Redemption. You may write about any topic that deals with these two, but you must include these two ideas: redemption and at least one cinematic  idea that Prof. John Loughlin discussed (dolly shot, creep, frame, close-up, composition, reaction shot, point of view, etc.)

Email any questions.

Prof. Scanlan

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Homework for March 12

Hi Class,

We will move back the due date for Essay 2 from March 12 to March 19th. In preparation for writing this essay, write a one page reflection on one of the following topics:

1. a typed one-page exploration of two important shots in Darabont’s film version of King’s short story. You are free to chose any shots that hold your interest.

2. a typed one-page exploration of character development and/or stereotypes in the film or short story version.

Please bring your homework to class on Tuesday, March 12, for a discussion about the movie’s ending and how to develop your homework into an essay.

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Homework for Tuesday, March 6

Hi Class,

What’s your favorite POV shot in The Shawshank Redemption? For me it is when Red walks into the approval board room and the camera is his own view while walking. My second favorite is similar to the first one in in that is from the view of a person–as if the camera was a person– it is when Andy scratches an “A” into the soft stone walls of this cell. Maybe I like those extreme POV shots. What do you like?

For Homework: Read chapters 2 and 5 in our textbook Reading Movies. Make sure to learn the chapter 5 terms I put on the board. The bookstore has 12 copies (I counted them myself). And read the Stephen King story “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.” You can use the link below. Make sure to print out the story and bring it to class. Also bring your book to class.

We will have a short quiz on Tuesday. Then we will finish the movie, and then Professor John Loughlin will talk to us about techniques.


Prof. Scanlan

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Stephen King’s Short Story: “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”

Hi Class,

Click below to print and read King’s story that was made into the popular movie The Shawshank Redemption, directed by Frank Darabont (1994):

Make sure to print our the story so that we can discuss it next week. Also, we will have a guest lecturer, John Loughlin, visit our class to talk about cinematography and film techniques. Professor Loughlin is the director of cinematography at the New York Film Academy.


Prof. Scanlan

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Essay 1 Details

Hi Class,


Here is a handout on thesis statements for film essays:

Thesis Statement-film

Here are basic details for Essay 1:

Essay 1 (750 words): Write a comparison of Washington Irving’s story and the two adaptations that we have seen by Shelley Duval and Tim Burton. Central questions that you need to answer: why were changes made between the textual and film versions? Do the films capture the style and themes of the story? Are they radical or literal translations?

Length: approximately three pages, 12 point font, normal MLA margins.


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