1) Highlight the thesis in your classmate’s draft.
2) Does their thesis make it clear just what their chosen cultural artifact is?
3) Is their cultural artifact sufficiently narrow?
(ex: choosing an episode and not the whole series to focus on)
4) Does their thesis make it clear what they are saying about an aspect of their cultural artifact?
A good, potential model to build a thesis for this paper is as follows:
-WHAT is the larger message/theme of your artifact?
-HOW does your artifact reflect this?
-Implications (so what?) of this larger message/theme?
-connections to real-life, etc. ?
5) Does their thesis offer reasons to support their claim?
6) Is their thesis grounded upon connotation?
*considers indirect suggestions, social/cultural overtones, connections to real-life, implications—so what?, etc.
Reminder: Things such as a larger message/theme are results of connotative discovery. Enumerating plot points are NOT connotation, as those are in fact denotation.
7) Are the body paragraphs moving to flesh out and support the project set forth in their thesis?
Or, are they just summarizing plot points without rhyme or reason?
8) How is the conclusion looking?
9) Is there a works cited page?
January 20, 2021
Racism in America has long been rooted in our history and is disgracefully embedded in our democracy. In an age where news is instantaneous the world has watched in horror as all too similar tragedies of police brutality against African Americans has unfolded across the United States. At a time where words cannot convey the amount of pain and frustration African Americans are enduring, R&B singer Trey Songz released 2020 Riots: How Many Times. The singer used his platform to speak on behalf of those mothers, sons, and daughters that have lost a life at the hands of the police.
Music has long been the voice of political issues and racism dating back as early as the 1960’s after the 1965 Watts riots. Back then “Popular music reflected much of the anger that would boil over during that week”. Racism did not disappear, it went unchallenged until May 25,2020 where many demanded there be change as the murder George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis Police Officer went viral. His death sparked a movement where people across the United States began to demand a change and yet many still stayed silent. As history would repeat itself, some chose silence as the answer becoming blind to everyone but those of color who were seeing the color of racism very well.
Trey Songz sings about holding silent people accountable, comparing their silence to being colorblind. I believe these lyrics challenge us all to speak up and understand that silence is equivalent to racist actions. He also asks the weighted questions how many more deaths, marches, or times does it take for there to be change? After George Floyd there was Breonna Taylor who was sitting on her couch when she was murdered by police, followed by Ahmaud Arbery who was out for a jog when two Caucasian men assumed, he committed a crime and decided to take his life. All found to be justified, and the world responded.
Finally, the pain of injustice was felt in every home, the world marched with the United States in hopes of sending a message that racism was alive and would no longer be tolerated. Artists such as Trey Songz, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and more decided to use their platform to convey a pain that words could not describe.
Reeves, Mosi. “15 Songs That Predicted the L.A. Riots .” RollingStone, 28 Apr. 2017, 7:15PM ET, www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/15-songs-that-predicted-the-l-a-riots-125494
In the film proposed Inside Out by Pete Docter, the director gives imagery of mental illness through relationships, emotions, and growth. It portrays what it is like to be inside of a young girl’s head and truly the emotions she encounters throughout her everyday life. The film portrays the life of a 11 year old girl named Riley who was uprooted from her happy and simple life in Minnesota and taken to San Francisco, where she experiences various changes in her life. (i’m not sure if i should put more here or not).
Riley tends to struggle with depression in the new city as she tries to navigate through a world that is frightful and intimidating. However, that is only half of the story. Arguably, the main characters in the film are the five emotions Riley has and how they impact her everyday life: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.
The relationship between Riley and her parents gets more personal as the viewer dissects the shape and form of the emotions inside their head. For her father, they are all shaped as the Anger character, and are all male with a mustache. Although he does love both his wife and daughter, it seems as though he does not understand them as well as he would wish to. As for the mother, her emotions all relate back to the character sadness. They all have their different emotions, yes, but they are all in the shape and form of the sadness character, because she knows what sadness feels like and she is grateful for the things that make her and her family happy. Even though Riley’s parents have their own emotions trying to handle their child as well as possible, they were truly no help to Riley as she lost Joy for an emotion and Anger took over.
As Riley channels the emotions she encounters the true meaning of her happiness. In fact, towards the end of the film, when Joy sacrifices some of her fellow emotions, specifically Sadness. Riley seems to dig deeper in her true self and find a new form of Happiness. Throughout the film, the main takeaway from Riley, and mostly Joy, is that happiness is never truly just about the feeling of joy. That the people have to understand the feeling of anger, the feeling and emotion of Fear, the feeling of Disgust and Sadness to understand the Joy in their lives. Also at the fact that happiness is not forced, that there are some parts of the human body that have memories someone may have encountered that can not understand the other emotions we may have. However, that the experience or memory one may have can change and develop into a new idea or new feeling.
The last main takeaway from this innocent film is the growth one individual can make with every single one of the emotions that are inside of them. Towards the beginning of the film, Joy tries her best to keep Sadness away from Riley. She tries to persuade sadness into becoming somewhat happy. She attempted to understand the emotions of what it is like to be happy and enjoy moments, however, the moving and starting at a new school and losing the connection Riley had with her parents, not even a bubble could keep Sadness in. Not until the end of the film when Joy realizes she can not change any of the emotions to be like her, the only thing she can do is understand why they have their feelings and that Riley is allowed to use them at anytime she wants.
All in all, Inside Out has never been the first attempt to bring awareness to the Mental Illness and how it can help the younger children as they get older. It is hard to realize that yet another story is told and still so many people in the process were touched and could relate. This is a prime example of the strength and guidance of the media and what it shows the viewers who do not necessarily understand. A shift that, hopefully will help viewers foster deeper and more compassionate connections to themselves and those around them.
Entertainment as Political Essay: Avatar (Rough Draft)
Throughout American history, entertainment has been utilized as a form to express
political ideals and is used as a tool to inform the audiences with events and scenarios that are
closely tied with real world events. None is more apparent that holds true to this then the hit film
Avatar. The film takes place on a distant moon named Pandora, a beautiful planet that is
inhabited with mercenaries who have little to no regard for the planet’s inhabitants and their
ecosystem as they mine for the planet’s natural resources. James Cameron, the director of the
film, has gone on record to confirm the film as being “political” and a direct representation of
human greed and imperialism that results in the destruction of Earth’s environment and
This film allows the audience to see through a unique perspective utilizing this fictional
world and their struggles to establish the realization of what is actively taking place in our own
world today. This film emphasizes and brings to light our very real issue of deforestation which
is being conducted at an astonishing rate which can prove to negatively impact the way future
generations will live. According to the World Wildlife organization, “over 17% of the Amazon
rainforest alone has been lost within the last 50 years”. This has been a growing concern due in
large part that many individuals continue excavating and mining these lands for its natural
resources such as gold, oil and mahogany.
These actions proved to be detrimental to our planetary environment as many of the
wildlife, over 80% of the world’s land-based animals inhabit and rely on forest environments.
This also impacts climate change as the forest acts as a sponge absorbing vast amounts of
carbon-dioxide that would otherwise contribute to the rapid change in our climate patterns.
Another fascinating statistic that becomes apparent is the fact that these forests are responsible
for creating over 13.2 million jobs that range from conserving and purifying water as well as
purifying the air quality and constantly searching for abnormalities that may negatively impact
human way of living on a global scale. This also creates an additional 41 million jobs that are
closely tied in with conservation and wildlife sector/career.
The conservation of our forest and wildlife is vital and although emphasized to great
lengths, many individuals continue to contribute to deforestation lands undergo conversions from
forest to agriculture as these continue to expand deeper and deeper destroying many of the
wildlife in the process. Tying in with the film’s symbolic political messages in raising awareness
in our own real-world actions, director James Cameron successfully illustrates this by showing
the negative impacts of human greed and imperialism that ravage this fictional planet’s
inhabitants and ecosystem thus creating hardship and dismay for the natives within the film.
Through this perspective of “looking from the outside in” utilizing this fictional world, audiences
become sympathetic towards the protagonist and establishes the realization that we, as a society
and as humans must do our part and change our way of living for the betterment of our future.
Works Cited Page
Galey, Patrick. “Forest Loss ‘Hotspots’ Bigger than Germany: WWF.” Phys.org, Phys.org, 13
Jan. 2021, phys.org/news/2021-01-forest-loss-hotspots-bigger-germany.html.
Carmichael, Michael. “Avatar Pulls the Political Trigger.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 25 May 2011,