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Learning Outcomes for Unit 2:

Students will learn to write descriptively

and analytically about movies.

Students will learn how to integrate
secondary sources.

Students will learn how to write using

WRT 205-M260: Critical Research and Inquiry
The Prison and the American Imagination
Spring 2014, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30-1:50 p.m., Heroy Geology Building 013
Patrick W. Berry, pwberry@syr.edu, office: HBC 235
office phone: 315-443-1912
office hours: Fridays, 1:00-3:00 p.m. and by appointment

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Despite the fact that incarceration touches the lives of so many, the general public has limited
knowledge of prisons. Lacking first-hand experience with the prison system, most peoples
impressions of these institutions are derived from the images they receive (Cecil and Leitner 184).

For your second assignment, you will analyze how a particular prison movie represents prison life.
You will prepare a multimedia essay on a blog.

1. You will begin the unit by reading several
analyses of media representations of prison as
well as reading about Joseph Harriss concept of
forwarding. The readings will provide you with
some approaches to movie analysis.

2. You will select a movie (approved by me) and
watch it in its entirety.

3. You will practice strategies for: 1) establishing
the context of the movie; 2) identifying a critical
scene and writing about it in a descriptive and
analytical way; and 3) incorporating secondary sources.

4. Your multimedia essay, represented on your blog, should be 1,500 words and should include
images, video, or other media key to your analysis. Include an MLA Works Cited page.

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Grading criteria:

Your grade for the unit will be based on successful completion of all components of the assignment
(critical summaries, movie proposal, drafts, blog setup, and final project). Some questions to ask

1. Does the essay establish the context of the movie (situating it in its time)?
2. Have images or videos been incorporated effectively? Do they support the analysis?
3. Does the essay offer an accurate description and careful analysis of a particular scene or scenes? Does the analysis
illuminate some aspect of prison and the American imagination?
4. Does the essay incorporate at least three secondary sources (not counting the movie), including one new one?