Hong Jig Rim Engl 102 – Section 2 Paper #3 Assignment Due

Hong Jig Rim

Engl 102 – Section 2

Paper #3 Assignment

Due Date: November 9th


Paper #3: Analyzing a Film


For this essay assignment please choose a full-length film to analyze through a semiotic lens. The filmic text that you choose should be something that sparks a line of argument or reasoning about class, gender, or sexuality; in addition, your thesis should have a clear argument that is supported in the body paragraphs with textual examples, followed by an analysis that ties in to your thesis. Tepid and obvious thesis statements will have a harder time developing a complex and thoughtful argument, so please be sure to spend the necessary amount of time developing one. Furthermore, your paper should not be a summary of the film’s plot or background. Choose a scene, or a couple of scenes at most, to focus on, and do an in-depth analysis of the scene, in relation to the events going on in the film, to help make your argument. Your thesis should say something about your film, as well as about class, gender, or sexuality.


The film analyzed in your paper must be on IMDB (the Internet movie database at imdb.com). There is no suggested genre, but a discussion of how the genre affects a viewing of your movie can prove helpful and may be necessary.


Your paper should discuss commonly held beliefs (semiotic mythologies) in relation to the text; what kinds of ideologies and beliefs are being venerated, and which are not? Furthermore, if intertextual signs have a connection with traditional mythologies, feel free to make analyses and associations with those ideas and concepts. Your paper may also discuss how social and cultural constructions of masculinity, femininity, or sexuality are being deployed in your text. In addition, be sure to discuss how your text (and the ideologies in your text) are being used within a larger framework; does it uphold traditional values, or progressive, and what kinds of systems (legal, financial, educational, etc.) does it seek to either buttress or resist?


Things your paper must include:

• Denotation – What are the images and sounds that the text uses? Be specific and descriptive. Break down the individual signs and analyze them independently and in relation to the other signs.

• Connotation – How are those images and sounds used, and how do they associate the product/artist with other desires? Remember to look at the way the text ‘commodifies’ desires and associates the product/artist with wants and needs that are not necessarily logically related to it.

• Ideology – Why do these associations work? Consider what cultural values, myths and beliefs the ad invokes in order to make its point. Also think about what this says about our culture and what possible trends it points to.

• Demographics – Who is the intended audience, and why were they targeted? What does it tell us about race, gender, sexuality, class, region, nation, ethnicity or any other socio-political concerns?


You are responsible for grammar, spelling and composition as well as content. Make sure your paper includes an introduction and a conclusion, draws clear support for your assertions from specific elements found in the ad, and sufficiently defends your analysis. You can find some useful notes on the process of writing a semiotic analysis of an advertisement in the Zinsser “Writing Well” excerpt and the Analyzing Stories excerpt posted on iLearn. More resources can be found in Signs of Life on pages 24-69.

This assignment will also require three quoted sources, one of which can come from the Signs of Life textbook, but your paper must use at least two credible outside sources: book, scholarly journal, or newspaper article.

Citation Requirement: At least 3 quotes with parenthetical citation & Works Cited


Required Length: 1100 words (about 4-5 pages). Formatting should be the standard Times New Roman size 12 font, double-spaced, 1-inch margins all around.

 Due date: November 9th on Moodle by 9:20 a.m.