Blog Prompt #6 (3/6/18)*

For your sixth blog post, let me know your initial plan for the Research Paper.

Do you plan to complete Option A? If so, what film will you discuss?

Do you plan to complete Option B? If so what film/novel combination will you discuss?

Regardless of the option, use this blog post to begin thinking about the cultural and historical context of the film and/or novel you choose to discuss. Keep in mind that the historical time during which the film and/or novel was released might be equally important.

As you consider the historical/cultural context, also consider specific film elements (sound, editing, mise en scene, camera angle, etc.) that contribute to the film’s significance.

The hard copy is due at the beginning of class on March 8.

5 comments for “Blog Prompt #6 (3/6/18)*

  1. Lilly Lightsey
    March 5, 2018 at 10:29 am

    For the research paper I plan to do option B with To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird was first published in 1960 and the movie was released two years later in 1962. However, both the film and the book are both set to take place around the 1930’s and the Great Depression.
    The 1960’s were a time of turmoil for America. It was in the 1960’s that president Kennedy was shot and killed. The war in Vietnam also started in the 1960’s which tore the country down the middle, some people strongly protesting the war while others supported it. In 1964 was the first time Congress passed laws to stop states from discriminating against women and minorities. Yet, racism still happened all across the country. 1968 saw Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated when all he wanted was to bring people together and bring peace.
    When you compare what was happening in 1960 to the themes of Harper Lee’s book, you can obviously see why it was published. It is very obvious the town Scout calls home is racist. Tom Robinson is blamed for a crime he did not commit just because he is African American. With Scout being so young and the story being told from her point of view in both the book and the movie, we get a sense of innocence. Also it just shows you no one is born hating, they are taught it. Scout, very obviously in the book and the movie, sees no difference between race or class. She is often confused by what towns people say to her about her father defending Tom Robinson. She does not understand why the poor Cunningham are embarrassed that they cannot pay Atticus in real money. In a time in which America was tearing apart, To Kill a Mockingbird, put everything back into perspective.
    Though the events of the book/move and the year it was published are thirty years apart it is easy to draw connections. The 1960’s was an era of pushing for equal rights for everyone as Atticus Fitch in the novel/movie gets up and defends an African American even if no one else thought he should. The book and the movie both told the story of America’s horrible past, but also were a lesson for the time. It had been thirty years and racism was still going wild, yet the trial is so stupid and it is easy to see Tom Robinson is being blamed for the color of his skin.
    And as for a more focus on the movie. The camera is often brought down to Scout’s height. Often when Scout is in frame with adults the camera is more at eye level with her than anyone else. This ties back to the childhood innocence. The story being told is Scout’s, she is our narrator, and she does not necessarily understand the racism. So of course the camera keeps us on her level, we watch everything through her eyes to try to understand what she is really seeing. Also setting is very important as Scout’s whole life is her small town and we really only see her a few places which are her home, school, or the courthouse. Scout has grown up in such this small place that is so judgmental and close minded. Yet, Scout does not judge anyone and fights kids who say bad things about her father. She is the good in the small town.

  2. Michael Anzalone
    March 6, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    I plan on focusing on Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now as Option B for my research paper. I wanted to do the research on these two works because I think it would be interesting to compare the two stories in their differing cultural and historical backgrounds. Heart of Darkness is based on the days of imperialism and the ivory trade within the Congo in the late 1800s. Apocalypse Now takes place in the heat of the Vietnam War. I would like to talk about how both are a critique on nationalism in a sense, in that they show that the people who are construed to be on the “good side” have just as much struggles with mortality and goodness as anyone else. Both provide solid backdrops to tell the story and provide their themes and symbolism.
    The Vietnam War provided Francis Ford Coppola an opportunity to make Apocalypse Now subtly make statements about the War and how it could affect those within it as well. The montages at the beginning and end of the film with The Door’s The End playing in the background present quite a few talking points I would like to discuss in the film. The mise en scene of the film is an eerie environment that often takes the viewer into a world they would not expect within a war film. Lighting is central throughout, most noticeably affecting the scenes of the battle at the bridge and the scenes that include Lieutenant Kurtz. I am going to further speak about these (and more) film qualities and how they help bolster the themes of the film; of the War, of humanity, of morality, and of evil.

  3. March 7, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I will be analyzing the historical and cultural context behind both the novel and film To a Kill Mocking Bird. When this movie was made, it was set back during the 1930’s. Racism was heavily abundant during this time, so Harper Lee makes sure to convey that through the situations and treatment of blacks throughout the story. During this time Martin Luther King Jr. Fought for the freedom of blacks and this ironically ties in with the mentality of Scout’s father Atticus. He further pushes to defend those of color despite his ethnic differences. The setting of this novel and film both take place in the south which was where racism was the most rampant. Many people struggled financially as well leading to the economic destruction of the Great Depression at that time. Even with Atticus being a well-educated Lawyer, not even his entitlement and status was enough to make him incredibly richer than others in the small southern town. In fact, him and his two children were considered poor as well.  
    Other themes that lie within the film become apparent like the innocence of children. Though racism was the main concern at this time, children never ceased to look at color differently. They saw everyone the same and this can be better illustrated through the close-up camera angle of Scout. The camera is drawn on her more closely to grab the audiences’ attention to see underlying messages that she is conveying. She specifically represents the symbolic nature of innocence through a specific scene. Atticus is standing watch over Tom Robinson and a group of angry racists come out to demean him for defending a black man. However, when Scout spots Mr. Cunningham, a good friend of hers, she speaks to him in a friendly, civilized manner. The camera is drawn up close to her, so the audience can really focus on what she is saying. She speaks in a tone of pure innocence and cannot understand the reasoning of why he is behaving in such a cruel manner. Children do not see color the way adults do, and because of this, Scout is set apart from the others.

  4. Anthony Hanks
    March 8, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I am going to do option A with To Kill A Mocking Bird because it was filmed during a time period where color filming technology was available yet it was still produced in black and white color and that fascinates me because the setting of the story has black and white inequality embedded in it because it takes place in the 1930’s in rural Alabama. I just think filming in black and white has some relative correlation between it and the setting and I would like to research more on it and figure it out. I am choosing option A because I have never read the novel and even though I would like to I just do not have the available time to do so.

  5. Kyri Simmons
    March 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I’m going to do option B, and I’m going to do it on the Maltese Falcon. I don’t know a lot about this one, but I’m willing to find out. I will find what time? Then how the film director adapted the film, why, and when?

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