For this assignment, you will be studying a genre the way we have been studying the Action/Adventure
genre in class. Working with two films in your genre from different periods and outside research from
at least three sources to help you identify the genre’s history, myths, conventions, and iconography you
will develop a thesis about how the genre has changed over time.
Choose one of the following genres along with a pairs of films on which to write a 7-9 page paper,
using both original analysis and outside research. As with paper one, you will be expected to devise
your own thesis then argue that thesis with a coherent and organized discussion of the topic. Your
thesis must make a claim about how your genre has changed over time and engage with the class
concepts on Genre and the Classical, Postclassical, and Modernist periods (whichever apply to your
(Genre that has been assigned to me is )
< Western >
Movies that must be watched and analyzed are
Stagecoach (Ford, 1939)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, 1962)
in case you need an amazon account,
Email ID : firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of this paper is to use two films from different periods to understand how genre changes
over time. Considering the ways in which the films are similar, as well as how they differ, is a good
place to start in the development of a thesis, but you want to make sure that the analysis in your paper
ultimately reflects a historical understanding of genre (although this does not mean that you need to
be summarizing the history of your genre for this paper) and how your films work within the genre.
You should be examining the generic myths, conventions, and iconography at work in the films,
as well as the ways in which the style (or formal elements) influence the ways in which the
audience understands and interprets these various generic elements.
For example: How is the
convention of the lone gunslinger different in a classical versus a modernism Western? How is this
difference indicative of the broader changes in the genre between the two periods? These are the
types of questions that you should be thinking about in relation to your films, and having a clear
understanding of your genre will help you answer these questions.
You should also consider the periodization of each film. In which period would you categorize each
(Classical, Postclassical, or Modernist), and what are the implications of such categorization? Be sure to
draw on concepts from lecture, discussion, and the course readings. Keep in mind that although you
will need to categorize your films, your analysis needs to be more sophisticated than simply
categorizing, and not all films will be easy to clearly categorize (just because your film was made in
1963 does not mean that it perfectly corresponds to all or even any of the elements of Modernism). If
you are having difficulty categorizing your films, consider the historical or cultural contexts of
the films as a possible means of relating their differences.
Furthermore, be sure that you are drawing on appropriate myths, conventions, and iconography of the
genre you are discussing. Use your research to identify these, but don’t waste space in your paper on
conventions that are not even present in your films or do not offer a productive area for comparison
between them. Not every myth, convention, or icon of the genre is going to be present in every
filmso focus on those that are most relevant to your films and your thesis.
Your paper should be between 7 and 9 pages in length “ this means it MUST be at least seven
full pages, starting from the beginning of the text, not the heading.
You must include a bibliography or works cited page.
For the sake of standardization, you must use 12 pt. Times New Roman font and doublespacing
with 1-inch margins.
Please number your pages and include your name and your TAs name on your heading.
You must staple your paper before handing it in!
This paper requires you to incorporate your own original analysis with the work of other writers on
film. You must include and respond to at least three (3) outside sources. The book(s)/article(s)
should help you to understand the genre’s history, myths, conventions, and icons. Make sure that all
three sources are incorporated with your own ideas and help to prove your thesis. A quote about how
good (or bad) a film is, for example, does not help prove your thesis. Quote material that critically
engages with the film or genre. All sources used (whether through direct quotation or paraphrasing)
must be properly cited. If you are unfamiliar with proper citation methods (such as MLA or Chicago), it
is your responsibility to learn one and use it correctly and consistently throughout your paper.
? Good Sources : (at least two sources must come from this category)
o Genre theory books from academic publishers (see below for examples)
o Academic books about your particular genre
o Academic journal articles on your genre/sub-genre found on Scholars Portal, Jstor, or
other academic search engines
o Academic journal articles that look at your film(s) in terms of genre theory found
through an academic search engine
? Acceptable Sources :
o Popular press books on your genre
o Academic books on your films or filmmakers
o Academic journal articles about your films (not necessarily about genre)
o Reviews or articles about your films from major edited publications such as Variety,
New York Times, New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, or Chicago Sun-Times.
? Unacceptable Sources :
o Books or articles that do not address your films or genre
o Articles that have only been published in web form such as Wikipedia or film history
o DVD extras, blogs, documentaries, fictional books, etc.
o Generally, sources found by doing a Google search. Use the academic search engines
that being a student at USC gives you access to!
While research is a necessary component of this paper, also keep in mind that the quality of research is
more important than the quantity; choose sources that contain thorough investigations of genre that
you can then apply toward your own argument. Do not simply toss in useless quotes because the
assignment requires it, and don’t use large block quotes just to fill space; instead, only include an
outside source if you intend to apply that material to your own argument. If you want to use a film
review from the New York Times, do not quote it merely to establish a critical reaction “ ask yourself
about the reasoning for this response, and investigate how this might relate to the film’s generic