ENG 105: Paper One Prompt

For your first paper, you will write a 2-3 page essay offering a visual rhetorical analysis of the cinematic techniques used in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. You may discuss whichever cinematic techniques and rhetorical devices you choose (see course materials for ideas here). You will just be identifying the elements from the film and then offering some analysis of the effect they have on the audience as they view the film.

As you write, you should consider these elements of rhetorical analysis:

  • Consider the entire rhetorical situation: the context and environment in which the argument is being constructed.
  • Look for use of the appeals: ethos, logos, pathos, kairos
  • Think about the text itself: the message, delivered through narrative and dialogue
  • Try to identify the intended audience and any elements of the text that are geared toward them specifically
  • Identify the cinematic techniques used: color, light, music, camera angles (close, wide, panning, steady/straight, jumpy/crooked), cuts between scenes (continuous shots, gradual fades, abrupt cuts)

Connect the use of these cinematic techniques to the overall narrative or argument: how do they affect things like theme, mood, tone, characterization, message/meaning, chronology/perception of the passage of time, narrative structure, etc.

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