Film Studies

Memento Mori”/Memento,

Students may select any one of the story/film combinations discussed in class as the primary sources: “Memento Mori”/Memento,

In a well developed essay, you should explore a specific theme raised in the selected short story/nonfiction article and film pair. You’ve had several opportunities to talk about these films in the discussion board, and I’ve offered a succession of notes in response. Now, you’ll be expected to put your interpretations on paper. Once selecting a theme as the basis for your analysis, this essay can be broken down. Primarily, you want to analyze the story and film, requiring you to commit to one theme and to use several literary/film elements to support that theme. Select a theme that you believe to be particularly meaningful in the short story and discuss the way it is presented. Your theme should be thoughtful and developed. The goal of the essay is to help readers understand the theme better through careful, original analysis. Remember that one word alone is not a defined theme. You must build a larger message behind the word, a “so what?” that offers thoughtful interpretation of the text. For example, it’s not enough to argue that “Memento Mori” and Memento demonstrate a theme of revenge. Revenge is evident in the two pieces, and there is no larger message attached. If you followed the single term “revenge,” you would most likely end up with pure summary that lists examples of revenge. Rather, you have to argue a larger point, perhaps that the two sources demonstrate that an obsession with revenge can deteriorate one’s identity, an optimistic, yet more defined theme. Note that instead of just looking at examples of revenge, which would result in a failing grade, you’d have to analyze the relationship between revenge and identity. More importantly, you’d have to argue that the protagonist has sacrificed his identity, not an easy feat. Such an argument calls for clear and concise interpretive and analytical skills.