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Your Writing Prompt

In the second half of the semester, we will be shifting away from pre-set writing prompts and lists of specific non-fiction texts to work with: Instead, we will be beginning our research portion of the semester!

Research, in this context, can take many forms - oftentimes, research involves identifying reputable and relevant secondary sources to supplement YOUR OWN ARGUMENT. In other words, you are doing research to find other perspectives and analyses that SUPPORT or DISPUTE the argument that you are trying to make.

For these assignments, you’ll be expected to submit a proposal, an annotated bibliography, and a final draft. Due dates and expectations are discussed below.

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The primary focus of the first Research Assignment is Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film, Parasite. You must engage with the film and the script/screenplay. Furthermore, this assignment requires you to conduct independent research and incorporate what you find into your analytical argument about the primary source.

You’ll be expected to incorporate at least four research sources (in addition to the film); these should not be film criticism (i.e., film reviews) and a majority of your chosen sources should come from outside of listed sources on the syllabus.

For this research paper, keep in mind that your goal is to present an argument about the primary source.  Once you choose your topic, you need to formulate a debatable argument which, through the course of your essay, you will attempt to prove. Rather than summarize the source or merely respond subjectively to it (discussing what you like or don’t like, what’s interesting or not, etc.), your goal is to present a thorough, well-defended interpretation of the source.

Also, remember that there is a lot to work with in this film, and you’re not expected to directly engage every aspect of it (this is impossible!). Your goal instead is to offer an interpretation of the film as a whole, through the lens of your specific topic (see the options below).

Your research sources should help you to support this interpretation as carefully and effectively as possible. Through writing this essay, you’ll continue to develop the various skills we’ve been working on all semester: using evidence effectively, considering possible counter-arguments, organizing your ideas purposefully, etc.

Some Possible Research Topics
• Social Inequality - class politics, income inequality, and more
• The dangers of a single stereotype - how do the cultural products we consume reflect stereotypes
• Motif Analysis - High & Low, Rain, Smells, etc.
• Use of Literary Devices in Film - How Parasite uses flashback, foreshadowing, etc.
• How the “Family” becomes a symbol in the film
• The role of the houses in Parasite - analysis of setting and characters
• Global vs. Local - how single stories can (wrongly) be applied to larger themes
• Another topic of your choosing!

**As you start to think about your topic, remember to consider scope. I’ve left these topics rather broad on purpose, so that you can explore you own specific argument. Don’t feel you need to tackle everything related to your topic. Think of these as starting points, from which you’ll develop your more specific argument.


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