American cultural identity

Literature homework help: For this paper, you will be need to pick one particular genre (type) of film or television series (horror, sci-fi, romantic comedy, drama, superhero film, zombie movies, etc.) and answer one or more of the following questions:

What do such films (or television series) tell us about American cultural identity? Why do we love _________ (pick one: horror films, science fiction films, reality television series, romantic comedies, gangster films, etc.)? What can we learn by examining the genre or your specific film(s) or shows(s)?

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Once you have decided on your specific genre, you will need to select one or two specific films or television shows from that genre to use as supporting examples in your paper. As you answer the question above, reference the two examples in your paper to support your ideas.

As you work on the paper, you should watch the film(s) or TV show(s) you have selected to refresh your memory and to allow you to identify potential examples for use in your paper. The internet (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) makes TV programming and films readily available, and you can often catch old episodes of TV programs directly from the TV networks’ (ABC, AMC, CBS, etc.) web pages.

To begin, you should first establish a clear thesis (this part may take quite a bit of discovery writing). Try not to focus on general review elements (for example: we love zombie films because they are scary). Instead, focus on deeper meaning and significance. Why do we love to be scared? Is there a connection to the general state of fear and anxiety that we experience on a daily basis? Do zombie films conceptualize our fears into a clear, visible form, allowing us to deal with those fears in a more straightforward approach than we can the fears of our own world (terrorism, crime, etc.)?

Once you have a clear thesis in mind, you can then focus on specific supporting points for the body of your paper. Try to identify 2-4 specific points of discussion to support your thesis. As you discuss these specific points in the body of your paper, refer to your two selected examples (the two TV shows or films) for support.

You will also need to use information from 1-2 of the assigned genre readings to support your analysis. You can use summary, paraphrase, or quotation to incorporate source information.

Note that you may conduct additional research and find 1-2 sources through NCLive, if the assigned course readings do not fit your genre.

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Some additional suggested sources are linked on Blackboard.

You will also need to create a Works Cited page for this assignment, listing the following:

your 1-2 films or TV shows in MLA format

the 1-2 genre essays or videos that you incorporated into the essay

Some options you may want to consider for the paper:

Examine the American fascination with horror films. Why do we love to be scared? What sort of catharsis do we receive from such a movie experience?

Compare the remake of a movie to the original, discussing what cultural changes are evident from a close viewing of the two films.

Examine the American fascination with the romantic comedy? Why do audiences connect with what is generally a formulaic genre of film?

Examine the American fascination with reality TV programming. Why do we watch The Kardashians? American Idol? Again, make sure you focus on cultural meaning (not just—I want to watch to see who wins, though this idea could possibly be developed into an effective point of analysis).

Examine the American fascination with zombies. Why do we connect with the characters in such films (or TV shows)? What is the appeal of the genre?

Examine a specific film or show that you love, and discuss how the film or show advances the genre. Is the show groundbreaking? If so, why? Focus on specific reasons to develop your analysis.


Avoid unneeded first person—I think…, I believe…, In my opinion…, etc.

Also avoid second person—“you”.

Avoid a plot summary paper, which assumes that the goal of the paper is to summarize the plot of each film or TV show.

Use specific examples to support your evaluations. If you focus on TV shows, it may be helpful to watch a specific episode or two of each show to identify some supporting examples.

You will also need to include information from 1-2 of the assigned genre essays (or other sources) or the video content linked in the Unit II folders.

Aside from the genre readings and videos, you should not use any additional sources for this paper aside from the film(s) or TV show(s) that you are analyzing (doing so will actually lower your grade). I want to hear your ideas, not the ideas of others. Avoid using film reviews, analysis essays, or other sources from the internet (or printed sources) in your paper. If you need to, you can find basic information about the film from the internet, such as the names of the actors, release date, etc. That information is generally considered common knowledge and will not need to be cited. You will have to submit your paper through Safe Assign (the Blackboard plagiarism checker), and I often manually check these papers as well. The penalty for plagiarism is failure for the course. If you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism, you can ask me or get help through the ILC.

Goals–Critical Thinking Levels


Students should demonstrate the ability to format a paper in basic MLA style. Students should also be able to create a properly formatted MLA Works Cited page. Students should organize the paper in an appropriate pattern. Students should establish a clear thesis and supporting points for the essay. Students should use an appropriate tone and style in analyzing the two films or TV shows. Students should also apply standard grammatical rules.


Students should clearly analyze the chosen genre. Specific examples from each movie or TV show should be used to support the analysis. Analysis should be in-depth rather than dealing with just surface features.


Introduction: In the first paragraph, clearly introduce your selected genre. You should also clearly introduce the specific show(s) or film(s) that you will use as supporting examples. Most importantly, make sure you establish a clear analytical thesis statement that clarifies the purpose of your paper. It may help to answer this question: What point are you trying to make about your genre?

Body: The most logical way to organize the paper is based on your specific points of analysis. Discuss each point of analysis in its own paragraph (note that you may need more than one paragraph to develop some of your points).


If you are using two films or shows as examples in your paper, you may organize the paper in block-by-block format (discussing the first show or film in relation to all your points of evaluation—this will take several paragraphs—and then doing the same for the second show or film), point-by-point format (organizing around your points of evaluation, while alternating your discussion of the two shows or films), or another logical pattern of development. Choose the pattern that works best for your paper. Make sure each paragraph has a clear focus. Use strong topic sentences and effective transitions to guide the reader.

Use examples from your selected show(s) or film(s) to support and develop each paragraph.

Conclusion: Reiterate your final analysis of the cultural significance of your selected genre. Try to avoid summarizing the content of your paper.


3-5 pages (the Works Cited page does not count)

MLA Basic Format

MLA Formatted Works Cited page listing the films/TV shows you used as examples and the genre essays you incorporated into the paper.

Incorporation of information from 1-2 of the assigned genre readings and/or the videos linked in the Unit II folders.

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