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Revision Day: Intros, Conclusions, and Topic Sentence

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Tricia Van Sickle

on 9 September 2015

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Transcript of Revision Day: Intros, Conclusions, and Topic Sentence

Conclusions
SHOULD NOT:
Summarize of your paper
Be the introduction re-stated
Make vague, generalizing statements
SHOULD:
Be the final word on what the paper has been saying so far. The rest of the paper has just been collecting information--now, what can you
conclude
about the film's importance from all that analysis?
Tell the reader why this film's argument is important.
Answer the question "so what?"
The "There's More to Be Done" Conclusion
Does the film go far enough, or would you like to see more action in moving the movie's argument forward? What does the movie do to advocate its cause, but what still needs to be done?

Paper topic: "Frozen" as a feminist text

It's safe to say that Frozen has really changed the way Disney represents their princesses and is beginning to create tales of self-supporting, independent princesses who find themselves being rescued in other ways or are rescuing themselves. Frozen certainly paves the way for these ideas, but there will continuously be room for improvement until Disney has movies where princesses from poor countries save themselves entirely, or until Disney has a short, overweight princess who accepts herself entirely and learns that she is beautiful regardless of what others say. Disney won't be done progressing until it creates a mean princess who gets treated terribly by everyone until she realizes that she can't get away with whatever she wants. Frozen is definitely progressive, but Disney won't be truly meaningful to young women and men until it is more realistic than fictional.
The "Call to Action" Conclusion
Does the film actually want its audience to DO something now that the film is over? What? What does it mean for the film's cause if it was successful in persuading its audience? What does it mean if the film wasn't successful?

Paper topic: "Vertigo" as an argument about history

"Vertigo" asks its audience to rethink the idea that a "golden past" when things were better exists, and to look at the past more objectively. Just as the story of Carlotta's exploitation by the rich man was nearly forgotten, history tends to not parade its dirty laundry around, and the good moments are more likely to be recorded than the ones that leave America looking less than heroic, tolerant, or equal. Because "Vertigo" chooses to make the audience work to understand this--making the less-than-perfect past seem glamorous at first--its message may be missed by some viewers. While not everyone may get what the movie is trying to do, not everyone wants to look beyond the "cleaned up" version of history, either. In the end, the movie is realistic to life, seeking to inspire deep thought about history, and succeeding by first making us fall in love, and then out of love, with the past.
Introduction paragraphs: What's wrong with this example?
In these modern times, everybody loves watching movies. From
American Sniper
to
Gone Girl
, we love them all. For example,
Pan's Labyrinth
tells the story of Ofelia, a young girl that has adventures in a fantasy world right after the Spanish Civil War. After learning the importance of standing up for what she believes is right, she is brutally murdered by her evil stepfather, Captain Vidal, in the act of sacrificing herself for her baby brother! We're supposed to care about Ofelia and take her side, so the movie uses camera techniques and narrative techniques to make the argument that we're supposed to feel what Ofelia feels.
Introduction Paragraphs
Should include:
Name of the film and the director
Summary of the film (if not here, then early in your paper).
Focus your summary on the characters or events that are important to your paper.
Thesis
Argument the film is making
Cinematic and Narrative techniques the film uses to make its argument
Hint of significance--so what? Why is this an important argument?
Something interesting! Include questions you want to explore, make a joke, use vivid description, include an interesting quote from the director or an actor (with an MLA in-text and Works Cited citation)
DO NOT make large, generalizing statements about the way people are or the way the world is. Stay focused and specific.
Example introduction:
Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" has sparked debate about the political nature of its key characters Batman and the Joker. While Nolan denied any intentional parallels, actor Michael Cain (Alfred) went on the record saying, "Superman is how America sees itself, but Batman is how the world sees America" (Roth). This film adaptation of the Batman comics features the caped crusader working to stop anarchic, domestic terrorist the Joker by resorting to increasingly questionable methods. Through lighting, costuming, and dialogue in its two interrogation scenes, "The Dark Knight" argues that torture is an ineffective way to stop crime or fight terrorism. In this way, the film calls out the American government on its detention practices at facilities like Guantanamo Bay: using illegal and immoral means to uphold the law creates more problems than it solves.
Another example
The critically acclaimed Netflix series "House of Cards" prompted binge watching since its first season was released. The pilot episode of the political, cinematic drama introduced viewers to Frank Underwood, Democrat Majority Whip, who has just been passed over for promotion to secretary of state by the newly elected president. Bitter and hell-bent on getting revenge, Frank begins his series-long plot to destroy the president through back-room deals and media manipulation. While Frank is certainly corrupt, the show's first episode persuades the audience to understand Frank as a character to be admired for his manipulation skills and power. Through Frank's power over the show's other characters, motivated camera movement centered on him, and Frank's frequent narration directly to the camera itself, the show gets its viewers to respect Frank and see from his point view. Ultimately, by getting the audience to see things Frank's way, "House of Cards" argues that even government corruption can be justified and acceptable under some circumstances.
Topic Sentences
Topic sentence
- statement near the beginning of a paragraph that states how this paragraph will support the paper's thesis
Topic sentences have two major functions:
Structuring devices
to promote clear, logical organization
Transitioning statements
that create fluid, natural connections between paragraphs
Like a thesis, there is no one, 100% accepted way to write them
My way: if you follow these instructions, it is nearly impossible for anything in your paper to not support your thesis, and it's nearly impossible for someone to get confused or lost in your argument
Revision Day: Intros, Conclusions, and Topic Sentences
THE REST OF THE TIME IS YOURS TO WORK!
The "Considering Social Implications" Conclusion
Why does this matter? How does this effect lives in the real world, and what are the real world connections we can draw?

Paper topic: examining media representations in "The Great Gatsby"

However fictional of a character Jay Gatsby may be, the commercial means by which he gains his masculinity can be witnessed in everyday life, especially at Miami University. Being known for its large Greek and preppy, rich kid population, MU seems like a place where Gatsby would fit in quite nicely. More students than not can be seen walking around in Polo, Patagonia, and even the previously mentioned Brooks Brothers apparel. Fraternities spend large amounts of money on parties every weekend, some, ironically, that are Gatsby-themed. There were even shirts with Gatsby's face on them being sold at Miami's annual holiday, Green Beer day. These obvious similarities between MU's campus and Jay Gatsby's life proves just how much people strive to share the same characteristics of wealth as Gatsby. By valuing appearances, power, and fitting in so much, they fall the same trap as he did, recreating themselves in someone else's image.
Topic Sentences as Structuring Devices
Like a mini thesis for your paragraph - lets readers know exactly what this paragraph is going to be arguing
Just like all the analysis in your paper should directly back up your thesis, all the analysis in your paragraph should directly back up your topic sentence
Creates a solid, no-fail organizational framework.
Ex:
Thesis:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
uses characters Alexander Pierce, Nick Fury, Steve Rogers, and Natasha Romanov to represent different positions in the current cultural debate about what it means to be an American patriot. Through dialogue, costume, point of view shots, and the symbolic use of glass, the film ultimately supports Steve's nostalgic vision of America as a clear-cut force for good and Natasha's whistleblowing as true American patriotism, while rejecting Pierce's ideology of order at all costs and Fury's belief in "offense as defense". The film asks it viewers to not only identify with Steve and Natasha, but to support and imitate their actions in order to be true Americans.
Topic sentence: In the scene where Fury shows Steve Project Insight, the symbolism of the glass elevator and the characters' costumes are used to demonstrate each character's position, aligning Steve with traditional values, transparency, and Americanness, and Fury with modernity, secrecy, and subversion.


Topic Sentences as Transitions
A good topic sentence should also give the reader some idea of how this paragraph relates to the ideas that came before it.
Transitioning words/phrases : Although, Despite, In contrast to, Like, Unlike, in addition to, instead of, therefore, however, etc.
Transitioning words/phrases to avoid like the plague: in conclusion, first or firstly (second, third, fourth, etc.), overuse of “Another example…"
Ex: As the Project Insight scene explains each character's position through symbolic visuals, the filmmakers also employ dialogue and shot/reverse shot editing to align viewers with Steve and suggest his position as the visual and moral "high ground."
A NOTE ON PARAGRAPH LENGTH:
Long paragraphs get confusing--squishing a bunch of ideas in to one big block confuses how they are connected to each other
When paragraphs only try to handle one or two big ideas and have a clear topic sentence, its easier for readers to follow your argument
Keep paragraphs medium length or shorter (1/2 of a page at most)
Summary of what happened in your scene, analysis of how/why it happened, and reflection on the importance of this scene to overall message
Topic sentence
Body of your paragraph
One-sentence explanation of what your paragraph is arguing
Thesis
supports
supports
Your claim about the message of this film and how it gets communicated
Small group discussion:

1. What have you been told in the past should be in an introduction? A conclusion?
2. Which do you find more difficult to write? Why?
3. Where in your writing process do you finally write your intro and conclusion: first thing, somewhere in the middle, very last thing?
4. Any tips or tricks you use for writing good intros or conclusions?
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