4 questions 4 paragraphs due in 45 minutes : Course Scholars

1. A popular show that has been running on the Bravo and Lifetime cable channels is called Project Runway. http://www.bravotv.com/project-runway (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

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Over the course of several months, a group of designers compete with their fashions, with losing contestants being eliminated each week. Experiment with the methods in chapter four so as to answer these questions:

  • What is the central set of meanings created by the text of this whole series–in other words, what effect does it have on audiences?
  • What does “fashion” mean in the context of this series, and what social or political purposes are served by those meanings?
  • Who is empowered or disempowered by this series, in the society as a whole?

2. A very famous nineteenth century speech was William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech. First, look up some background on the speech online; consult several sources so you get a well rounded view. Then listen to a recital of the speech here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbGMylCubRI (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
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This speech thrilled audiences in its time, and earned Bryan the nomination for president three times. Can you imagine its succeeding so well today? How does this speech match the characteristics of traditional texts? Apply what you learned about neo-Aristotelian criticism to explain the appeal of this speech for that audience. And think about how it might fail for audiences today.

3. News coverage of war stories often makes powerful use of visual images of the dead. See, for instance, this story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10264524/Thousands-fell-victim-to-Syrias-chemical-poisoning-say-doctors.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and note that there is a photo within a photo: both the man pictured and the news article are trying to create an impact. Apply two methods from chapter five to this double image: how does this succeed as visual communication, and think about what is the most powerful medium on which to convey the image. Is it this newspaper? The online image you are actually watching?

4.This very powerful speech was widely circulated during a time when Iowa was considering legalizing same sex marriages. Apply what you have learned about dramatistic/narrative criticism to this example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSQQK2Vuf9Q (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

How does this succeed as “story”?

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