Analysis Paper #1
To complete this writing assignment, you first need to watch two movies: 1) Coming to America, and 2) The Joy Luck Club. Then you choose only one of them to write your paper on.
The theories you can possibly use to frame your paper are in the following. You only need to use one of them for your paper, not all of them.
- The Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, aka the K &S model;
- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Model;
- Collier’s Identity Development Model;
You can pick one of the following topics to focus your paper on. They include:
- How cultural differences hinder intercultural communication and how individuals can overcome cultural differences with sincerity, mutual respect, and open communication. Either “Coming to America” or “Joy Luck Club” is a good movie to use for this topic;
- How young people growing up in immigrant families struggle with their cultural identities and how individuals become better and stronger through their identity negotiations with families. “The Joy Luck Club” is a great movie to use to support this this topic;
- The theories that you can use to identify cultural differences are the Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model (p. 161) or the Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck’s Cultural Value Orientation Model (p.193). As far as “Coming to America” is goes, the cultures you can identify and differentiate are Akeem’s African culture and Lisa’s American culture and furthermore you can also discuss the cultural differences between young and old. The young are represented by Akeem and Lisa and the old by their respective parents. “The Joy Luck Club” demonstrates very clearly the cultural differences between the traditional Chinese culture represented by the mothers and the modern American culture represented by all the daughters. The Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck’s Cultural Value Orientation Model is a perfect fit for identifying and discussing those cultural differences.
Analysis Paper #2
(Due on December 16 by 11:59 p.m.)
To complete this assignment, you first need to watch: 1) Seven Years in Tibet; and 2) Becoming American. Then you choose one movie to write your paper on.
The theories you can consider using to frame your essay are in the following. You only need to use one of them, not all of them.
- Oberg’s cultural shock model can be applied to either “Seven Years in Tibet” or “Becoming American”.
- There are several intercultural adaptation models to use to discuss individuals’ adaptation processes. Young Yun Kim’s model emphasizes the importance of time and interpersonal interactions for the success of adaptation process. Lysgaard’s 4 stage model is more descriptive about what one goes through at every stage of his/her adaptation process. Berry’s model points out the complexity of adaptation outcomes. You will have to decide on which model to use based on how well it fits the character or characters you want to discuss from your chosen movie.
- Guoming Chen’s Intercultural competence is a very important theory for understanding what one can do to improve one’s intercultural skills. The model describes intercultural competence as a multi-dimensional concept, implying that one needs to develop multiple abilities to successfully handle intercultural situations.
Depending on what theory you would like to use to frame your paper, you can choose to focus your paper on one of the following topics:
- The impact of cultural shock on individuals and how one can overcome the cultural shock; and how cultural shock could make one stronger if he/she survives it. Either “Seven Years in Tibet” or “Becoming American” is a good movie to use to discuss this topic.
- Intercultural process with an emphasis on highlighting the difficulties at each stage and strategies of overcoming those difficulties. Either movie is good for discussing this issue.
- Intercultural competence is a great topic to focus your second essay on. You can build your essay on this topic by using either of the films. You can describe what intercultural competence means and then compare and contrast individual characters in one particular movie by evaluating their intercultural competence.
Analysis Paper Structure
Each of your analysis papers should be constructed in a coherent essay format composed of three essential components: Introduction, Discussion, and Conclusion. All your ideas should be spelled out using full sentences with no grammatical or spelling errors.
Introduction: In this section, first, you identify the movie and the theory you will use in the essay; second, you clearly state your thesis; third, you give a brief review of what will be presented in the discussion section.
Your thesis statement is a sentence that not only clearly states the main idea of your essay paper but it also controls the development of your whole essay. A thesis statement reflects your opinion and judgment of your understanding of the theory and your interpretation of the movie you chose.
This is not a thesis statement: “In this analysis paper, I will describe what the Hofstede’s model is about and then I will use it to compare and contrast the African culture where Akeem comes from and the American culture Lisa was brought up with.”
An effective thesis statement should be like this: “In this analysis paper, I would like to demonstrate how being able to analyze the differences between cultures can help one overcome misunderstandings that might arise in different intercultural situations. The person I want to use to make my point is Akeem, a character from the movie “Coming to America”. Akeem’s cultural curiosity and savviness has won him love, trust, and a bright future.”
Here is another effective thesis statement: “In this analysis, I would like to argue that despite the problems the cultural differences could generate in intercultural communication, some people choose to confront the challenges of bridging the cultural gaps because it is those cultural differences that make intercultural communication interesting and help individuals become stronger and better. Akeem in the movie “Coming to America” exemplifies how overcoming the challenges of cultural differences has made him a stronger and better person.”
Discussion: In this section, you first describe both the theory and the movie you want to use to build your essay on and then you discuss the connections between them. First, you discuss how the theory allows you to see things in the movie you otherwise would not have been able to see. Then you discuss how the movie also provides you with new information and knowledge you can use to expand your understanding of the theory.
For example, you can talk about how the Hofstede’s model has taught you how to identify cultural differences such as Akeem’s African culture vs. Lisa’s American culture. And how learning about cultural differences allows you to see merits in different cultures and how those merits should be understood and evaluated in their respective cultural contexts. Or you can talk about how cultural differences are often presented as something negative because they make communication difficult between people of different cultural backgrounds but you want to argue that cultural diversity also has made human world richer and made communication more interesting.
Conclusion: In this section, you first summarize what you have discussed so far in your essay and then you bring a closure to your essay by re-emphasizing the thesis you have stated in the intro part of your essay.
You can adopt either APA or MLA to format your essay.
Analysis Paper Evaluations
Your analysis paper will be evaluated based on: 1) clarity of thesis; 2) development of thesis; 3) organizational coherence; 4) correct understanding and application of theory; 5) thoroughness of research.
Some Commonly Asked Questions
- How long is each analysis paper supposed to be?
The recommended length is 3,000 words.
- Can I use two movies in one paper?
Yes, you can, even though you are required to use only one. If you find some commonalities between two movies, you can certainly use them together in one analysis paper. If you do it well, it will certainly help you earn a good grade.
- Can I use more than one theory in one paper?
Yes, you can, even though you are required to use only one. For example, for Analysis Paper #2, you can use the theory of intercultural competence in conjunction with any other theory. It makes a lot more sense that way.
- What format do you want us to follow for citations and references, APA or MLA?
You can use either APA or MLA as long as you are consistent with one.
- Do you want us to use literature from sources other than the textbook/lecture notes?
You are encouraged to research for information beyond the textbook (or lecture notes). There is simply not enough information in the textbook for certain theories. If you use any of those theories, you will have to use outside sources. For example, Collier’s cultural identity development model.