Thursday, 15 November 2012

@Phil Critical Perspectives: Essay Plan

Pam and I worked this  out together during one of our tutorial sessions together and I was going to work on the essay until Wednesday's lecture and the seminar soon after when the lecture inspired me to change my plan. Now I'm not exactly sure whether or not this previous plan would be a good one to go by. I have a feeling that it's too broad, especially the first paragraph.

What would you suggest?


Critical Perspectives: Base Essay Plan  
Essay Title: The Use and Effects of Post-modernity in Blade Runner

Chapter 1? 
Paragraph 1: Discussing the term and origin of post-modernism.
Paragraph 2: What is post-modernism?
Paragraph 3: Examples of post-modernism in film
Paragraph 4: How post-modernism is used in film.
Paragraph 5: Introduce Blade Runner 
Paragraph 6: Talk about the style of the film 
6a: and compare with others 
7: What inspired their director.

Chapter 2 ?
Paragraph 8: Explain how post-modernism is used in the artistic style of both movie.
Paragraph 9
Most modern architecture within the film (compare with traditional styles)
10 Clothing
11 Rhetoric – /script

Chapter 3
Paragraph 12: Introduce the messages and meanings in Blade Runner. (Explain how post modernism can be used to decipher said messages and meanings.)
Paragraph 13: religions mortality/immortality 
14 politics: Marxism etc
15: consumerism
Enhanced effects/meanings with lighting and sound

Paragraph 16: Conclusion.


  1. Hi Tom, I just thought I would jump in before Phil, although I am sure he will also want to comment...
    This essay plan is WAY too broad! This would even be too broad for a dissertation!! I have emailed you some notes I took from a first year lecture last week, presented by Tracey Ashmore, with some basic essay writing tips. You could also look at the slides from the presentation (link in email). Basically though, she said that in a 2000 word essay, you should have roughly 9 paragraphs for your main body, each around 5 - 10 sentences long. With your plan at the moment, you are looking at each paragraph being about 106 words long - just to give you an idea of what that looks like, what I have written above (from the start of my comment to '5 - 10 sentences long') is 102 words - that's not a lot, is it, when you consider you have to introduce each point! I would also urge to look at the brief again, where it clearly says 'It is not necessary, or desirable, to refer to all of the theoretical ideas from the
    lecture programme – it is important to use ideas that are relevant to your
    discussion.' You should choose one or 2 ideas at most, and discuss those in depth, in relation to your film.

  2. Hi Tom - yes, indeed, Jackie has beaten me to the punch - this is an essay plan for a dissertation (you even refer to chapters in this plan, which is a structure recognised in 8,000 word undertakings!). As suggested at the seminar, Blade Runner is a great choice, because it is an established postmodern text; as suggested too, it sort of divides up in two ways - the first being how its production design (which would include the mise-en-scene of the film, so including costume) reflects the postmodern aesthetic of bricolage, temporal dislocation (hotch-potch of divergent styles), fragmentation etc. The second aspect is the way the film deals with hyperrealism - more real than real - by using the replicants as explorations of simulation and simulacra. Arguably, there is a third aspect I think you could probably deal with in the essay (which is actually between 2,500 - 3000 words according to the brief), which is the fact that the film itself is ambiguous and open-ended in terms of Deckard's own 'reality' - the original version was elusive in terms of committing to an interpretation - it doesn't give an answer - keeps interpretations in play - which is another principle characteristic of postmodern cultural product. This is a minor point - but might make for a valuable closing summary.

    The reason why this is more than enough is because it is one thing to recognise Blade Runner's hotch-potch of styles as symptomatic of postmodernism, it is quite another to investigate 'why' postmodernism should be so characterised by fragmentation and a mashing together of otherwise separate components - this is the tricky bit. Likewise, when you deal with hyperrealism you absolutely need to introduce this term and show that you understand it technically as a theoretical idea even before you start investigating it via the film itself.

    So - yes, your essay structure is way too broad; it far more satisfying at this level of degree study to do more with less - and that way guarantee a content-rich discussion that is actually a sustained exploration of a line of enquiry.