US History & Geography
Unit 6 Test – 1950s American Society

Comparative Analysis Essay

Many movies today portray elements of American culture, past and present, we are currently discussing in this class. Movies can give historians a window into the culture of the time with which it was created – making such a movie a primary source. We will be examining such a movie in this class.

We will examine two versions of the film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, over the next few weeks. First, we will watch the 1951 version of the film. We will watch the original first because it will give you a better frame of reference when we watch the 2008 version. After we watch the original, we will discuss some of the themes of the film. We will then watch the remake – released in 2008.. This should spark serious debate and open a window into American culture of the 1950s, but also that of the early 21st century.

For this assessment, you will be responsible for writing a 5 to 8 paragraph comparative analysis essay, examining the differences between American culture of the 1950s, to that of the early 21st century. You will have to compare three different themes portrayed in the films and how each film represents the period in which it was released. You will need to you specific information from the films as well as outside materials we have discussed in class or have been in your assigned readings.

Grading will follow the attached rubric. Note that your essay must include information outside of the film for supporting information. If one of your themes was how fast-food restaurants had changed during these two periods, you must have information outside the film as supporting evidence (the development of the franchise system, highway system, and growth of consumerism and conformity).
Where to Begin?

As we watch the films, take serious notes. Pay attention, not to the plot itself, but of cultural characteristics portrayed in the film. This may be difficult when we watch the 2008 version, because we are too close to this period. It will become strikingly obvious when we watch the 1951 version. As we watch that film, I think you will begin to get some good ideas for your essay.
Possible Movie Themes

As you watch the two films, think about how the remake is different from the original film?
Possible items you should pay attention to:
What is the role of government?
Who represents the government?
How does government respond?
What are the different dangers presented by the films? Why?
Gender Relations
Race Relations
Role of Science
Role of Religion
How do citizens react?
Where does it take place?
Role of the alien

These are just a few of the possible choices you can use for this assessment. If you have any other ideas, feel free to bring them up during class discussions or outside of the normal class period if you prefer.
Comparative Analysis Essay
The Day the Earth Stood Still

Introduction
The introduction is inviting, states the main topic and previews the structure of the paper.
The introduction clearly states the main topic and previews the structure of the paper, but is not particularly inviting to the reader.
The introduction states the main topic, but does not adequately preview the structure of the paper nor is it particularly inviting to the reader.
There is no clear introduction of the main topic or structure of the paper.
Overall Content
There is one clear, well-focused topic. Main idea stands out and is supported by detailed information.
Main idea is clear but the supporting information is general.
Main idea is somewhat clear but there is a need for more supporting information.
The main idea is not clear. There is a seemingly random collection of information.
Theme 1
Relevant, telling, quality details give the reader important information that discusses the culture of both periods equally.
Supporting details and information are relevant, but one key issue or portion of the storyline is unsupported.
Supporting details and information are relevant, but several key issues or portions of the storyline are unsupported.
Supporting details and information are typically unclear or not related to the topic.
Theme 2
Relevant, telling, quality details give the reader important information that discusses the culture of both periods equally.
Supporting details and information are relevant, but one key issue or portion of the storyline is unsupported.
Supporting details and information are relevant, but several key issues or portions of the storyline are unsupported.
Supporting details and information are typically unclear or not related to the topic.
Theme 3
Relevant, telling, quality details give the reader important information that discusses the culture of both periods equally.
Supporting details and information are relevant, but one key issue or portion of the storyline is unsupported.
Supporting details and information are relevant, but several key issues or portions of the storyline are unsupported.
Supporting details and information are typically unclear or not related to the topic.
Accuracy of Outside Information and Facts
All supportive facts from outside sources are reported accurately.
Almost all supportive facts from outside sources are reported accurately.
Most supportive facts from outside sources are reported accurately.
NO facts are reported OR most are inaccurately reported from outside sources.
Conclusion
The conclusion is strong and leaves the reader with a feeling that they understand what the writer is “getting at.”
The conclusion is recognizable and ties up almost all the loose ends.
The conclusion is recognizable, but does not tie up several loose ends.
There is no clear conclusion, the paper just ends.
Format
Paper is written with ideas broken into clear paragraphs with clear and supported topic sentences.
Paper is written with ideas broken into clear paragraphs, but does not always have clear and supported topic sentences.
Paper is sometimes written with with clear paragraphs but is missing clear topic sentences and does not follow the thesis.
The ideas of the paper are intermingled and not separated into different paragraphs.
Writing Mechanics
Essay has one or two spelling and grammatical errors that do not hinder the reader.
Essay has an a limited number of spelling and grammatical errors that do not hinder the reader.
Essay has an excessive number of spelling and grammatical errors that hinder the reader.
The information in the essay is unclear because of the number of spelling and grammatical errors.
On Time
Assignment was completed on time and fully completed. (4pts)
Assignment was completed 1 to 7 days late when fully completed. (3pts)
Assignment was completed 8 to 14 days late when fully completed. (2pts)
Assignment was turned in more than two weeks late when fully completed. (1pt)

Introduction Paragraph Model

State Topic:
America today is very different from that of the 1950s.
Give one or two examples from the reading/student presentations (not from the film)

Setup:
One way to examine how societies have changed is through primary sources. The primary sources used for this examination will be two films, both titled The Day the Earth Stood Still. The original version was released in 1951 and a remake was released in 2008. These films give an insight into the morals, values, issues, and tensions of their respective periods.

Thesis:
American society today is different from that of the 1950s….
Include your three topics in the thesis statement.
These will be the differences you came up with based on watching the two films.

_______________

America today is very different from that of the 1950s. During the 1950’s, for example, …… One way to examine how societies have changed is through primary sources. The primary sources used for this examination will be two films, both titled The Day the Earth Stood Still. The original version was released in 1951 and a remake was released in 2008. These films give an insight into the morals, values, issues, and tensions of their respective periods. American society today is different from that of the 1950s in the areas of ___________, ___________, and ____________.

Body Paragraphs

Topic Sentence: Proves part of your thesis

Setup: Introduce your idea and your evidence

3 Pieces of Evidence:
ONE from 1951 & TWO from 2008
or
TWO from 1951 and ONE from 2008

Analysis: How does your evidence prove your point?

Tie back to Topic Sentence and Thesis:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *