For example, you may choose to examine the theme of artificial intelligence by analyzing the play “R.U.R.” by Karel Capek, Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and the painting “The City Rises” by Boccioni. Or, you could delve into the theme of light & dark with the ballet “Swan Lake,” C.S. Lewis’s novel “The Last Battle,” and Caravaggio’s painting “Judith Beheading Holofernes.”
This part of the final project is your choice of theme and identification of one piece that expresses that theme.
Choose a theme based on the following suggestions, or propose one of your own. Try to derive a specific theme (eg instead of “love” which is very broad, try sacrificial love or unrequited love or agape love, or instead of “confusion” which is vague, try mistaken identities or another more specific theme). Explain the reasoning for this theme choice and apply it to a piece in 3-6 sentences. Relate the significance to the humanities or human experience. Identify a piece that utilizes this theme and explain how the theme is expressed in the piece. Remember, a theme is not just a topic — it is a universal but specific idea that weaves throughout a piece. Some examples of theme:
A particular emotion or state of mindunrequited love, blinding jealousy, fear of technology, haste in passion etc.
A fairy tale, myth, fable, Biblical or classic story that recurs in other works of humanities as a theme (e.g. the themes of “Cinderella” (rags to riches) and “The Prince and the Pauper” (swapping rich/poor identities), the Fox and the Grapes (or any of AEsop’s fables), parable of the Prodigal son, can be found in many stories, plays, art works and films
A religious or spiritual lesson or moral “the last shall be first”, hope in poverty, enlightenment, “blessed are the meek,” (anything from Sermon on the Mount or various religious proverbs should be suitable), prudence or something more specific like a certain parable (or an aspect like “the seed planted among the thorns”) or moral etc.
A political or social theme–justice and injustice (eg. Racial inequality in justice), social inequality (eg. prejudice towards immigrants by previous generations of immigrants), social progress, political conflict, etc. If choosing a theme in this area, be careful not to advocate or try to solve problems — we are analyzing how a theme is expressed, not debating or solving.
A Representation of gender (eg. women as Eve or women as Mary, woman in traditional male roles, the “perfect” housewife, patriarchal pushback, machismo, etc), race (eg. racial identity, mixed race, African and American), or ethnicity
A character or charcater type — e.g. Mary (mother of Jesus), Eve, Artemis Goddess or the Hunt, the outlaw hero, Ares God of War, Alice in Wonderland, etc. You will want to choose a character so renowned as to have a ideological quality. For example, I attended an art exhibit with the title “Eva/Ave” — it featured different paintings of women as either deceitful (Eve) or pious (Ave). The paintings were not literal representations (see above in Representation of Gender).
A state of order (eg. order in chaos, order vs. chaos, beauty in chaos, order as representative of oppression)
A social/power status (eg. Enlighted aristocracy, populism, might makes right, the feminine mystique, survival of the fittest, outward image of perfection of American suburbia, bias against immigrants, nationalism, wealth and decadence).
Natural forces or elements of the natural world, like weather, animals, landscapes, etc. (eg. Sublime beauty in force of nature, expressions of flight, water as rebirth, entropy in nature).
Cultural/Stylistic themes: Wild West in Outer Space, steampunk/industrial age, 1920s mentality of carefree and credit, immigrant working life, hippy culture, disco fever, Valley girls etc
Relationships — (mother/daughter-in-law antagonism, father-son relationship in non family members, mean girls, peer pressure, perfect mother stereotype, abuse, etc)
Images light/dark, specific symbols, representative colors, fragmentation, deconstruction, entropy, etc.
Explain support for the theme by relating it to the humanities or human condition, identifying a piece that expresses the theme and explaining how the theme is expressed in the piece. This should be a paragraph of 4-6 sentences.
Due Date for Part 1: This submission is due during Week 3, with the final day of submission being the Tuesday of the third week (11:30pm ET), but it is extended to the Friday of Week 4 for a better understanding of theme. Please see the Course Schedule for the exact final due date for this submission. The submission should be carefully edited and proofed for higher ed caliber writing, including structure, grammar, punctuation and word choice/usage.
Part 2: Development of your Topic.
This part of the final project is a summary of your ongoing work on the final paper; it should include an introductory paragraph and three supporting paragraphs, one covering each selected work.
In an introduction, develop a hook to draw the reader into your work. Then, identify the theme you chose in Part 1, express how it is significant to the humanities and preview how appears in three different works. Then develop a paragraph for each piece — each from a different Humanities discipline (visual art, music, dance, poetry, prose, theater, film, opera) — outlining how the piece expresses the theme and providing one specific supporting example from the piece. For instance, you could choose a poem, a painting and a scene from a film, all of which express and represent the theme of brotherly love. Or, to be even more specific, you may choose to examine the theme of artificial intelligence by analyzing the play “R.U.R.” by Karel Capek, Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and the painting “The City Rises” by Boccioni. Or, you could delve into the theme of light & dark with the ballet “Swan Lake,” C.S. Lewis’s novel “The Last Battle,” and Caravaggio’s painting “Judith Beheading Holofernes.”
Write an introduction in which you:
employ a hook to draw the reader in
introduce the theme and its relation to the humanities
support the worth of studying the theme
preview the 3 expressions.
Write three supporting paragraphs — one paragraph (4-7 sentences) about each of your selections in which you:
Identify reliable and appropriate representations (published and established works of critical acclaim, an image from the gallery in which the original work is housed, recording of a play, video, etc.) of the theme. Avoid self-published pieces. In order to research effectively for Part 3, you will need a published piece with published criticism/research.
Explain how each selection expresses the theme and provide one specific example from the piece to support.
Apply at least one relevant interpretive tool/concept from our class materials for each example towards the theme.
Cite the source (utilizing proper MLA citation format), including the full bibliographic information as well as where the representation was accessed. Be sure to cite the actual source: eg, youtube is not a source, it is a medium, where the representation was accessed. If accessing a film or song, cite the title/artist/publisher/etc and reference youtube as access point. See the note in MLA source about accessing via Netflix, Hulu et al. Also, IMDB is NOT a source — it is a database. Find and cite the actual film if using a film. More info on citing art and performances can be found at: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_other_common_sources.html
Due Date for Part 2: This submission is due during Week 6, with the final day of submission being the Tuesday of the sixth week (11:30pm ET). Please see the Course Schedule for the exact final due date for this submission. The submission should be carefully edited and proofed for academic writing level appropriate for higher ed.