Friday, 2 December 2011

@Phil - Essay Plan Reattempt

@Phil - I have read your notes for how to structure this and taken it all onboard and I think this is stronger than the previous plan but can let me know if this is what you meant or have I gone off target.

Postmodernism Essay Plan Version 2


·         Begin with: This assignment investigates Post Modernity through the idea of Deconstructionism used in specific scenes and characters in Scream (1996) and Funny Games US (2007)

·         Brief order of points and how evidence will be useful

Para 1

·         Begin with Postmodernism and identify the difficulties of multiple meanings, linking to Modernism’s dominate one view.  

·         “In many ways, the word ‘Postmodernism’ defies description. This is due to the fact,... that a myriad of disciplines have adopted various ideas about Postmodernism and made them their own.” (Michener, 2007: 4)

Para 2

·         Introduce the idea of Deconstructionism and how it relates to Postmodernism, exploring the ideas of how the world is constructed out of language and culture. (Use Scream by Edvard Munch and Ghost Face from Scream as example)

·         “Meaning is never identical with itself because a sign appears in different contexts it is never absolutely the same ... the signified will be altered by the various chains of signifiers in which it is entangled. (Sarup, 1993: 34)

·          Figure 1: The Scream by Edvard Munch, Figure 2: Ghost Face

Para 3  

·         Lead onto the idea of Meta Narratives as fiction that deconstructs itself, revealing how constructed other examples in it’s group are and how conditioned audiences are to it.

·         “Lacanian formulation involves the first acquisition of “self”, that is the way that the subject begins to establish an identity within a university of meaning through a series of imagery identifications,...” (Stam, 1992: 128)

Para 4

·         Introduce the film examples ‘Scream and Funny Games’ of Meta-narratives and how they deconstruct the horror genre (Scream and Funny Games US formula for slasher film and torture porn)

·         “The affinity between the compilation film and assemblage and appropriation in other medias makes this the most characteristically Post Modern strain of contemporary avant-garde film making.” (Peterson, 1997: 143)

·         Figure 3: The phone call, Figure 4: Farber Family tortured

Para 5

·         Rules in Scream, How director Wes Craven has used traits from other films such as Halloween to make the characters in scream seem smarter as they have the prior knowledge.

·         “Unlike the various strands of [structural] criticism, Postmodernism considers images as they relate to and across each other.” (McRobbie, 1994: 12)

·         Figure 5: Group explaining the rules to survive

Para 6

·         Rules in Funny Games and how it appears to the audience that the Faber family reclaims the control from the torturers but the director structures the film for the torturers to win in the end.

·         “So, deconstruction analyses a text so thoroughly as to discover the many ways the text itself did not communicate upon initial reading.” (Michener, 2007: 64)

·         Figure 6: Rewind scene

Para 7

·         Truth and why viewer watches it – How both films compare in visualising the real seriousness and violence to make the audience feel uncomfortable and question why they watch films of this genre

·         “Broadly speaking, Post structuralism entails a critique of the concepts of the stable sign of the unified subject, of identity and of truth,” (Stam, 1992: 23)

·         Figure 7: Paul looks at screen including the audience as part of the world


·         Highlight the key findings of the deconstructed techniques e.g. rules and changing (deconstructing) the structure of the horror genre (Don’t List)

·         Form a judgement and emphasis points

1 comment:

  1. Hey Adam - first things first - 'Deconstructionism' - yuk. Just refer to 'deconstruction' - you can be deconstructionist, I think - but deconstructionism sounds very clunky to my ear.

    I think there's still some confusion and lack of clarity here, Adam - for example, you're confusing 'meta-narratives' with 'meta-fiction' and they're different things. Don't use 'meta-narrative'. You need to refer exclusively to 'meta-fictions' (fiction about fiction) as opposed to 'meta-narratives' - which refer to big, totalising ideologies, such as History, religion, science and art etc. I think you need to be clear on this before the write-up or you'll run into difficulties of clarity. You've got Lacan in there - but are you going to define his role within postmodern thought and how his ideas of 'the other' etc. relate to postructuralism? I suppose I'm a bit worried that you're deploying theoretical terminology that brings with it very specific baggage - and I hope you've got that baggage firmly within your grasp - otherwise, again, you might be opening your assignment up to criticism.

    It seems to me that you need to accomplish a more plainly expressed sequence of ideas, which I would roughly describe as:

    Para 1 - define postmodernism (with concluding reference to deconstruction)
    Para 2 - define deconstruction (with concluding reference to 'meta-fiction').
    Para 3 - define meta-fiction (with concluding reference to Scream and Funny Games US
    Para 4 - begin analysis of films demonstrating deconstruction-at-work via meta moments etc.

    Using Munch's Scream and Ghostface plays very close to the lecture notes, and has more to do with 'Death of the Author' in the context I used the comparison. Just be mindful of the relevance of everything to your particular discussion - there isn't room for everything so keep your focus tight and on message.