Allegory of the Cave

Allegory of the Cave

A. Easier, Shorter Essay:

Reacquaint yourself with the Allegory of the Cave. Recall that for Plato we are all prisoners and that our thinking is and has been throughout our lives shaped by the puppet masters who control what we see on the screen in front of us. If Plato were to read Descartes, what would he find there that is similar to his own way of thinking about us and about our world? What would be the key differences?

Consider bell hooks’ The Will to Change, Roland Barthes’ Mythologies, The Matrix, and The Truman Show. Which of these are more like Plato and which are more like Descartes? Explain why you think the way you do. The more specific you can be in your answer, the better it will be. Hint: it’s an even split.
B. Long, Tedious Essay

Frozen: Gay, Nay… or Something Else

Your job here involves completing several different tasks some easier than others. Before I describe these tasks, I want to take this opportunity to state on the record there is no “right” answer. In the end, what matters is that you use the authors and theories we have covered in class and your research to support and defend your particular conclusions.

Please read through all the prompts before your start writing.

1. Watch Frozen and try to enjoy it. Think about the lyrics to such songs as “Let It Go.”
2. Research Frozen online. Acquaint yourself with the so-called “gay agenda controversy” the film has stirred up. You should take the time to read about those people who and those institutions that are critical of Disney and Frozen.
3. Research Frozen again. This time your job is to read about those individuals who and the organizations that embrace Frozen, see Elsa as heroic, and praise Disney for its support of LBGTQ people.
4. In a couple paragraphs, outline the contours of this controversy. This is not the time to draw conclusions. Your job here is to report.
5. Watch Frozen again. This time pay careful attention to the portions of the film that each side cites as evidence of their views. Bring all your critical thinking skills to the table and start drawing your conclusions. You do not need to write anything yet. You will return to this matter and begin your response to it in #7 below.
6. Imagine that you are Roland Barthes. In a short paragraph explain the origin and nature of this controversy using the terms you set forth in your book Mythologies. What is this controversy really about? You will want to make use of Barthes’ theory and language and refer to Frozen when/where necessary.
7. Now, state your conclusions about Frozen in one sentence. You must state this conclusion using Barthes’ language.
8. Write several paragraphs in which you defend your conclusion. To do this you should imagine that you are engaged in an argument with those who do not hold your view. This portion of your essay should read like a debate. Marshal any and all elements of Frozen that you think support your view; address and refute the claims made by your opponent(s); offer additional support to those whose side you are on. The more specific you can be the stronger your argument will be; the stronger your argument is the better your grade.
9. Even if Frozen has nothing to do with homosexuality, this film has stirred something up in us collectively. Jung would argue that we should pay attention to cinematic artifacts like Frozen. But why? What facts would he list to persuade us to think that Frozen is worth analyzing? What psychological reasons would he set forth to convince us that Frozen is culturally significant? A good answer should make use of as many of Jung’s ideas about dreams and dream interpretation as possible.
C. Short, Difficult Essay:

Both Elsa and the Narrator in Fight Club have internalized the same lesson taught to them by their fathers, and thus they live in ways that are similar in key respects. What is this lesson that both have been taught? We know why Elsa learns this lesson, but why must the Narrator? In what ways do they live alike?

Elsa and the Narrator both enact this lesson in their lives and so both suffer from the same problem. What is the nature of this problem? How does this problem manifest itself in their lives? By reference to such concepts as Self, Complex, Symptom, Repression, Impulse to Wholeness, Personal Unconscious, Ego, and Archetypes, how would Jung account for their common problem, their intense emotional outbursts, their states of mind, and their behavior as a whole?
D. Shorter Essay:

Elsa: Anna, what do you know about true love?

During Elsa’s coronation ceremonies, Anna meets Prince Hans. One song later, she is convinced that in the dashing prince she has found “true love” and so asks the new Queen for permission to marry. Her request is denied. Anna is criticized first by Elsa and then by just about everyone in Frozen for her eagerness to marry a man she has known for one day.

Imagine that you have just finished reading All About Love and you happen to be watching Frozen with bell hooks. You hear bell say: “Until the very end, Elsa doesn’t know the first thing about love either. Well, at least Disney is taking a small step in the right direction.”

Easy part: Anna has strong feelings for Hans, so why is it that the “true love” Anna shares with the prince is not truly love?

Hard, tricky part: How would hooks explain why Anna and Elsa know so little about true love? A good answer will make use of All About Love and our classroom discussion of hooks. Hint: you will need to think well beyond the sisters’ age and inexperience with romantic love.
Small Extra Credit:

You teacher will be doing a much longer segment on love next semester. He needs a good film recommendation. What film do you think best illustrates the kind of love hooks discusses in her book All About Love? Why? It cannot be Frozen.

Big Extra Credit:

Watch Dead Man Walking. By reference to Griswold, would Matthew Poncelet qualify for forgiveness? What steps, if any, have the Percy or the Delacroix family taken toward forgiveness? According to Griswold could Sr. Prejean forgive Poncelet? Why or why not?