Taegukgi Extra Credit Essay Guidelines
For this OPTIONAL EXTRA CREDIT assignment, you should write an essay of 600-900 words (3-4 pages, double-spaced) based on your viewing of the 2004 South Korean film Taegukgi. A good essay on a film critically and intelligently considers some particular aspects of it while offering a broad evaluation of its content and importance as a whole. The argument that you make in your essay—that is, your thesis—should address the following aspects of Taegukgi:
1. Provide a brief overview of the film—who was the director, when was it filmed, what was the subject matter, and what was the source of the plot (original, based on history, based on a memoir, etc.)? You are framing the film for the reader, not summarizing it. Your response to this should not exceed one short paragraph.
2. How does the personal story of the main characters in the film reflect its larger messages about the historical causes, ideologies, and events behind the Korean War? What do you suppose the film maker is attempting to express with this film, beyond “entertainment value”? In other words, what is the argument of the film itself?
3. What is the meaning of the Korean title of this film? (Do some research on your own to find out.) Why do you suppose this title was chosen? How does it relate to issues of nationalism? Why might it have been changed/left untranslated for the English language release? Is the division between the two sides of the war a clear one?
In preparing this essay, follow these guidelines:
1. Use a 12pt serif font (typically Times New Roman), double-spaced, with 1-inch margins. The final copy should be submitted via Carmen as a doc, docx, or pdf file. If you submit a PDF, the text should be intact—I must be able to copy/paste from it.
2. Your essay must make an argument and provide evidence to support it. There should be a well-defined thesis which reveals your argument and the basic structure of evidence that you will use to support it. It should not include subjective opinions (“I liked it”). You should have a coherent introduction and conclusion. You should fully address every question raised in the prompt.
3. Your essay must make use of direct evidence from the film to support your argument, though it is not necessary to cite scenes by running time. Rather than broad assertions, make references to specific events and scenes to support your case.
4. Do not simply summarize the film. You must make an argument of your own and critically consider the aspects of the work as detailed above.
5. Your essay should include a title which advances your argument. Do not title it “Bonus Paper.” Your title is the first opportunity you have to make an impact on your reader—don’t waste it.
6. Include a complete citation of the film itself at the end of your essay, in an appropriate scholarly style (Chicago, Turabian, MLA, etc.). Ensure that you are correctly citing the director’s name.
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