Albany State University 12 Years A Slave Age of Enlightenment Film Analysis Paper

Question Description

Film Papers are analytical reflections. This means that students should undertake critical reviews of a film that includes both a thesis and themes and content from the textbook and lectures. Successful papers focus on a theme or series of themes from the film that connect to the course content. For example, this might be the role of cash crop production and slave resistance in 12 Years a Slave. Papers should possess a clear argument, and be written with a coherent structure. THESE ARE NOT FILM ONLY SUMMARIES (I have already seen these movies, and I know what happens. Do not simply re-state the events of the film.) Here are some basic questions and themes you could address if when you write your paper. Remember that you must also connect the film to the course readings.

Slave resistance: in what ways (large and small) do enslaved people fight back or demonstrate agency in the film? Think about both obvious examples (fighting, running away) as well as more covert forms of resistance (psychological manipulation, withholding information).

Gender: Explain its role both among enslaved people (especially with regard to Patsey) and in white society (especially with regard to Mrs. Epps).

Labor/production: what types of work do slaves perform and how are they used for the profit of the masters? How is their labor measured and assessed?

Labor Management: How do the masters stratify the slave labor force (think about house slaves or “privileged” slaves like Mistress Shaw vs. field hands). How might this be used to keep enslaved people separated and divided?

Religion: How is religion featured in the film? How do masters use religion? How do slaves use it?

Masterhood: Explain the philosophies and approaches of Ford and Epps. How are they different and similar? Consider Solomon and Patsey’s conversation about Ford.

(I will email a copy of the reading from the text book thats goes with this assignment

Prof. Angela


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