prime minister margaret thatcher ’ H u m a n i t i e s
you will be asked to select a film from the list provided below and analyze it based on the various
themes/definitions we have discussed in class throughout the duration of the semester.
This is a 3 step process:
1. Select the film and have it approved on Canvas (see canvas for date details).
a. When you submit your film please note that if someone else chooses the same one, we will need to “flip” for it.
2. A write-up of the themes and the scenes which go along with it (see criteria below)
1. Film Selection**: The outsiders
2. Film Write-Up/Analysis:
Every film you select will have a variety of sociological themes/topics in it. It is your job to connect concepts we have covered in class
with scenes from the film. The assignment should be formatted in the following way:
? How should it be formatted?
o Introduction into the film you chose
o Why did you choose this particular film? What about it drew you? It is not enough to simply say “it sounded
interesting.” Why did it sound interesting? What about the plot or topic drew your attention?
o A synopsis of the story. (Along with what year it was produced, actors, and plot)
o This portion of the assignment should be in narrative essay format. Once you transition into the actual themes,
please see the example provided below for what it should look like.
o An explanation of the different themes/topics within the film. You can do this in narrative format if you like, but it
might be easier if you were to separate them.
o These examples should be identified and cited throughout (see examples)
? Did you like this film? Why or why not?
? Who was the target audience of the film?
SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
Final What was the overall sociological message of this film?
? Do you think the filmmakers were effective in achieving that goal? (This is speculative; I do not expect you
will be able to definitively know this but I would like you to demonstrate you tried thinking about it.)
? The conclusion portion should be in narrative format.
? Example Excerpt of a Final
For the purposes of this project I chose the film Billy Elliot. It was directed by Stephen Daldry in the year 2000 and stars Jamie Bell,
Julie Walters, and Gary Lewis among others (IMDB.com). The film is set in 1980s Northern England amidst the backdrop of the strikes
by coal miners against the austerity cuts of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government (in this case I am citing myself
as I teach this information in my History 105 course).
The plot revolves around a young boy named Billy Elliot who lives in his working class home with his widowed father, brother and
grandmother who is suffering from dementia. His mother has died a few years ago and her presence (or lack thereof) is felt keenly by
all members of the family. The family is clearly poor. Billy’s father and brother are both on strike from their jobs and are rather tense.
Billy’s best friend is a young boy named Michael who likes to dress in his mother’s clothing.
One day, while Billy is at boxing, he “drops in” on the ballet class taking place adjacent to his boxing lessons. The teacher, played by
Julie Walters, recognizes that Billy may have a special talent and offers to tutor him on her own time. He begins to improve but when
his father discovers he has been cutting out on his boxing lessons he goes rather berserk. Once Billy’s father talks to the ballet teacher
he realizes his son has talent and tries to help him. Billy is granted an interview at a prestigious dance school outside of London. Class
becomes very apparent as most of the kids there are wealthy and middle to upper class.
Billy auditions and finds out weeks later that he has been accepted. The coal miner’s strike is broken and his brother and father return
to the coal mines and Billy leaves for the school. The film jumps to the “present” where his father and brother arrive at the ballet theater
to see Billy, now grown, assume the lead in Swan Lake. They are seated next to Michael, Billy’s boyhood friend who is wearing
makeup and sitting with his boyfriend, who happens to be of a different race. The film ends with Billy’s father sobbing while watching
Billy soar through the air as the prince in Swan Lake. The film is rife with themes surrounding class, gender, inequality, homophobia,
family dynamics, etc.
(Note: That was my introduction. Now I am going to transition into the examples. There is no order they need to be in but they should
1. Chapter 4, Social Structure and Social Interaction, Social Class: Almost immediately in the film we are introduced to Billy’s
world which is a very working-class neighborhood. Henslin defines social class as “large numbers of people who have similar
amounts of income and education and who work at jobs that are roughly comparable in prestige.” (105)
2. Chapter 4, Social Structure and Social Interaction, Social Integration: Billy’s father and brother are coal miners. The coal
miners are on strike during the film and there are multiple scenes where they are shown hanging around with other striking
coal miners. The worst sin someone can commit would be to return to work without a settlement. The group interaction of the
coal miners can be found in chapter 4 of our text where social integration is defined as “the degree to which members of
society are united by shared values and other social bonds.” (Henslin, 110)
3. Chapter 7, Global Stratification, Social Stratification in Great Britain: It helps that this film is set in the United Kingdom.
Henslin maintains that the British are very “class conscious”. (209) This can be seen through their speech, education, where
they live, etc. In the film, it is obvious that Billy’s ballet teacher is of a higher social class. She and her family are not suffering
the strains of a coal miner’s strike. They live in a middle class household and she drives a relatively nice car. She is clearly
more educated than Billy’s family. Henslin says that the British, like Americans, do see differences in class based on the type
of car a person drives, but it is much more pronounced in language and education. (209)
4. Chapter 6, Deviance and Social Control: Billy’s friend Michael essentially comes out to him revealing that he is a homosexual.
Billy considers it for a few moments but it doesn’t seem to impact his friendship with Michael. However, Billy’s father assumes
that Billy must be taking up ballet because he has been influenced by Michael, who is derogatorily referred to as a “poof”
several times in the film. Homosexuality, in the time and circumstances of the film being set would be referred to as a deviant
behavior. Deviance is defined as a violation of norms (or rules or expectations). (Henslin, 162)
5. Chapter 3, Socialization, Gender Map/Gender Socialization: The fact that Billy loves ballet and dancing in general is perceived
as “odd” for a boy. Billy is sent to the gym for boxing lessons. However, it becomes clear he is not interested. In the section
on “toys and play” on page 82, Henslin articulates how we learn how to be “our gender” through the way we play with one
SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
Final another. Boys are taught to engage in sports that are “more rough.” Girls would be taught to act in a more dainty fashion and
engage in such activities (like ballet, perhaps?). (Henslin, 82)
6. Chapter 15, Social Change and the Environment, Changes in Ideology: At the end of the film the viewer learns that the strike
has been broken and Billy’s father and brother are returning to the coal mine without the concessions they wanted. They enter
into the elevator that will take them down to the mine while looking very dejected and demoralized. This is one of the
fundamental changes in worker-owner relations as noted in Chapter 15. Henslin tells us that Karl Marx noted that workers
used to be independent; if they did not like what they saw they would leave. However, in the industrial age things have
changed. Henslin says “the workers had to submit, since desperate unemployed workers were lined up, eager to take the
place of anyone who left.” (491)
Please note: I could have continued with far more examples, but at least this gives you a clear idea of what I am expecting. After my
examples I would have concluded with my conclusion.