“ scarborough fair ” leitmotif W r i t i n g
Instructions: In one to two paragraphs (300-400 words), answer ONLY ONE of the following questions in relation to The Graduate (Nichols, 1967). Your response should include a central thesis/interpretive claim that serves as the central focus of your reflection, supported by formal devices in the scene. TIP: to boost clarity in these short reflections, put a clear and explicit interpretive claim somewhere in the first few sentences of the reflection. Complete this by 11:59PM PST on Sunday, November 1st. There is no time limit and you are allowed one submission before the deadline. Be sure that your submission is entered either using the text box or uploaded as a PDF, DOC, or TXT file.
NOTE: Late reflections are accepted for grading for up to two weeks after the initial due date or by the end of Finals Week, whichever comes first. However, please note that the later the reflection, the greater the grade deduction. The lowest reflection grade (1 out of a total of 6 weekly reflections) will be dropped. Plagiarism—submitting work that is not the student’s own, whether lifted from a printed source or from the internet, or submitting writing by someone else (e.g., a tutor or friend), will warrant a reduced or failing grade, depending on the severity of the plagiarism involved.
Answer ONE of the following questions in your reflection:
As noted by Prof. Lim in lecture 4C, the motif of drifting vs. stasis is central to The Graduate (Nichols, 1967). Drawing on examples from only one to two scenes, make a claim regarding this motif, supported by two formal devices of cinematography and/or editing.
The Graduate (Nichols, 1967) follows the interior struggle of a recent college graduate, Benjamin Braddock, who remarks, “I’m worried about my future.” Drawing on specific examples from only one to two scenes, make an interpretive claim about how two formal devices of cinematography and/or editing function as a means of expressing Benjamin’s subjective state.
Imagine the year is 1967 and your good friend Mike Nichols phones you for advice on how to market his forthcoming film, The Graduate. Nichols is torn between promoting his film as a sex comedy about seduction and desire or as a melodrama about anxiety and failure. He calls you because of your reputation as a brutally honest film critic. Respond to Nichols’ dilemma by developing an interpretive claim about genre hybridity in The Graduate. Support your argument by referencing one or two specific scenes and two formal devices of cinematography and/or editing (such as mobile framing, selective focus, deep focus, or shot transitions).
In Lecture 4C, Professor Lim discusses the “Scarborough Fair” leitmotif in The Graduate, which occurs 4 times in the film (1. After Elaine finds out about the affair; 2. After Ben decides to marry Elaine, following her to Berkeley; 3. Ben following Elaine from the bookstore to the bus; and 4. Ben and Elaine at the zoo). Craft an interpretive claim about how the leitmotif establishes a relationship (of similarity or contrast) between two of these scenes or shapes the audience’s emotional response or their expectations about narrative events.
The first reflection professor’s comment: Your first reflection raises a number of interesting interpretive claims on the symbolic effects of costume in The Birds, but lacks a central thesis statement, and is heavy on plot summary and conjecture as opposed to formal or visual analysis. In your next reflection, I encourage you to identify formal devices (such as lighting, shot composition, framing, color) in the scenes that you are analyzing. A good way to approach these assignments is to lead with a central argument or interpretive claim, and then support your argument with detailed examples from 1-2 scenes.
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