Exam essay structure with tasks


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Exam essay structure with tasks

  1. 1. Section C revision – Part 2With reference to your chosen American films, compare the extent to which their messages andvalues reflect the times in which they were madeOn the surface To Kill a Mockingbird (Mulligan, 1962) and A Time To Kill (Schumacher, 1996)l, appearto have similar messages and values, but due to the time difference with regard to when the filmswere made the way in which the messages and values are understood by the audience can be said tobe very different.They key way in which the messages and values of the films can be discussed is through the themesthat they share and the way in which these themes are communicated throughout the films. Thesethemes are bigotry, which can be said to cover racism, racial intolerance and racial inequality, justiceand the law, perspective, moral courage and ethics.To Kill a Mocking bird was made in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement, but the narrative timeperiod was the early 1930s, therefore the messages and values reflected in the film are poignant toboth eras. A Time To Kill was made in 1996 and the narrative period was 1995, I believe that themessages and values in this film are a true reflection of that time period. What is key to both ofthese films is that they were both set in the Deep South of America and more specifically inneighbouring states. To Kill a Mockingbird was set in Alabama and A Time to Kill was set inMississippi, this contextual fact creates further similarities with regard to the messages and valueswhich are communicated, but also the time difference between the two films allows one to reflecton the changing ideologies on the Deep South of America, with a history of deep seated racialtensions and how that has been portrayed in these films. In the South… the legacy ofinstitutionalized racism, first in the form of slavery, then in that of segregation, confers to racespecific dimension [in both films] that cannot be ignored1.HOW AND TO WHAT EXTENT DOES TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD REFLECT THE MESSAGES AND VALUESOF THE EARLY 1960S?To Kill a Mockingbird was released in 1962 right in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement (1955 –1968). The Civil Rights Movement was characterised by major campaigns of civil resistance servingthe purpose to outlaw racial discrimination and freedom from oppression by white Americans.2Soeven though the film was set in early 1930s America and reflected the issues of the narrative timethe messages and values also reflected the time the film was made.During the Civil Rights Movement tens of thousands of people of all races risked not just theirstanding in the community, but also their lives, in the hope of building a coalition for racial equality.The Movement (as it came to be known) was peopled not only by courageous African-Americans, butalso by college students and religious leaders of many races. These activists employed the tactics oflegal challenges, civil protests (including sit-ins, marches, and freedom rides), and other initiatives intheir efforts to see that African-Americans received equal opportunity and protection in the UnitedStates.3This document provides a possible way to approach a particularexam question; it includes quotes that would be useful to learnand hyperlinks to build on your knowledge base. It’s important tonote that anything learned in this section could be useful forother exam questions that come up in Section C
  2. 2. Section C revision – Part 2This ideology of the Civil Rights Movement can be said to be reflected in the messages and values ofTo Kill a Mocking Bird the film has been described as a progressive, enlightened 60s message aboutracial prejudice, violence, moral tolerance and dignified courage.4The main way is which themessages and values are communicated are through the characters and in particular the mainprotagonist, the character of Atticus Finch. His character and actions serves as a catalyst for thechanging messages and values that we see reflected in A Time To Kill, he uses his social standingwithin the community and legal profession to fight against racial prejudice. Throughout the film heteaches lessons of moral tolerance to his children ‘Scout’ and ‘Jem’ and he is always able to fightwith an air of dignified courage. Segregation in the courthouse Bob Ewell vs. Atticus and their confrontations Finding Tom guilty – the injustices of a the American legal system Lessons to Scout Atticus’s closing speech Atticus takes on Tom’s case even though he knows the town will be against him (Herculeantask - requires tremendous effort, strength) Atticus is brave to defend a black man in theface of criticism and threats of violence. Atticus struggles on with case because he believesthat one day good will prevail over the evils of racism and racial equality will exist Facing the mob of men outside the jailhouse.HOW AND TO WHAT EXTENT DOES A TIME TO KILL REFLECT THE MESSAGES AND VALUES OF THE1990S?In 1963, Martin Luther King described Mississippi as “a desert state sweltering with the heat ofinjustice and oppression.” The sobering question suggested by the film is how much has Mississippireally changed?A Time To Kill, in much the same way as To Kill a Mockingbird has strong messages and values thatare linked to that of bigotry and fighting for justice, with this in mind it’s easy to see how the filmreflects current contextual issues of the time. A Time to Kill was indeed released four years afteran all-white jury acquitted the four LAPD police officers who assaulted the black driver Rodney Kingin 1992 [which lead to the Los Angeles riots], and two years after a mostly black jury found O.J.Simpson not guilty of the charges pressed against him during his criminal trial in 1994, while a mostlywhite jury found him guilty during the civil trial.5Although these cases aren’t directly linked to thenarrative of A Time to Kill they are reflections of bias/ corrupt legal systems linked to an issue ofrace, and this is key to the narrative of A Time To Kill.Wilda L. White in her article ‘Imagine… Justice (Nov, 1997) states ‘The only relation people in this filmhave to justice is circumventing and distorting it’6PROVIDE TEXTUAL EXAMPLES OF HOW THE FILM REFLECTS MESSAGES AND VALUES OFTHE EARLY 1960S (perhaps refer to the themes to help you – focus on bigotry, toleranceand moral courage/bravery)PROVIDE TEXTUAL EXAMPLES OF HOW THE FILM REFLECTS MESSAGES AND VALUES OFTHE 1990s (perhaps refer to the themes to help you – focus on bigotry, Justice and theLaw and Ethics)
  3. 3. Section C revision – Part 2CONCLUDEYou should have now shown your knowledge of contextual issues surrounding the films andprovided textual evidence from the films to show how their messages and values relate to thosetextual issues. So now to end you need to look back at your evidence provide a statement thatcompares and contrast the extent to which both films reflect messages and values of the time theywere made.1Burning Mississippi: Race, Fatherhood and the South in A Time To Kill (1996) by Helene Charleryhttp://www.miranda-ejournal.eu/1/miranda/article.pdf?numero=5&id_article=Article_10-8622http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1955%E2%80%931968)3http://school.familyeducation.com/civil-rights/african-american-history/47045.html4http://www.filmsite.org/toki3.html5http://www.miranda-ejournal.eu/1/miranda/article.pdf?numero=5&id_article=Article_10-8626http://usf.usfca.edu/pj/articles/imagine_justice.htm