Assignment #3 Contemporary Novel and Film

Essay Assignment #3


Research analysis of a contemporary fairy tale 20%. This assignment has a research component and requires the student to synthesize a number of resources in connection with a contemporary fairy tale.


DUE:               Week 12, Sunday April 10, midnight

Structure:        APA style essay, title page, intext citations, list of references; 12 point, Times New Roman Font, double spaced with paragraph tabs

Research:        Use at least 3 secondary sources, at minimum 1 critical essay from our course text and reference the movie and/or readings. 

Length:            1200 words (approx. 5 double spaced pages)


Respond to ONE of the following topics.

1. Analyze Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and Haroun and the Sea of Stories in their approach to the presentation of the modern hero’s journey. Consider how the concerns of the modern hero are not only about being the best version of the self but also of something much bigger.  

Hints for a thesis: While there are many directions you can take to respond to this question … you may wish to consider the character, the deeds, and the motivations of the hero; the helpers and opponents as being internalized representations of personal obstacles as well as externalized representations from socio-political sources; and the movement towards self-knowledge that encompasses the world at large.  
2. Discuss the satirical politicization of the modern fairy tale in two of the following: Haroun and the Sea of StoriesSpirited AwayMickey Mouse Monopoly and Shrek2, as they tackle any ONE modern day issue such as discrimination, poverty, sexism, environmentalism, industrialization, free speech, relationships, or the generation gap.

Hints for a thesis: While there are many directions you can take to respond to this question …You may want to focus on one of these or a combination that relates to a central theme. For example, you may want to criticize modern industrial values that violate human rights, commercialize ideas and people, and abuse our environment.  Another possibility is to consider the role of generational relationships in creating a strong society, including the child’s relationship with parents, the child’s relationship with grandparents and personal history, and the child’s connection to the threatened values of that particular culture.
3. Explore how the power of art (storytelling) is presented from the perspective of the artist, the audience, and the message in any TWO readings/movies, including ONE of Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Shrek2, Spirited Away and ONE short story such as The Happy Prince or Ugly Duckling

Hints for a thesis: While there are many directions you can take to respond to this question …you may wish to consider the meta-fictional nature of autobiographical writing, the writer’s responsibilities to challenge the reader, the connections made between the stories and the tellers of the stories.

Grading Rubric


  • Effective thesis
  • Clear purpose – unique perspective
  • Subject is narrowed and connected to the themes reviewed in class
  • All paragraphs clearly support the thesis


  • Well organized
  • Clear main ideas – parallel in context and meaning
  • Logical flow
  • Can be seen as following an effective outline

Strong introduction – body – conclusion


Development: sophistication of thinking

  • Effective analysis – demonstrates original thinking and understating of the readings deeper meaning
  • Use of literary devices to explore text
  • Use of textual support to back opinion (ie quotes)
  • Use of research to back interpretation

Research and Documentation

  • Document presentation (APA Title page etc)
  • In-text / parenthetical citations (all references must be cited within the running text of the essay)
  • Accurate list of references in the APA style
  • Adequate number of references
  • Reliable sources used (ie at least 2 academic sources) 

Style and Mechanics

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation 
  • APA  presentation of  document
  • Style appropriate to college level writing 



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