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Russell Eagling


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Excellent work!

I really mean that.  I was very impressed with the standard of English, structure and level of argument in the essays.  The vast majority of people were also able to use quotes and references in ways that would satisfy any international academic institution.  I read lots of essays of which the students who wrote them should be very proud.

Unfortunately, it is the nature of comments like this to pick up on the mistakes more than the things that went well!  Below are just a few issues that appeared in several people's essays.  Just because the comments appear here, though, doesn't mean it applies to your work.



Essays were often one-sided.  For example, after giving quite good definitions of science fiction, many essays would make very strange arguments trying to attribute some elements of fantasy (eg the Force) to science.

Conclusions were generally the weakest part of the essays.  There were many essays that would try to answer the difficult questions by concluding that "I agree with... (the sentence in the question) in some ways."  What would be far better is to give more detail about in which ways you agree/disagree. 

For example in many Straight Story essays many people said that they agreed "in some ways" that all American life can be seen in the film.  However, a far more informative conclusion might be that "although there are some unpleasant features of American life that aren't shown in the film, the film reflects many of the positive aspects" or "Lots of ordinary aspects of life can be seen in The Straight Story, but the more unusual aspects that aren't part of day to day life for the vast majority of the population (eg very great wealth, gun crime and drugs) are omitted.  Both these examples show that you don't agree entirely with the question posed at the beginning, but they give the reader a much better impression about the writers own ideas.  Also very few people made the obvious point that it is impossible for any film to truly represent "all American life" or all life from any country.

Many people used a very useful quite from when trying to define escapism.  It said "Escapist films attempt to remove the audience members from their own world and the problems within their world by offering an alternative world view or perspective..."  This is a good quote, and useful.  However, many essays didn't go on to explain how directors achieve this; things like predictable, linear plots, clear distinction between good and evil characters, happy endings, attractive stars as actors etc etc



Several students mixed the words "actor" with "character".  For example, in Moulin Rouge, Christian is the character, Ewan McGregor is the actor, or in Vertigo, James Stewart is the actor, Scottie is the character.

There were a number of abbreviations and colloquial expressions in the essays that shouldn't appear in formal writing.  Sometimes things like "sth" or "yeah" were there.  There were also lots of "Sci Fi" when it should have been "science fiction".

Spelling was generally excellent, but lots of students who wrote about Moulin Rouge need to learn the difference between "The Duke" and "The Duck"



Nearly every Death and the Maiden essay talked very well about the ways in which the characters subvert the expectations about good and evil.  However, several missed out the important idea that the films ending didn't match Hollywood expectations.  According to these expectations Paulina should have killed Dr. Miranda.

Lots of people used the term "working class" to describe the Deer Lady in the Straight Story.  Actually the term "working class" is generally used to describe people who's job involved in quite intensive manual industry.  The Deer Lady is a member of the middle class.

Very few essays comparing "Singin' In the Rain" and "Moulin Rouge" pointed out that "Singing in the Rain" is far more innocent and "Moulin Rouge" is much more forward about sexuality

Finally, James would like to say that he was disappointed that no-one studied the impact of escapism on the 1999 classic, Deep Blue Sea.  (But Russell doesn't think its a classic!)


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Launched on December 25th 2003