Write an essay which adequately address the following topic:
No one can say for certain what happened to the Mayan people, but theories abound and include varied possible alternatives to explain the abrupt and mysterious disappearance of the Mayan civilization.
Write a three to four (3-4) paragraph paper in which you:
1. Clearly state the “mystery” and provide a brief summary of at least two (2) theories which could explain the mystery. Because some theories may sound far-fetched, include the source or promoter of each
theory – such as a scientist, a historian, a theologian, etc.
2. Identify one (1) of the theories and provide at least two (2) convincing reasons why the theory you have chosen is the best one to explain the mystery.
3. Use at least two (2) sources besides the textbook. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not quality as academic resources.
TOPIC FOCUS CHOICES FOR ESSAY THREE (DRAMA/FILM)
PROMPT A) Compare and contrast the play, “Trifles,” and the short story, “A Jury of Her Peers,” with the ultimate goal of discussing why Glaspell made particular choices in developing the story the way she
did or of exploring how the play causes a reader to focus on specific elements in a different way (and why) or what effect that difference will have on a reader. Use the DCCC database to find scholarly articles
about these differences or about Susan Glaspell’s reasoning behind (or process of) shaping the play into a short story. Alternatively, if you did not write about “A Jury of Her Peers” or if you have another focus
in mind for a new paper, you may write an analysis of Trifles on its own, using sources to help support your analysis. In this case, remember that you are analyzing the play instead of the story.
PROMPT B) Evaluate the online version of Trifles, a d’moiselles production in NYC (the staged play version we watched in class), discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the directing and acting choices.
You may not find a review of this particular production, but you could find reviews online of other productions of the play that discuss how other theater companies staged it, and use those reviews to support
some of your points. Alternatively, you may compare and contrast the theater version with the 2009 film adaptation we watched in class. Use the DCCC database to find sources about the play’s themes,
characters, or symbols that you could use to support your analysis (these would help to support the strength and weaknesses of particular directorial and acting choices in the adaptation).
PROMPT C) Pretend that you are “pitching” a contemporary film adaptation of Trifles to a major film executive. Frame your paper in the form of a letter to this fictional executive and convince her or him that
the themes in the play are relevant to today’s audiences. Explain how you would alter the setting and characters to set the action in 2014. You are welcome to recommend modern day actors, directors,
and/or musicians for the project. Be sure to reference and analyze specific quotes, symbols, themes, characterizations, descriptions, and events from the play as you make your case. Visit DCCC’s library and
databases to locate relevant, peer-reviewed articles. Consider referencing articles in which literary critics analyze the play and/or film critics evaluate the 2009 film that we watched in class.
PROMPT D) Using your notes from “Poetry Journal #6” as a starting point, compare and contrast the 5 Hamlet “To be or not to be” Soliloquies available on YouTube, with the ultimate goal of exploring how
the different choices in directing, setting, and/or acting create varied interpretations of the scene. Consider arguing which version best captures the essence of the theme or of Hamlet’s character. Familiarizing
yourself with the entire play may help in constructing a more convincing argument. Use the DCCC library databases to find literary interpretations of the famous soliloquy and/or specific reviews of these film
PROMPT E) Develop a unique and specific thesis based on your analysis of the film, Pan’s Labyrinth, and then defend your thesis with textual/filmic evidence and exposition. Film analysis, like literary analysis,
will help you to perfect your critical thinking and argumentation skills, and film analysis in particular will help to strengthen your visual literacy. In the end, your readers should come away with special insight or a
new way of thinking about the film (how it works / what it means). You should consider writing your essay about the film’s depiction of obedience and disobedience to authority, yet still focusing on only one
major element (such as character or symbolism). For sources to help support your argument, you may incorporate Roger Ebert’s review, a scholarly article about the film from DCCC’s library databases,
and/or Erich Fromm’s “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem.”
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