Paper 2 Ideas for Topics

Use this as a space to post ideas for what you’re thinking of writing on for paper 2. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out some of your classmates’ for inspiration.

I’d like all of you to have an idea posted by Wednesday. I will try to post feedback for your ideas, or at least sign off on them, by that time. 


77 thoughts on “Paper 2 Ideas for Topics

  1. Spiderman- Peter Parker and how his transformation into Spiderman is symbolic of coming to age.
    Hunger Gamers- How the movie is symbolic of the government tactics in society and how it is foretelling of future events.

  2. Dark Knight Rises- I was planning on using a promotional movie poster for the film to portray the binaries between light and dark, other contradictions, and the scene in which this picture would have taken place.

    • Yes, there’s a lot to pick apart in all the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. I don’t think Bane is as interesting a villain as the Joker, but DKR definitely offers some commentary on economic disparity and the nature of heroism.

  3. Blurred Lines- how the music lyrics relate to the music video and what’s happening

    The Lion King- the movie poster or scenes from the movie (ex. How Scar’s “Be Prepared” Song relates to Nazi Germany)

    • “Wish You Were Here” has some interesting lyrics to work with. And Desperate Housewives, after 7 seasons, would certainly give you a lot of material to work with–I think the challenge would be in narrowing down the material to find what you wanted to write about.

  4. Dark Knight movie poster analyzing light and how the joker delights in evil.

    The Purge, analyzing how it portrays the government as good but anarchic and how civilians go along with the idea. Other symbols as well.

  5. The promotional poster of ABC’s TV show Revenge. In the background behind the words “Revenge,” there is a choppy sea and a very dim light on the horizons. Also the “g” in “revenge” is in red which represents a lot of things. I will use specific scenes and quotes from episodes to make the connections between the poster and the series itself.

    • The series seems like it’s good, pulpy fun, but I’d be interested to see if there’s more to it than that. The show seems to feature a lot of wealthy, beautiful characters, so maybe there’s a critique of high society? And the all-consuming desire for revenge, etc.

    • I like the thought, Leo, but I’d actually caution you against it. Any kind of nature and animal photography is hard to textually analyze for a number of reasons. One is that nature photography is based largely on luck, and professional photography is deliberately arranged. Writing your paper will be a lot easier if you focus on images of people or manmade things–you’ll have a lot more to talk about.

  6. The movie poster for “Obsessed” has a lot of subliminal messages that could be interpreted.

    The movie “The Dark Knight” and how it represents the Bush administration fighting the war on terror.

    • The Dark Knight could make for a great paper. People have interpreted the film as either a critique of the Bush administration’s war on terror or an endorsement of it. You could pick a few scenes that seem to address the issue and focus on doing a “close reading” of them.

  7. Looking at the possible Christian theme behind the movie of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and show how both the words (textual aspects) and actions (visual aspects) of the characters portray this theme.


    Analyzing the music video and lyrics of “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood

    • The Chronicles of Narnia is pretty Christian–the parallels are direct. If you’d like to write on that one, it would be good to reflect on the visual aspects of the movie–things we’ve talked about like lighting, camera work, costume design, etc. It would also be good to consider why CS Lewis decided to re-tell the story of the Passion using fairy-tale characters and British schoolchildren.

    • Good stuff. I had an AP US History teacher in high school who told us that the book was an extended metaphor for the Gilded Age. I also learned recently that the movie was a success in the gay circles of the 1930s and 40s–for a long time, calling oneself a “friend of Dorothy” was code for identifying oneself as a homosexual.

  8. Sarah McLaughlan Commercial- closely looking at the depictions of dogs and camera angles within the commercial

    Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball”- identifying the representations in her lyrics

    Great Gatsby movie poster- identifying the representations on the poster in relation to the movie and underlying themes

  9. The APSCA commercial is a well-made public service announcement–it exists to send a clear message (animal abuse is wrong and sad) and elicit a donation. There’s not much to it beyond that. The “Wrecking Ball” and Gatsby ideas both have plenty of potential though. Gatsby’s themes are well-documented, and there are certainly a lot of issues to explore with the Miley Cyrus video.

  10. I might analyze a poster/trailer/scene based on a chinese movie.
    Trailer/poster on “Now You See Me”

    I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet.

    Michelle Wu

    • Either of those could work. Now You See Me seems like a pure popcorn movie, but it would be interesting to see if you could find a deeper meaning in the movie’s portrayal of magic.

  11. I think I’m going to do an analysis of Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” music video which will also analyze the lyrics. If I need to I can also include her album cover for this song.

    • I think that’s a great idea. There are a lot of things to unpack in Lady Gaga’s music videos. You could also look into Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” which a lot of people said Gaga borrowed from heavily/ripped off. Why would Lady Gaga want to make a song in the tradition of Madonna?

  12. Lion King- the retelling of Hamlet
    One of Dr. Seuss’ books about his political views (Marvin K Mooney Will You Please Go now- Watergate, Horton Hears A Who- the isolation and democracy of the Japanese, Yertle the Turtle- Hitler, or the Lorax)

    • You’re drawing on some Dr. Seuss stuff I didn’t even know about–that sounds great. When you’re writing about re-tellings, allegories, or extended metaphors of any kind, it’s important to remember that you’re not just telling me which character equals which (Simba=Hamlet, Aslan=Jesus, etc). You’ve got to ask why the author/creator made the choice to re-tell the story the way he did–why lions? Why turtles? Why rhymes? and so forth.

  13. I am going to write about the new version of the movie Alice in Wonderland. Im an going to discuss how this book has underlying problems and issues that a children shouldn’t be able to watch, such as the mad hatter and the cat.

    • Good. You could focus on things like, How are the language and images suggestive of the industrial revolution to the reader? Check out the Goldstein Library, they probably have a copy of the book.

  14. Comparison between “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus and either her other new song “We Can’t Stop” or one of her older songs.

    Winnie the Pooh and an analysis of the personalities of the characters (each represent a different mental disorder).

    • =( That sounds like a kind of a cynical take on good ol’ Pooh Bear and his friends (though not entirely inaccurate). Rather than reducing them to stereotypical representations of manic depressives or people with OCD, it could be interesting to look at what kinds of personality traits the characters represent and how the narrative is making a judgment on the characters. Do you think AA Milne wants his readers to be more like Rabbit or Piglet? Why are they called just Rabbit and Piglet? Could be interesting to try to figure that out.

      Miley Cyrus is very deliberately trying to change her image from a teeny bopper to a sexpot, and it’s interesting how she’s going about that. Websites like Jezebel and Slate have published interesting articles critiquing her videos that could be worth looking into.

  15. I am thinking of doing one of Luke Bryans albums, or John Mayers albums. Also, using a music video from one of the songs from the album.

    I am also considering the lyric and music video of Runaway Love by Ludacris.

    How do these sound?

    • Yeah, John Mayer has written some songs with interesting lyrics. I can’t tell if “Waiting on the World to Change” is sarcastic, or if he actually thinks people of our generation should just sit around and wait for things to get better.

      “Runaway Love” is interesting because you have Ludacris, typically a tough, kind of misogynistic guy, seemingly reaching out to victims of abuse in his song.

  16. Examining the perspective that in the TV show “Lost”, Jacob and the man in the dark shirt or “John Locke” are actually God and Satan and the island is sort of a purgatory. Easy to get at least 7 pages out of this, only issues is it will not focus on only one episode.

    • For sure. What you could do is try to focus on scenes that seem to be setting up Locke and Jacob as representations of God and Satan. Maybe that scene where Locke holds up the pieces to Chinese checkers… I stopped watching after the second season, so I can’t really help you there. But yes, focus on some specific scenes and imagery from various episodes and you should be fine.

    • Could make for a good paper, Jimmy. I think to make it fir the audio/visual paramteres of the assignment, you’d have to pick a specific song, artist or album that makes reference–however sly–to ecstacy. Pick apart the lyrics and music, and alos consider the visual media associated with this artist–album art, music videos, that kind of thing.

  17. Eminem analyzing his older songs such as “Loose Yourself” and video to the newer version of Eminem we see and hear today after rehab.

    Movie Warrior analyzing the poster that shows both main characters and how they have their family issues and inequalities. Talk about the color and meaning of the poster…. Great movie.

    • Either of those sounds great. Eminem used to be this kind of goofy kid with dyed hair and a chip on his shoulder for being poor and white. Now, he’s one of the most respected names in hip-hop, and his attitude has changed some. Haven’t seen Warrirors, but it sounds like you could definitely get some good stuff out of it.

    • Good idea. I had a writing instructor who once told me that Rocky isn’t really a boxing movie–you watch what happens after he loses the fight at the end and you realize you were watching a romance the whole time. Let me know what angle you’d like to take with it.

  18. I am going to write about Flobots music video for “Handlebars” and maybe the whole album “Fight With Tools.”

    • Good plan. I always thought it was interesting how the chorus was kind of like a kid taunting someone (“I can ride my bike with no handlebars”) and then he gets into some deeper stuff–“I can lead a nation with a microphone” was a powerful statement at a time when we’d been led to war by people shouting the loudest.

  19. Meet the Robinsons: Analyzing the main idea, “Keep Moving Forward”, the importance of family, and portrayal of industrialization and innovation (both good and bad).

    Cars: How industrialization and innovation are portrayed, both good and evil. And also the need for appreciation of life’s simple moments.

    • That could work, but you’ll need an angle. From what I remember, Friday Night Lights is also offering a critique of football and the importance we place on it. It’s viewed as a kind of religion, and young men sacrifice their bodies on its altar (the QB getting paralyzed at the end). It’s possible I’m thinking of the TV show and not the film, but I think there’s probably some thematic overlap there.

  20. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and how it symbolizes vices that humans have and how it can lead to their downfall.

    • Very good. Tell me who stands for what (MLK= Proffesor X, that kind of thing), and then try to explain: why use mutants to tell this story?

      It will also be good to focus on one of the many X-Men incarnations: the comics, the animated series, the movies.

  21. I’m planning on writing on the first episode of BBC One’s Sherlock (“A Study In Pink”). Both the dialogue and video have a lot of meaning, and there’s also a bit of foreshadowing in the show.
    -Becky B.

    • That’s a real smart show, BBC Sherlock. There’s certainly some foreshadowing in the episode, and some deft misdirection as well. The episode offers some commentary on technology, on war, on friendship. Lots there to write about.

    • I like the poster idea. The commercials are mostly just clips from the show, right? I don’t know much about the show, but it seems like it might offer some interesting commentary on… the dangers of beauty, maybe? It doesn’t seem to paint a positive portrayal of women, since they’re always trying to kill one another. Or men, for that matter.

  22. Alright so I’ve completely changed my idea. I plan on either using the OneRepublic’s video for “Counting Stars” or the whole album “Naive” and picking like three songs, but I need help choosing between the two.

    • I’m afraid I can’t help you there, as I’m not familiar with that album. I will say that you could use both the video and the album, as long as you’re taking the time to give each a “close reading.”

  23. I’m thinking about writing on the “Not Afraid” music video by Eminem and how it is about how he went through rehab and how he understands what other people are going through in rehab.

  24. Okay, so I’m definitely analyzing “Rugrats”. I haven’t decided if I should analyze the show as whole, put examples from the various episodes and talk about each character/family individually or choose a specific episode and analyze how the characters/families are portrayed in it.

  25. I am going to write about a few paintings that Norman Rockwell painted including his depiction of Rosie the Riveter and the painting of Ruby Bridges.

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