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First I need rough draft for this essay.
Introduction: In Freuds Civilization and Its Discontents, we have read five chapters that address how Freud believes civilization and the individual are at odds with one another. The individual becomes engulfed by the demands of civilization, and out of the want of love, of family, and often a desire to be part of the totemic culture, he or she permits the super-ego to rule the conscience, wherein instinct is subdued. For some the conflict between the self and society is manageable, for others there are moments, or a moment, of rebellion, and for others the conflict just becomes too much and they crack under the pressure.
Writing Task: Write a thesis-driven essay of a minimum 4 (four) pages analyzing one way in which a specific film, television, or literary character seems to be in conflict with civilization, using Freud (the chapters weve read in the book) and at least two additional outside sources to support your analysis.
The idea here is to write about someone yes, fictitious, but still very human you know rather well. Youve binge-watched the show from sunset to sunrise, seen the movie seventeen times, and re-read the book every year since you were five. Okay, maybe you didnt go to that kind of extreme, but you do know the character. And you know what he or she has been up against in various situations with a partner, parent, child, employee, employer, colleague, opponent, neighbor, etc. So you also know what kind of conflicts he or she is, or is not, dealing with in a certain situation in an effort to comply with the demands of civilization. For this assignment, though, focus on analyzing one conflict (one way) this individual is struggling with.
Heres an example. Walter White was hes dead now, by the way; the network killed him a man smothered in conflict. In Breaking Bad he was so tormented by his failing health and limited income that he felt compelled to do something to financially protect his family after hes gone because civilization requires money to live in it comfortably. So he starts making meth, which creates more conflict. He was an upstanding citizen, a loving husband, and now hes breaking the law defying ethics and lying to his wife. Whats more, since hes a brilliant chemist, his meth is top notch and all the drug dealers want it. Now hes in company with the shady kind of people major advocates of brute force he only saw on TV, and hes making more and more dangerous and daring decisions to maintain the front of living a normal, civilized life with a wife and two kids in the suburbs. But hes also getting pretty rich, which is really putting his conscience to the test. As the show progresses, the conflicts increase, and, because the show was so well written and acted, the ratings skyrocketed. Until Walter shot himself (no, really, he did if you really paid attention to what happened).
Now if I were to write about all that I pointed out on White above, Id have a 300-page dissertation for a PhD. You dont want to do that. Nor do I want you to do that. The key words to consider in the Writing Task is one way. That means to focus on one conflict. So Id look at one episode of the show and break it down even further into one of the conflicts. While Walter is dealing with the dealers, hes also trying to keep his wife in the dark about his meth shenanigans. And hes having issues with his drug-addled partner who cant keep his head on straight while some local thugs have just discovered their lab. Thats four conflicts. Sure, theyre going to overlap to some extent, but the key is to keep the focus on one. Since his wife is primary to his happiness (remember chapter four in Freud), thats probably going to be the meatiest conflict to dive into theres fear of loss of love (losing her if she finds out), perhaps his sense of guilt about lying to her again, and maybe even his use of brute force on his partner when he threatens to blow Walters cover with his wife for a bigger take of their drug profits. See? Theres a consistent connection to Walters challenges with his wife, and I only, for starters, tapped into three insights from Freud; theres other aspects of Freuds observations of the psyche I could address here as well, but you should get the picture. What you draw upon from Freud depends on whats relevant, as you analyze it, to the conflict your character is having to face.
1. Remember to make your thesis and points clear. An outline is highly recommended.
2. Your outside sources besides Freud must be valid. For one, you need the show, or movie, or
book, or short story that you got your character from. Consider dialogue, character description,
action. You need to back up your assertions with specifics from your source. Your other source
could simply be a review or article about your character wherein there are observations or analyses
that help support your own argument. With any of these three sources (including Freud), you want
to incorporate sufficient and relevant passages to validate your assertions. The general rule of thumb
is to make sure each point you make has some support from your sources.
3. Go with what you know, but be careful a major conflict could be daunting. Think about what you
can focus on and analyze effectively in four (or slightly more) pages.
4. Sorry, you Breaking Bad fans; you cant write about Walter or anyone else on the show. Youve got
to come up with a character of your own!