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October 9, 2023

Documentary Analysis Essay

Documentary Analysis Essay

Assignment Details:

This essay calls on you to utilize many of the skills we’ve discussed thus far: summary-writing, rhetorical analysis, and academic argument. For this essay, you will write a summary and analysis of a food-themed documentary. You may choose from any the following documentaries, which are all readily available online:

  • High on the Hog, episodes 1 and 2 (2021), Netflix
  • Embrace (2016), Netflix
  • Wasted: The Story of Food Waste (2017), Hulu
  • A Place at The Table (2013), YouTube • Forks Over Knives (2011), Netflix
  • Food, Inc. (2008), Amazon Prime and Hulu
  • Fed Up (2014), Amazon Prime
  • Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead (2010), Amazon Prime
  • King Corn (2007), Amazon Prime
  • What the Health (2017), Netflix
  • Cowspiracy (2014), Netflix
  • Eating Our Way to Extinction (2021), Amazon Prime and YouTube
  • Food Chains (2014), Amazon Prime and YouTube
  • Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food (2023), Netflix
  • The Game Changers (2019), Netflix and YouTube
  • Cooked, episodes 1 and 2 (2016), Netflix

Documentary Analysis EssayIf I were you, I’d watch a couple of the documentaries, just to make sure that you choose one that you are both interested in and one which you clearly understand. Documentary Analysis Essay. Once you select the documentary you wish to use for this essay, you’ll likely need to watch it 2 or 3 times in order to gather enough info for your paper. As you watch, take notes about the following things:

  • What is the documentary’s argument?
  • What reasons and evidence are provided in support of the argument?
  • What experts and/or resources are cited and referenced?
  • What questions does the documentary leave you with?
  • What aspects of the documentary would you like to know more about?
  • Does the documentary do a good job of establishing its ethos? Why do you—or don’t you—trust the argument, the featured speakers, and the documentary markers?
  • Is the argument effective? Why or why not?
  • Who do you think is the target audience for the documentary? Why do you think that?
  • How does the documentary make use of logos and pathos in support of its argument?
  • Does the documentary remind you of anything else you’ve seen, heard, or read? All of this information will be useful to you as you write your essay, which will have two primary sections: The Summary (2.5 pages):

Documentary Analysis Essay. The first part of the essay will be a thorough summary of the documentary, which will introduce your readers to the film’s argument, explain the film, and contextualize the analysis that will come later. Your summary must follow all of the good summary-writing tips we’ve discussed before, and you must make frequent use of signal phrases to credit the various speakers/narrators in the documentary. Finally, your summaries should utilize paraphrasing, rather than direct quoting, as much as possible.

The Analysis (2.5 pages):

Documentary Analysis Essay. The second part of the essay will take the shape of an analysis and response. In this section, you’ll want to move beyond just telling us what happened in the documentary; you’ll also want to react to and analyze the documentary. This analysis should include both a discussion of the documentary’s rhetorical effectiveness—target audience, ethos, pathos, logos, etc.—and your own personal response to the various arguments the documentary makes. As you write the analysis, it will be important for you to identify specific points within the documentary that you wish to respond to, add to, and expand upon. This particular part of your essay might frequently use phrases, similar to those in the chapter of They Say/I Say that we read, like this: In the documentary, Director X argues __________________. However, I think __________________ because of ______________. Be sure to use the tools and templates in that chapter as a resource while you write. The ultimate goal of this project is that, like with any academic research project, you are first examining existing information (the documentary) and then add to that information via your own analysis and response. We will work on this essay over the course of three drafts. Requirements: typed, MLA format, Times New Roman, size 12 font 5 page minimum.