1. Does the paper fulfill the assignment?
2. What thesis (main argument) is advanced? Keep in mind that your thesis should be more than just an observation; it should offer an argument that you will have to prove to the reader (whom you can assume has also seen the films).
Ineffective thesis: High Noon and Unforgiven are Westerns that are similar but different.
Effective thesis: High Noon and Unforgiven are Westerns that send the message that
villains exist in civilized society, not just the wilderness.
3. Is your main idea adequately developed? Are there sufficient details, such as brief supporting quotations from the relevant film(s)? Have you explained how these details support the argument?
1. Tense: write in the present tense when discussing any text, including films: “Will Kane shoots Frank Miller,” or “Unforgiven depicts a former outlaw.”
2. Paragraphing: try avoid writing one-sentence paragraphs, and make sure that each paragraph deals with one topic only.
3. Quoting: when you quote an outside source, you need introduce the quote. The easiest way to do this is to identify the speaker, source, or context. You also need to follow up the quote by explaining its significance or its meaning.
Will Munny tells the Schofield Kid, “I can’t remember. I was drunk most of the time,” but it’s not clear how much he actually remembers from his past (Unforgiven).
Will tells Amy, “I’m not trying to be a hero. If you think I like this, you’re crazy,” which shows that he’s reluctantly waiting for Miller, and not trying to be a powerful authority figure (High Noon).
When a quotation runs longer than four typed lines in your paper, set it off by indenting ten spaces from the left margin. Quotation marks are not required for these long quotes.
4. Punctuation: most of the time, periods and commas go inside quotation marks, not outside. Also, when quoting, the period should come after the parenthetical citation, not before.
5. Point of view: stick with either 1st person (“I,” “we”) or 3rd person (“he/she/one,” “they”) point of view. Avoid 2nd person (“you”).
2nd person: As the movie proceeds, you see Will Munny struggling with his past.
1st person: As the movie proceeds, we see Will Munny…
3rd person: As the movie proceeds, one sees Will Munny …
3rd person: As the movie proceeds, viewers can see Will Munny…
6. MLA Format: no title page needed. Place identifying information (name, date, etc.) in the upper left hand corner. Include a Works Cited at the end of the paper.
Works Cited listings:
Title. Dir. Director’s name. Medium. Distributor, year of release.
High Noon, Dir. Fred Zinneman. DVD. Republic Entertainment, 2002.
Unforgiven. Dir. Clint Eastwood. DVD. Warner Bros., 2002.
Essay in an anthology:
Author’s name. “Title of work.” Title of Anthology. Ed. Editor’s name. Place of Publication:
Publisher, date. Page range. Type/format of source.
Ray, Robert. “The Thematic Paradigm.” Signs of Life in the U.S.A., 5th edition. Ed. Sonia
Maasik and Jack Solomon. NY: Bedford, 2006. 308-15. Print.
Author’s name. “Name of page or article.” Name of website. Date of posting/revision. Name of
sponsoring institution or organization. Date of access. Web.
“High Noon.” Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. 30 September 2