101917 Representing Everyday Life In Literary And Visual Cultures
• Your essay must offer an argument in relation to the topic. Even if the question directs you to ‘discuss’ or ‘explore’ a topic, you must develop a thesis (an argument, an approach) in relation to that topic and support it with relevant examples from the primary text, as well as ideas from your selected secondary sources. Remember to reference all sources including lecture material.
• In this essay you must engage with a minimum of two secondary sources (i.e. further readings). Secondary sources can include critical and theoretical material that we have studied in this unit (e.g. essays by Lefebvre, Highmore, Felski, Friedan, Perec); other items suggested in ‘Readings and Resources’; or scholarly books, book chapters, and journal articles that you source via the Library.
• The following constitute primary texts for this essay: Revolutionary Road (dir. Sam Mendes); Things: A Story of the Sixties (Georges Perec); Being John Malkovich (dir. Spike Jonze); Weather (Jenny Offill).
Write An Essay On One Of The Following Topics:
1. “Revolutionary Road is a scathing critique of 1950s everyday gender politics.” Discuss this statement through an analysis of Revolutionary Road using relevant theories of the everyday.
2. “The vastness of their desires paralysed them” (Things, 31). Critically discuss the impact of consumer culture on the everyday lives of Jerome and Sylvie in Things: A Story of the Sixties. At some point in your essay, discuss what the narrator means by suggesting that Jerome and Sylvie’s desires “paralysed them”.
3. This semester we have seen that everyday life is the space within which social norms are reinscribed and reproduced. With this statement in mind, explore the theme of social conformity and individual resistance in either Revolutionary Road, Things: A Story of the Sixties, or Being John Malkovich.
4. How are contemporary media industries (e.g. celebrity, social media, self-help, podcasts, fake news) shown to shape everyday life, as well as the writer’s/film maker’s representation of it, in Being John Malkovich and/or Weather?
5. “When you look at 2060, southern Argentina might be a good place for your children since it’s close to the Antarctic peninsula, the place where the survivor colonies will be built” (Weather, 88). Write an essay that examines how Weather presents worry as an integral aspect of contemporary, everyday life for middle-class America. What kind of worries does the novel explore and how does the novel comment on our contemporary cultures of worry and anxiety?
6. “So what do a couple of people like you have to run away from?” (John, Revolutionary Road) “We can put you inside someone else’s body for fifteen minutes” (Craig, Being John Malkovich) Discuss the theme of escape and/or escapism as it relates to representations of everyday life
in two of the following texts: Revolutionary Road; Things: A Story of the Sixties; Being John Malkovich.