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CSUN Latin American Studies 2013 12 Years a Slave Film Analysis Discussion


  • Your paper must be submitted as a PDF or Microsoft Word document in Canvas.
  • It also must be 12 pt, Times New Roman, double-spaced between lines but not between paragraphs. 1” margins all around. Failure to comply can result in a 0 points.
  • This assignment should be at the least to 5 to 6 pages. Anything less than 5 full pages will receive 0 points.
  • Critical Essay format (introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion)
  • Make sure to proofread before submitting. Essay will also be graded on critical essay writing skills.

Questions that must be answered in your critical essay (each questions should be answered in separate body paragraphs of your essay. A well developed body paragraph is at least ½ a page:

  1. What is your movie about? Briefly provide a plot synopsis, the historical period/setting the movie covers and briefly discuss why this movie connects to our course CHS 245.
  2. Who are the major characters and how are they connected to the plot of the movie. How does your movie portray race/ethnicity, gender, and socio economic status in the characters? Does the movie portray diversity and do you find any of the characters stereotypical or non-stereotypical? Explain your answer/assessment of these questions.
  3. Identify and briefly explain the major themes and sub-themes of the movie and analyze their significance. What are key scenes in the movie that reveal these themes? Briefly discuss and analyze them.
  4. How does the movie relate to our course CHS 245? Explain specifically how it relates to at least 3 specific themes/topics/issues from CHS 245? (Need to make specific connections between course material and the content of the movie you chose). Use at least two direct quotes from our course material to support your analysis.

5. You are to find at least 2 Historical Sources for the movie you chose to review . They have to be outside sources, you cannot use the class material. You can use more than 2 sources.

(These can be books, academic journal articles, newspaper articles, primary historical documents. No web pages/internet sources like wikipedia allowed!!) If you are unsure, you need to check with the professor. You should choose historical sources that relate to your movie in regards to theme and content.

  • Using your historical documents, include a brief examination/analysis of how these contribute to understanding and analysis of the movie you chose. (This should be at least 1 full page of the report)

  1. Why did you choose this movie? What are your personal feelings about this movie overall? Did you like it, find it interesting, learn from it? Would you recommend it to others? Explain your answers.
  2. Add any final analysis, questions or commentary that you have regarding the movie you chose.
  3. Need to have a bibliography or Works Cited page for your historical sources and any other sources you used and/or quoted need to be cited using MLA format.

Movie List (choose ONE from the list—this is a list that I curated, so it needs to be one of these movies listed!)

12 Years a Slave (2013) Malcolm X (1992)

Amistad (1997) The New World (2005)

Birth of a Nation (2016) Norma Rae (1979)

Bury My Heart a Wounded Knee (2007) One Man’s Hero (1999)

Cesar Chavez (2014) Good Night and Good Luck (2005)

Come See the Paradise (1990) Platoon (1986)

Dances With Wolves (1990) Zoot Suit (1981)

Free State Jones (2016) Harriet (2019)

Gangs of New York (2002) Salt of the Earth (1959)

Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) Selma (2014)


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