Pleasantville essay

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Essay #1: A Freudian Analysis of Pleasantville

The Assignment:

Create an essay of no less than five pages and no more than seven pages in length that is analysis of Pleasantville based on the ideas Freud presents in his essay and the ones I present in my lecture. This essay will be submitted to anti-plagiarism software. Please use only the assigned readings for this essay. Avoid material gathered from external internet sources.


This topic will build on the one for your video response to Pleasantville.

Overview:In many ways the film is a comment of the values, good and bad, of the world today, which we would consider “civilized.” The film and Freud’s ideas on civilization and instincts are a lens through which we can analyze the nature of civilization. This is accomplished by allowing us to see an ideal of fantasy represented in the movie. In comparing a television version of America in the 1950’s to the world of two teenagers from the 1990’s we can draw conclusions upon how “civilized” we have become.

What I would like you to do is to describe three worlds in the film: 1. The black and white world that Bud and Mary Sue find when they first enter the TV show. 2. A second world: Pleasantville in full color at the end of the film. 3. The modern world from where Bud and Mary Sue come from as David and Jennifer, and where David returns at the end.

The following are questions to think about for the essay. The questions are not a list for which answers must be provided. They are there to get you thinking in a certain direction. This is an essay and should have that form with an introduction, body and conclusion. HOWEVER, PLEASE NOTE THE THE ORDER OF THE QUESTIONS BELOW. THEY ARE IN THAT ORDER TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A STRUCTURE FOR YOUR ESSAY, WHICH SHOULD HAVE THREE SECTIONS. PLEASE FOLLOW THAT STRUCTURE.

  • Consider Freud’s comments about civilization: “Civilized man has exchanged a portion of his possibilities of happiness for a portion of security.” For the black and white world of Pleasantville – is it very civilized? Yes? No? In what ways? Provide examples from the film to support your answer. Secondly, What do Bud and Mary Sue do that unleashes and disrupts and changes Pleasantville, and what are the effects of that disruption?
  • For the world in full color in Pleasantville: what does color symbolize in the film? Why do characters become in color, what do they do to cause them to bloom into color, and lastly, how do they change after they are in color? Secondly, what would Freud say? How does this change in color correspond to to his ideas on libido? Give specific examples of characters.
  • Finally look at the modern world of David and Jennifer that begins and ends the film. 1. In light of what Freud is saying in Civilization and Its Discontents, is the colored modern world better or worse than the black and white world of Pleasantville that starts the film? In other words, is the modern world in color better or worse than Pleasantville in full color at the end of the movie? Consider Freud and the instincts of sex and aggression and libido.
  • The Essay:This paper should be five to seven pages in length, double-spaced, 12pt font. PLEASE DO NOT USE THE IDEAS OF OTHERS FROM EXTERNAL INTERNET SOURCES. Your own thoughts and ideas will bring a much higher grade than anything you find online. If you start researching the Internet, you will spend more time than you would writing the essay. Of course you must have read Freud, my lecture and seen the film. The essay will pass through anti-plagiarism software. Please don’t go there; your own thoughts, whatever they may be, will earn you the higher grade.

You need one source for this essay. It is the excerpt from Freud I provide you in the module. Quote it three times. If you fail to do this, it will mean a deduction in points from your final grade.

Here is the citation for the reference page.

Freud, Sigmund. (29 Nov. 2007). Civilization & Its Discontents. [Excerpt] Trans. Joan Riviere. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

You may quote from the film as well. You would use the producer of the film – Ross – and the year, 1998, it came out. Use these for in-text citations. If you Google: How to cite a film in APA – you will see what is necessary for the citation for the References page.

Download to your computer from the library’s website the template for APA for Word. Use this to format your essay, and not the one provided by Word. This is easier. The essay must use APA format and the correctness of the form is part of your grade for the essay. Ask the librarians to help you for the correct form for the in-text citations, the reference page, and the correct format of the entire essay.Do not lose points needlessly because the essay is not in APA.

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