Scenes from Casablanca
Your written assignment is to analyze the projection of American cultural values and propaganda in two scenes from Casablanca. For example, you might choose to discuss the values and stereotypes inherent in the film’s portrayal of different nationalities, races, genders, different versions of heroic behavior, the plot, or the positive and negative characteristics of individuals during wartime. Your three-page essay should not be a long narrative description of the scenes or moments in the film. Any necessary contextual description of the plot should be brief: the burden of your responsibility is to consider how and what the film portrays and how it would have influenced or manipulated an American audience of 1942 to think and feel. By all means, use quotes, discuss characters, bring in historical context from Eric Foner’s Give Me Liberty, and consider the means by which the film is effective and convincing. Your opinion of the film as a depiction of American values & use as propaganda may also be part of your discussion.
The average viewer is unaware of either propaganda nor the cultural values reflected in commercial films. ‘Viewing’ is understood as entertainment, and passive entertainment at that! A person of any self-awareness or intellect, however, should not find entertainment and critical thinking mutually exclusive. One can enjoy a good movie and view it critically. Enjoy!
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