imagination challenge / essay prompts SINEMA THE PSYCHOLOGICAL NOVEL
Professor Nericcio <, Special Agent Christy Brown <> and Special Agent Ridha Mikdadi <>

Hello there, SINEMA-head! Here is your challenge: To begin, you should take no less than 4 and no more than 8 pages (double-spaced typed, carefully proofread, with a dynamic, suggestive title) to complete your task. No cover sheet or folder-cover is necessary and late papers will NOT be accepted; I would like you to find and incorporate TWO outside research resources for this essay (NOTE: I DO NOT WANT YOU TO USE ONLINE RESEARCH RESOURCES NOR ENCYCLOPEDIAS; I ACTUALLY WANT YOU TO CAREFULLY AND WITH PLEASURE USE THE LIBRARY: acceptable research materials include: scholarly books and essays in academic journals. PLEASE cite these sources using the MLA Bibliography stylesheet. The completed essay is due at 5pm, under my office door, Adams Humanities 4117 on Thursday November 21, 2002. You are welcome and encouraged to show us a draft of your essay before the due date for comment and assistance. Recall that Bill Nericcio’s Office Hours are Tuesdays  1:30 to 3:45 in AH 4117. Please throw yourself into the pleasure of writing this paper!  Take chances and don't hold back--the best A+ essays will probably be efforts where the student, that's right YOU, adapts, warps, refracts, and/or re-imagines the questions provided.

Select ONE of the following challenges:

Contrast the 'theory' or the 'philosophy' or the 'dynamics' of "sin" as they unfold in Maria Amparo Escandon's Esperanza's Box of Saints and Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts.

Mark Lewis, Todd Hackett, John the Savage and Binx Bolling: what a foursome! Write a psychological 'autospy' on these four characters.  How is their masculinity a function of their psychology or is it that their masculinity, their "maleness" is a function of their psychoPATHOLOGY?  Use specific examples NOT DISCUSSED in class to support your findings.

Is human sexuality a practice that relieves psychological pressures or is the sex act indeed THE act that creates the possibility of psychological monstrosities.  Explore this idea in a comparative analysis of the writing of Aldous Huxley, the cinema of Sam Mendes, the playwriting of Oliver Mayer and the graphic narrative of Dan Clowes.

Cinema: dark, safe wombs of sorts; the first thing most people think of with regard to the movies? ESCAPE.  Yet this semester we will learn that the movies, far from being a sanctuary, can also function as monstrous prisons, subjecting their denizens to pain and worse.  Explore these notions in a comparative essay on Tino Villanueva, Michael Powell and Walker Percy.

Sexual pleasure through the administration of pain? Sadism, named after the infamous Marquis de Sade.  Sexual pleasure through the experience of pain? Masochism, named after the singularly deranged Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.  In the hands of filmmaker Michael Haneke [here you can substitute Luis Buñuel] and novelist Aldous Huxley however, we are introduced to studies wherein sadomasochistic characters--odd, disturbing and compelling fusions of Sade and von Masoch--rule the screen and book page.  Explore this in a cohesive, details-rich essay.

Self-referentiality is the credo of postmodern literature and cinema.  Yet different artists inject autobiographical references into their work for different reasons.  Explore eruptions of the autobiographical in the work of Fellini and Clowes, Percy and West, OR Mayer and Villanueva.

Identify a poem or poems (from the pages of pacific REVIEW 2002 or from Villanueva's tome), a film, and a novel, that, in your view, tell the same kind of story about sinema, psychology, or the human condition.  Your essay will unfold as a justification for reading these diverse materials in concert.

Design your own thesis.  Bring together two or three works we have examined and analyze them using a critical strategy of your own invention. Please EMAIL me your proposal by Thursday NOVEMBER 14, 2002.