Peer pressure


Write a paper about how one or several popular works of art treat a social issue (ONE issue or a

cluster of related issues). Focus on and develop a thesis about one or more opinions about the

issue that are shared among many people (again, the thesis will not be your own opinion but rather

the opinion(s) of a mass of people and might or might not reflect your own opinion).
Choose one or more specific art works (not genres of works) that are currently popular and that

represent one or more opinions regarding the issue (these are considered your primary sources for

this paper: most of the paper will consist of describing and analyzing them) possibilities include
the specific musical, performance, and/or graphic works of a musical artist or group,
a television show or a movie (fiction only: no documentaries or reality TV shows; mockumentaries

are OK though),
a magazine, novel or other piece of literature (fiction, no biographies; historical fiction or

dramatized biography is OK)
Criteria (you must meet all these criteria for a passing grade):
Word count minimum: 1600 (not including the mandatory Works Cited page)
Primary source minimum: 1 (most of the paper consists of describing and analyzing the primary

Secondary source minimum: 3 (Note that additional art works do not count as secondary sources; they

count as primary sources; ). (Reminder: Do not cite Wikipedia or any other wiki; do not cite

dictionaries unless you need to do so to define jargon or other special terms); do not include

citations consisting only of summaries of the primary source).
There is no focus on how the primary sources might influence the formation of the primary sources’

audiences’ opinions.
Focus on a thesis about how this item represents its audience’s opinions (those of fans, critics,

or both) regarding the issue in real life. Please use the following thesis template: Fans like

[name(s) of popular item(s)] because it/they appeal(s) to their opinion (about the issue) that

OR, if you are treating a more complicated set of opinions, you may use this one: The popularity

[and/or criticism] of [name of popular item(s)] show(s) that although some people think ____ (about

the issue), others think _____.
Summarize the popular item(s) briefly (2 to 4 sentences for each source) in or just after the

introduction. (Do not use secondary sources for such summary material but write your own

Support your thesis using details such as synopsis, lyrics, and graphics, but only use those

details that are explicitly related to your thesis. Use the body paragraphs to connect the analysis

of these details explicitly to your thesis.
Secondary sources are credible. Acceptable sources include news articles, reviews, and academic

criticism. Consider general texts (history, psychology, etc.) that deal with events and ideologies

of the art’s time. Make sure these serve a secondary function in the paper, not a primary function;

that is, connect the citations to your analysis of the primary sources and to your thesis about

their audiences.
Document all primary and secondary sources using MLA in-text documentation and works cited page


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