Dark Knight



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Dark Knight
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In this assignment, you are to watch the film named above (it is available under the pages tab to your left). Then you are to write an essay in which you connect specific and specified ideas in the film (characters, plot points, dialogue, etc.) to specific and specified ideas from the readings and from discussions in class. These connections serve to develop and defend a thesis about the readings that draw novel connections and make insightful claims (see below for tips on how to develop a thesis). By developing and defending your thesis, you will grapple with the readings more deeply than we could in class, you will further develop your skills at generating arguments, and you will engage in independent, philosophical thinking.

Note: People occasionally have reasons for finding that a particular film would not be good for them to watch. If you would like an alternate assignment, please message me. Give me the general reason (you are not obligated to go into detail) so I can know it is for an approved reason (e.g., psychological well-being, cultural considerations, inability to view without children present) and not for non-approved reasons (e.g., I’m hoping for a shorter film, I don’t like this kind of movie).




Minimum requirements:

1. 1-2 pages, double spaced, page numbers at the bottom center. No title page, no running head. The title and your name should be at the top, centered. Note that the word count is a ballpark, and it is only provided to give people a sense of the depth I’m looking for. You are welcome to write more.

2. Works cited page that cites the film and the textbook (with as complete of information as you have). Papers that lack a works cited page and/or in text citations are considered plagiarized and will need to be rewritten and resubmitted.

Use this style for the pdfs: Last name, first name (year). “Title.” Journal Name (volume number): first page-last page.

Use this style for films: Director (year). Title.

For in text citations, use this format: (author of article, year, page number).

For in text citations of the films, use this format (time, title).

3. Has a THESIS that is supported by citing both the film and the textbook for a minimum of 5 connections. I’m looking for whether or not you cite SPECIFIC things about the film and relate them to SPECIFIC things in the readings/class discussions. Note that the citation count is a ballpark minimum, and it is only provided to give people a sense of the depth I’m looking for. You are welcome and encouraged to cite more.

EXAMPLE: In UVU president Tuminez’s remake of the classic Bambi, the scene where Bambi’s mother dies (3:45-5:22 Bambi) contradicts Socrates’s basic assertion that death is nothing to fear (Socrates, 2007, p. 20-21).

4. Does not include anything about yourself. (Do not include whether you liked the film, whether you are glad you saw it, or your opinion about the acting, style, casting, etc. Leave out all mere opinion.) Includes a brief synopsis of the film only as relevant.


The papers are evaluated based on (1) the sophistication of the thesis, (2) the defense of the thesis, and (to a lesser extent), (3) mechanics (in text citations, work cited page, paragraph organization, grammar, etc.).

C papers either don’t have a thesis or don’t support the thesis with specific citations that are quoted/paraphrased and interpreted. They talk about the film and readings in general ways that don’t show careful note-taking and re-viewing/re-reading.

B papers have a thesis that says that there are connections/similarities/dissimilarities between the film and the reading(s). Sample thesis from a B paper: Bambi has characters that act in utilitarian ways.

A papers go beyond juxtaposing the film and the readings and provide an original philosophical view. Sample thesis from an A paper: Bambi can be understood as a refutation of virtue ethics. Another sample thesis from an A paper: Bambi shows that the theories of death that deny an afterlife will not adequately account for the trauma that those who remain face. Surprisingly, then, even though the film does not in any way discuss whether there is an afterlife, it nonetheless can be read as making an argument that only if there is an afterlife can we account for suffering.




Tips for generating a thesis:

There’s no formula for generating a quality thesis, but you can ask yourself these questions to help get you started.

1. Does the film challenges in a new way a theory/theories? How?

2. Does it undermine a particular view, or illustrate a particular view, or provide a further reason to believe a particular view? If so, how?

3. Does the film show a limitation of a particular theory/theories? Or does a theory show a limitation of a character in the film?

4. If we view the film through the lens of a theory, how would we evaluate a character/action?

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