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Writing Samples

Page history last edited by Jakey Toor 13 years, 2 months ago

Writing Sample for Assignment #1

 

 

Student McStudentson

D. Instructor

DOC 3, Section Z01

4 April 2009

Trojan Condoms Advertisement: Not all Men are Pigs… 

 

      A Trojan condom ad found in the May 2008 issue of "Maxim" magazine depicts a beach full of beautiful, bikini-clad, annoyed-looking women who are being sought after relentlessly by pigs--literally. The pigs are meant to portray men, who, according to the text of the ad, have yet to "be men" and "evolve" by wearing a condom every time they have sex.  The ad also focuses on one perfect couple, an actual human man and an attractive woman; they stand in the center of the page, on the beach, holding hands intimately.  This is presumably because this man uses condoms and promotes safe sex within their relationship.  This ad plays with the myth that "men are pigs," that is, that they have "one-track minds" and only think about sex and not about the responsibility and regard one shows his partner by engaging in safe sex.  The use of the pigs among the women contrasted with the intimate, attractive couple in the center of the ad sends the message that men who buy and use Trojan condoms can achieve a "higher," more respected form of masculinity that is gentlemanly, responsible, and desirable to women than men who choose to disregard safe sex.

 

      The use of men as pigs in the ad suggests that men ought to fight their supposed basic nature and buy and use condoms so that women will find them appealing.  The reference to men as pigs has long been used to stereotype men as filthy, base, self-involved creatures who no longer can be classified as civilized humans.  The creator of this ad shows pigs doing a variety of human activities; some pigs are sitting upright, lounging in the sand, surfing, inner tubing and so forth.  They have replaced men who might otherwise be in this scene.  Furthermore, these pigs are invading the personal space of these women.  One is rubbing a horrified-looking woman with suntan lotion in a seductive fashion; another pair ogle a sunbathing woman; another is takes a cell phone picture of an unaware, scantily-clad woman.  These pigs (and the men they represent) have no manners and are engaging in behavior that would be deemed highly

offensive, demeaning, and perverse to women.  The pigs in this ad are unappealing creatures who are unattractive and do not regard women as anything more than objects to seduce.  The ad's suggestion is that men who do not use condoms merely replicate this piggish behavior of being unappealing and disrespectful and therefore do not "get the girls."

 

   However, the ad stresses that men do not have to be pigs by using a contrasting couple in the center of the page and text that states, "Evolve.  Be a Man.  Use a Condom Every Time."  The man and woman in the center of the page have their fingers intertwined, are turned toward each other, and are walking off into the distance together; the viewer wonders whether or not they are going to sneak off for some intimate time.  This couple exhibits our culture's idea of male and female bodily perfection; the man looks muscular, toned, smooth, and tall, while the girl is slender, curvaceous, and petite with long, cascading blondish hair.  Both appear to be white with flawless bronze tans.  This is obviously supposed to be the one male in the scene who does in fact use condoms, since he "is a man," in both the literal and figurative senses, and is a "perfect" looking man, at that.  The ad stresses that men who do use condoms show women respect and are desirable; therefore, the ad implies that for their good manners and health conscious practices they will get the most sought-after girls as their reward.

 

 Though this ad is funny and plays with humor to make its point, it reveals serious and unflattering cultural perceptions about men and women.  The ad suggests that using condoms turns a man who might otherwise be a "pig" into a more respectable and desirable partner; however, it does not indicate that men or women should treat one another with respect beyond that.  The ad further implies that men are intrinsically uncivilized, simple creatures who have to work against a brutish "nature" that threatens to emerge at any given time.  Also, it asserts that women are sex objects to be wooed and won, and that they have quite low standards for men; the message is, as long as a man uses a condom, he is a prince.  That said, men are encouraged to treat women with respect--at least when trying to get them into their bedrooms.  Overall, the ad engages powerful myths of gender to sell Trojan Condoms while promoting problematic generalizations about men and women.   


Writing Sample for Assignment #2

 

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"Changes"

By Tupac Shakur (1998)

Lyrics:

 

[1]

Come on come on

I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself

is life worth living should I blast myself?

I'm tired of bein' poor & even worse I'm black

my stomach hurts so I'm lookin' for a purse to snatch

Cops give a damn about a negro

pull the trigger kill a nigga he's a hero

Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares

one less hungry mouth on the welfare

First ship 'em dope & let 'em deal the brothers

give 'em guns step back watch 'em kill each other

It's time to fight back that's what Huey said

2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead

I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere

unless we share with each other

We gotta start makin' changes

learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangers

and that's how it's supposed to be

How can the Devil take a brother if he's close to me?

I'd love to go back to when we played as kids

but things changed, and that's the way it is

[Bridge w/ changing ad libs]

Come on come on

That's just the way it is

Things'll never be the same

That's just the way it is

aww yeah

[Repeat]

 

[2]

I see no changes all I see is racist faces

misplaced hate makes disgrace to races

We under I wonder what it takes to make this

one better place, let's erase the wasted

Take the evil out the people they'll be acting right

'cause both black and white is smokin' crack tonight

and only time we chill is when we kill each other

it takes skill to be real, time to heal each other

And although it seems heaven sent

We ain't ready, to see a black President, uhh

It ain't a secret don't conceal the fact

the penitentiary's packed, and it's filled with blacks

But some things will never change

try to show another way but you stayin' in the dope game

Now tell me what's a mother to do

bein' real don't appeal to the brother in you

You gotta operate the easy way

"I made a G today" But you made it in a sleazy way

sellin' crack to the kid. " I gotta get paid,"

Well hey, well that's the way it is

 

[Bridge]

[Talking:]

We gotta make a change...

It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes.

Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live

and let's change the way we treat each other.

You see the old way wasn't working so it's on us to do

what we gotta do, to survive.

 

[3]

And still I see no changes can't a brother get a little peace

It's war on the streets & the war in the Middle East

Instead of war on poverty they got a war on drugs

so the police can bother me

And I ain't never did a crime I ain't have to do

But now I'm back with the facts givin' it back to you

Don't let 'em jack you up, back you up,

crack you up and pimp smack you up

You gotta learn to hold ya own

they get jealous when they see ya with ya mobile phone

But tell the cops they can't touch this

I don't trust this when they try to rush I bust this

That's the sound of my tool you say it ain't cool

my mama didn't raise no fool

And as long as I stay black I gotta stay strapped

& I never get to lay back

'Cause I always got to worry 'bout the pay backs

some punk that I roughed up way back

comin' back after all these years

rat-tat-tat-tat-tat that's the way it is uhh

 

[Bridge 'til fade:]

Some things will never change

 

------------------

Mary Estudiante

Joe Teachingassistant

Section Z01

April 13, 2009

Writing Exercise #2

"Changes": A Conflicting Message

 

    In his song "Changes," rap artist Tupac Shakur talks about thee challenges that black urban youth typically face on the streets: racism, drug dealing, and gun violence.  In exploring these challenges, "Changes" is an exposition of the white oppression Blacks face on the streets in the ghetto and, at the same time, a depiction of a conflict of emotions as to whether to stand up against and fight the oppression or to accept Black subordination and recognize that the racial inequality Blacks face will never be resolved.

 

    Shakur's song is first an expression of the racism that blacks face from whites every day on the streets.  Throughout the entire song, Shakur gives examples of white racism against blacks.  For example, in the first verse, he says, "Cops give a damn about a negro / pull the trigger kill a nigga he's a hero" (lines 7-8).  Through these lines, Shakur demonstrates that cops gain respect and admiration when they kill Blacks because Blacks are viewed as dangerous people that pose a threat to society.  Because Shakur chooses to use dehumanizing and degrading words such as "negro" and "nigga," the listener gains the sense Blacks are given no respect by white cops.  They also portray a clear sense of animosity toward Blacks, which is expressed in the third verse: "You gotta learn to hold ya own / they get jealous when they see ya with ya mobile phone" (lines 66-67).  Shakur is referring to the jealousy white cops feel when they see a Black person with a newer, more impressive piece of technology than they possess, which signifies achievement of technological, intellectual, and/or financial superiority.  The description of cops' jealousy implies that whites want to keep Blacks in an inferior position by ensuring that they do not have opportunities to exhibit superiority in any way.  It is through this oppression, Shakur argues, that whites demonstrate racism towards Blacks.   

 

    Not only does Shakur's song provide listeners with a description of the white oppression that exists on the streets, but he also presents two possible reactions toward this oppression.  On the one hand, Shakur's song is a call for Blacks to take  action and stand up against this oppression by uniting with each other and fighting back against whites.  He says, "I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere / unless we share with each other" (lines 15-16).  Shakur explains that Blacks' individualistic point of view only gets them "nowhere"; he argues that this needs to change in order to make social change.  He argues, "We gotta start makin' changes / Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers" (lines 17-18).  These lines are a direct call to unity among Blacks.  By uniting and seeing each other as "brothers," or family, Blacks can help each other through the struggles they face.  As a united force, they can be more powerful, survive, and overcome white oppression.

 

    On the other hand, Shakur also seems to advise Blacks to simply accept the racial inequality that exists because of the unlikelihood of change.  In the bridge of the song, the line "That's just the way it is" is repeated (lines 24, 26).  The message is a declaration of acceptance and giving into the norm of white superiority.  Moreover, the sound of the music in the bridge adds to the feelings of passivity and resignation.  In the bridge, the piano is brought to the foreground and is heard above the percussion, while the vocals consist of a male singer with a melodic, sweet sounding voice.  These effects culminate to create a harmonious sound that makes the bridge sound docile and at ease, evoking feelings of submission within the listener.  Shakur insinuates that Blacks unfortunately yield to  white oppression.  There is a note of hopelessness that though "changes" are desired, they may never come.

 

    In the end, Shakur's song presents two responses to white oppression: rebellion and submission.  The lyrics and music of the song create an unresolved tension as Shakur seems unable to choose a response.  This tension speaks to the conflict of emotions that Blacks face in a complex and racist society that persists to treat them as inferior citizens.

 


Sample Interpretive Theses, DOC 3 

 

Sample Interpretive Theses, DOC 3 

Short story: 

In his short story, JD Salinger employs the metaphor of the bananafish, allusions to develop characterization, and the juxtaposition of the beginning and the ending to imply the detrimental effects of consumerism and capitalism in American society.  Through his story, Salinger asserts that the goal of achieving the American Dream, which relies heavily on consumerism and conformity, promotes a culture that is materialistic, vapid, and self-serving, and results in a people whose lives are empty and meaningless rather than content and fulfilling. 

 

Song: 

Joni Mitchell's song "Woodstock" is a call for America to abandon its path towards further war and hostility, which had created a rift in society, and return to its former state of peace and grace.  Though seemingly simplistic diction, selected rhyme, vivid imagery, and a hopeful tone, her song conveys both disillusionment with the contemporary climate in America while offering a hopeful dream for the future in which there will be no more war. 

 

In Tupac Shakur's "Changes," the rap artist talks about three of the challenges that Black youth face while living on the streets: racism, drug dealing, and gun violence.  While exploring these challenges, "Changes" is an exposition of the white oppression Blacks face on the streets of the ghetto and also a depiction of a conflict of emotions as to whether or not to stand up against and fight white oppression or to accept Black subordination and recognize that the racial inequality Blacks experience will never be resolved. 

 

Poem: 

In her allegorical poem, "Diving into the Wreck," Adrienne Rich employs metaphors of the diver's exploration into the sea through word choice, references to gender dichotomy, and the juxtaposition between the wreck and its story to imply that patriarchy is unnatural and socially constructed, and its effects are the suppression of women's individuality and potential to thrive.  Through this poem, Rich suggests that our society is dominated by patriarchal myths that determine all aspects of women's cultural existence--from their ideas, to their actions, to the way they perceive themselves--and also that one must consciously choose to uncover these myths through an individual pursuit for an "authentic" experience in order to resist and breakdown gender barriers cultivated by patriarchy. 

 

Visual Text: 

In this essay, I will argue that through the various elements of Baca's mural, this massive painting illustrates the Mexican- American resistance to dominant ideologies, or widely accepted notions, which essentially debase such immigrants by signifying that they serve no beneficial role in society.  By depicting the victimization of Zoot Suiters and immigrants' continual refusal to accept such dominant ideologies, Baca reinforces the compelling and continuous strife of the Mexican American community as they resist such social beliefs and try to establish their place in a nation that holds these beliefs.

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