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English IV: The Visual Word

Mr. Stukel

Argumentative Essay: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Length:        Four paragraph essay, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font.

Due Dates:  March 7th, before midnight             

Final Copy: – 100 points –

“Scorecard” – March 7th

Prompt:  What is normal? Who decides what is normal?

Using Dale Wasserman’s play and Milos Forman’s film, develop a thesis that argues what is your opinion of normal and which ONE of the two main characters, McMurphy OR Nurse Ratched portray your definition. 

  • Each character thinks that who they are and what they say and do is normal. Who is right?
  • How does the play and film try to resolve the conflict of who defines normal and what normal is?
  • What are those traits? How are they justified by the one main character you pick?

While reading the play

  • Examine the different conflicts that Wasserman creates in the play to prove which character you perceive as normal using the “Scorecard”

While analyzing the film

  • Examine and take notes on the different skills/techniques (Mise en Scene, Cinematography, philosophy, psychology) that Forman uses in the film to heighten your understanding of who is the normal one.
  • In order to prove your argument of what is normal you will need to use several examples in order to support your argument.

Your paper should: (check each off as you focus and complete each in your paper)

  • Include an introduction culminating (ending) in a one-sentence thesis that argues your definition of normal and who fits that definition
  • Include two body paragraphs that prove your thesis, separating Wasserman paragraphs of conflicts from Forman and his Mise en Scene, Cinematography, philosophy, psychology.
  • Has two topic sentences at the beginning of your Analytical body paragraphs that support the thesis
  • Includes a minimum of two quote(play) & examples(film) for EACH paragraph proving your thesis, using the I.D.E.A. format: the best way to prove a thesis. That means four quotes/examples altogether, minimum
  • Has clincher/summation statements that sum up your point and move fluidly to next paragraph
  • Include an insightful conclusion, one in which you do not simply repeat your thesis.  How will this help us, the reader?  Think universal connections to today. Answer the “So What?” phrase.
  • Has specific, direct language, not vague, broad, repetitious or worthless language that doesn’t prove a point or just summarizes the story. Summarizing the story in your essay will receive an F!
  • Have been thoroughly proofread for typos and grammatical mistakes.  Pay specific attention to proper quote citation. 

All of these techniques are explained on the “Essay Formatting” handout.

Thesis Example:

Based on Wasserman’s play and the conflicts of……………and ……….… between his characters McMurphy and Ratched, and Forman’s film with his use of …………..and…………. for example, Normal is…………………; therefore, I think……….…………character best displays what it means to be normal.