12 Angry Men
To conclude our study of To Kill a Mockingbird and the nature of justice, we will apply our understanding of theme to a new text: the acclaimed film 12 Angry Men. Remember that theme, in a work of literature or art, is a statement, central idea or primary message that a particular author is attempting to present to the reader. The theme may be a life lesson that was discovered by one of the characters or it may be an evaluation that the author offers regarding an aspect of existence; in other words, a theme is a profound observation about people in general or the way the world works. Theme is primarily shown by the resolution of a conflict. Whether the conflict is between opposing forces (character vs. character, character vs. society) or is within the characters themselves (internal struggle), how a problem is solved and how the characters react sends a powerful message. As we know, the events surrounding the trial of Tom Robinson in the Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird reveal much about the character of people. Similarly, the 1957 classic movie (adapted from the play 12 Angry Men) uses a trial to explore human nature, revealing many important themes. Because both texts explore similar issues of justice (racism, social class, etc.), they share many of the same themes, including the 12 listed below. 1. Prejudice obstructs the truth (and justice). 2. True understanding requires time, study, and effort. 3. Intuition can be deceptive -- neither dismiss initial judgments, nor trust them blindly. 4. There are many interpretations of "the facts"; few things are truly black or white. 5. Patient silence and loud persistence can both be powerful, at the right times. 6. One determined individual can wield great influence. 7. Courage “…is when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.” 8. Respect and understanding are the keys to peaceful coexistence. 9. Real leadership is not derived from titles, but from leading by example. 10. “You can never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” A person must examine and respect who people are and where they come from if he is to truly understand them. 11. A person is often not what he or she seems to be; everyone has something inside that motivates him or her to be who they are. 12. People will go to great lengths to preserve their pride. Your task then is to select one of these themes and in a comparative essay, explain and compare how this message is revealed in 12 Angry Men and To Kill a Mockingbird, providing specific supporting examples from each text. Therefore, as you watch 12 Angry Men, you will need to take notes on the problems that the characters face, how these conflicts develop, and how they are resolved. Following the movie, you will then craft a response in which you explain how the chosen message (theme) is revealed in the book and the movie and support your conclusion with specific evidence from the film and the novel. You can draw on your own experiences and prior knowledge to judge the situations. For example, if you believed the message of the film (and the novel) is that “Prejudice obstructs truth”, you would support this conclusion with evidence from the movie and discuss how this truth is seen in life.
Plan BEFORE you begin writing; use the tools provided to prepare for your essay.
This assignment is worth 100 points. Your response should be well-thought out and organized, including: _ (x2) a well-crafted written introduction that funnels to your thesis (position on theme) _ (x3) organized body paragraphs supporting the thesis, showing how the theme applies to texts _ (x2) use of specific evidence and insightful interpretations of the whole stories _ (x2) a final conclusion about how the theme is revealed similarly/differently in both texts. _ (x1) writing free of grammatical errors that interfere with a reader’s understanding.
Identifying the Characters
For your writing assignment on this film you will need to identify the different jurors. We only know the names of two of them. To identify the others you can refer to them by their juror number, occupation, personality trait, or appearance. Juror #1 – foreman of the jury, an assistant coach Juror #2 – short man with the high voice who worked in a bank Juror #3 – angry man who had a son he didn’t speak to Juror #4 – wealthy stockbroker Juror #5 – demonstrated how to use the switch blade Juror #6 - housepainter Juror #7 - was in a hurry to leave because he had tickets to a baseball game Juror #8 – Mr. Davis, the man who persuaded the others that the boy may not be guilty Juror #9 – Mr. McArdle, the old man with the keen eyesight Juror #10 – was prejudiced against other races Juror #11 – watchmaker, a refugee from Europe Juror #12 – tall thin man with glasses who worked in advertising
Funnel Method of Organization General Introduction
¶ about Point #1
¶ about Point #2
Crafting Your Thesis Statement
1) What are the questions you are answering? Ex: How is the theme revealed in the text? Ex: How is this similar/different?
2) Decide what you think. Ex: Both texts use a trial to prove that everyone has something inside that motivates him or her to be who they are, but they use different people.
3) Include reasons/points with your position to show what you will talk about Ex: The book uses conflicts between witnesses to show people’s motives; the movie uses conflicts between jurors.
4) Use transition words and phrases to make the relationship between ideas clear. Ex. Thesis: Although both the book To Kill a Mockingbird and the movie 12 Angry Men use a trial to show the theme that everyone has something inside that motivates him or her to be who they are, the book uses witnesses to show how people’s motives influence their actions while the movie uses jurors to prove this point.