Gus Van Sant, My Own Private Idaho
- Develop a thesis pertaining to the assigned film text and whether or not it, the film, in your view has the power to transform one’s political sensibilities. Your argument should express your point of view regarding the politics of difference, political sensibilities, and political transformation(s) as related to the film. Remember, you’re writing (developing) an analytical essay. Submit your thesis statement in the box below:
example 1. In my opinion, the film, My Own Private Idaho, does not have the power to transform one’s political sensibilities because it reinforces negative stereotypes about homosexuality, the characters are not very likable, and the Shakespearian dialogue would be difficult for the average middle-north-american to follow.
- Develop three (3) topic sentences that articulate the major ideas that will comprise the body of your essay. Remember that your topic sentences should clearly state the argument or point to be made in the respective paragraphs. Submit your topic sentences in the box below:
example 2. When considering homophobia in the United States, one main factor that stimulates most prejudice is that many associate the gay community with promiscuity. This film not only reinforces this stigma but could also intensify it with the promiscuity that occurs mostly in the form of prostitution. 2. The characters in this film are not portrayed as righteous good-doers, but as deviants of our society. Unlike the depiction of Harvey Milk, from the film, Milk, the protagonists in My Own Private Idaho are not fighting to save lives, they are doing drugs and performing sexual favors in return for money and even though it is possible to feel sympathy for them, it is unlikely that a homophobic person could watch this film and want to relate to these characters. 3. Not only is it difficult to relate to the characters because of their behavior, but also because of the complicated dialogue and artsy nature of the film. Literacy in the United States is not so high that the average person would feel comfortable following along with a Shakespeare play, that was turned into a creative, modern play about prostitution, and then made into a movie, without losing interest in it.
- Identify three (3) scenes from the film that support your thesis statement. Briefly explain:
example3.. Approx. 22 minutes, Café scene In this scene, some of the male prostitutes are describing their first experience with an exchange of sex for money. They were desperate and were willing to have sex with strangers, not long term partners or significant others out of love. Even though I personally sympathized for their difficult situation and traumatizing experiences, this shows homosexuality with values that are not strict or pure, the way that many generalize for all gays and would continue to after watching this film. 2. Approx. 29 minutes, Hotel Scene In this scene where Bob first appears and arrives to the hotel, many forms of deviance occur, showing questionable morals. Doing drugs, stealing drugs, planning to rob, and being prostitutes, the characters are not the typical protagonists that one would want to root for relate themselves to. 3. Approx. 42 minutes, Dialogue with Scott and Bob Scott and Bob engage in an argument that is difficult to follow, and very Shakespearian in its dialogue, Bob uses many metaphors and other devices. Throughout the play, there are pieces of dialogue like, “Good lord, lads, I know you as well as he that made you- Do you think that I would kill the heir apparent?” which clearly use vocabulary that is unusual for our time.
- Lastly, fully develop your introductory paragraph. Remember that the best possible thesis will answer some specific question about the text. In this case a question related to the film’s power to transform political sensibilities regarding difference:
example4 .The film, My Own Private Idaho, tells a story of desperation and hardship for young male prostitutes. Many times they are stripped of their innocence and they surround themselves with a hostile environment containing drugs, stealing, and other forms of illegal activity. Although one may come to like the characters and feel sympathy for them, the film is unlikely to appeal to those who are not already open-minded about homosexuality. In my opinion, the film, My Own Private Idaho, does not have the power to transform one’s political sensibilities because it reinforces negative stereotypes about homosexuality, the characters are not very likable, and the Shakespearian dialogue would be difficult for the average middle-north-american to follow.