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English 101: Essay Two
Page requirement: 5 FULL PAGES (5 complete pages no word count needed just 5 pages. The works cited page is not included in the 5 pages of content.
(12 point font, Times New Roman, one inch margins). You may write more than five pages.
· If you have less than five pages, your essay will not earn a passing grade
· You must include a Works Cited page. This does not count as one of your five pages.
Format: MLA—see your handbook (or the OWL website)
****You need to have access to EBSCOhost as the instructions state the research needs to come directly from this website.****
Attached is the image this paper needs to be on.
Audience: Imagine you are writing to other college students or professors. Do not assume your readers know the painting or photograph you are discussing.
The Topic: Reading Images and Deconstructing Icons in American Culture
Find a painting or photograph that you think is iconic. Write an essay examining the significance of the photograph/painting and why or how the photograph/painting has been elevated to an iconic status. It will also require you to define the word icon. What does it mean for a photograph/painting to be iconic? It is your job to come up with an argument based on your reading of the photograph/painting as well as your definition of the word icon. This will require you to write about the photograph or painting as well as the artist who created it. Use Stein and Davenport as models. Both essays do the same thing I am asking you to do. Notice how they examine both the artist and the photograph/painting. This will require a careful reading of the photograph/painting, research, and critical thinking/analysis. As part of the essay, you should research the artist or photograph/painting you are evaluating. What do others say about this artist or his or her photograph/painting? Please make sure your research is scholarly—library books and EBSCOhost ONLY. Critically read the photograph/painting, and like Davenport, incorporate your critical reading into your essay. What is in the foreground and background? What can you infer about the image based on that which surrounds it? Does the photograph/painting symbolize anything? Be sure to have the photograph/painting in front of you as you write. Finally, argue why this photograph/painting should be viewed as iconic by exploring what it represents, communicates, and/or symbolizes. Here is where you will get to use your critical thinking and analytical skills. How you organize the essay is up to you as long as you combine these elements.
Support: You must include one EBSCOhost article or one library book into your paper. The EBSCOhost or library book must be directly related to the photograph/painting you are analyzing or the artist who created it. You must also use Davenport and Stein as support. This does not mean you that you need to agree with them or discuss the photograph/paintings they discuss. You should apply what they say about iconic photographs/paintings to what you have to say. You might, in fact, disagree with an author. This is fine. You can still use him or her as support by arguing with what he/she asserts.
Choosing a photograph or painting: For some of you, this may be the hardest part.. Once you find an image (you can use our book —Seeing and Writing— to help you, go to EBSCOhost to see if you can find research about this artist (or the photograph/painting itself, but it is more likely that you will find material on the artist). If the article discusses the artist but not the actual photograph/painting you are using, it might be fine. Read the article and see if there is information you can use to support your analysis of why this photograph/painting is iconic. If the article discusses the importance of the contributions the artist has made to American culture or something similar, then you can use this source. You can do a Basic Search, Advanced Search, or Visual Search on EBSCOhost.
If you know an artist you want to write about, but are not sure what photograph/painting you want to use, you can conduct a Google Image search to find paintings or photographs this artist has created. Only use Google or any other search engine to find an image; do not use these search engines to conduct your research. Choose only one photograph/painting. I only want you to focus on one photograph/painting since I want you discuss/analyze the artist and the photograph/painting in detail. You only have five pages to do this. If you are analyzing several photograph/paintings, you cannot do service to each photograph/painting in five pages. Use Stein and Davenport as models. These writers analyze the artist and just one painting or photograph he or she created. If you choose a religious painting, be sure your discussion of the painting and/or artist remains objective and academic.
Below are the two stories the instructor wants us to use as models.
The Geography of the Imagination by Guy Davenport
A geography of the imagination would extend the shores of the Mediterranean all the way to Iowa.
Eldon, Iowa-where in 1929 Grant Wood sketched a farmhouse as the background for a double portrait of his sister Nan and his dentist, Dr. B. H. McKeeby, who donned overalls for the occasion and held a rake. Forces that arose three millennia ago in the Mediterranean changed the rake to a pitchfork, as we shall see.
Let us look at this painting to which we are blinded by familiarity and parody. In the remotest distance against this perfect blue of a fine harvest sky, there is the Gothic spire of a country church, as if to seal the Protestant sobriety and industry of the subjects. Next there are trees, seven of them, as along the porch of Solomon’s temple, symbols of prudence and wisdom.
Next, still reading from background to foreground, is the house that gives the primary meaning of the title, American Gothic, a style of architecture. It is an example of a revolution in domestic building that made possible the rapid rise of American cities after the Civil War and dotted the prairies with decent, neat farmhouses. It is what was first called in derision a balloon-frame house, so easy to build that a father and his son could put it up. It is an elegant geometry of light timber posts and rafters requiring no deep foundation, and is nailed together. Technically, it is, like the clothes of the farmer and his wife, a mail-order house, as the design comes out of a pattern-book, this one from those of Alex- ander Davis and Andrew Downing, the architects who modified details of the Gothic Revival for American farmhouses. The balloon-frame house was invented in Chicago in 1833 by George Washington Snow, who was orchestrating in his invention a century of mechanization that provided the nails, wirescreen, sash-windows, tin roof, lathe-turned posts for the porch, doorknobs, locks, and hinges-all standard pieces from factories.
We can see a bamboo sunscreen-out of China by way of Sears Roebuck-that rolls up like a sail: nautical technology applied to the prairie. We can see that distinctly American feature, the screen door. The sash-windows are European in origin, their glass panes from Venetian technology as perfected by the English, a luxury that was a marvel of the eighteenth century, and now as common as the farmer’s spectacles, another revolution in technology that would have seemed a miracle to previous ages. Spectacles begin in the thirteenth century, the invention of either Salvino degl’Armati or Alessandro della Spina; the first portrait of a person wearing specs is of Cardinal Ugone di Provenza, in a fresco of 1352 by Tommaso Barisino di Modena. We might note, as we are trying to see the geographical focus that this painting gathers together, that the center for lens grinding from which eyeglasses diffused to the rest of civilization was the same part of Holland from which the style of’the painting itself derives.
Another thirteenth-century invention prominent in our painting is the buttonhole. Buttons themselves are prehistoric, but they were shoulder- fasteners that engaged with loops. Modern clothing begins with the but- tonhole. The farmer’s wife secures her Dutch Calvinist collar with a cameo brooch, an heirloom passed down the generations, an eighteenth- century or Victorian copy of a design that goes back to the sixth century B.C.
She is a product of the ages, this modest Iowa farm wife: she has the hair-do of a mediaeval madonna, a Reformation collar, a Greek cameo, a nineteenth-century pinafore.
Martin Luther put her a step behind her husband; John Knox squared her shoulders; the stock-market crash of 1929 put that look in her eyes.
The train that brought her clothes-paper pattern, bolt cloth, needle, thread, scissors-also brought her husband’s bib overalls, which were originally, in the 1870s, trainmen’s workclothes designed in Europe, manufactured here by J. C. Penney, and disseminated across the United States as the railroads connected city with city. The cloth is denim, from Nimes in France, introduced by Levi Strauss of blue-iean fame. The de- sign can be traced to no less a person than Herbert Spencer, who thought he was creating a utilitarian one-piece suit for everybody to wear. His own example was of tweed, with buttons from crotch to neck, and his female relatives somehow survived the mortification of his sporting it one Sunday in St. James Park.
His jacket is the modification of that of a Scots shepherd which we all still wear.
Grant Wood’s Iowans stand, as we might guess, in a pose dictated by the Brownie box camera, close together in front of their house, the farmer looking at the lens with solemn honesty, his wife with modestly averted eyes. But that will not account for the pitchfork held as assertively as a minuteman’s rifle. The pose is rather that of the Egyptian prince Rahotep, holding the flail of Osiris , beside his wife Nufrit-strict with pious rectitude, poised in absolute dignity, mediators between heaven and earth, givers of grain, obedient to the gods.
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