What we'll do today in class:
- See how other people have analyzed the function of TV talk-shows
- Focus on different ways to read shows
- Discuss and compare function for culture and function for viewer
- Begin thinking about the context (purpose and audience) of their assignment
- Compare the Context/Purpose/Audience of the two essays to the C/P/A of their assignment
- Begin to look at what type of evidence is used.
Connection to Course goals: Asks students to analyze how one might apply academic writing and thinking skills to cultural contexts. Begins to get students thinking about purpose, audience, and focus in terms of the analyses they read and their own assignment, which emphasizes writing as a response to context. Looks at what types of evidence are used and how that evidence is also a response to the writing context.
- WTL: Look at your assigned essay. Underline all of the claims that each author is making, and then label them either Function for Culture or Function for Viewer. Which approach (Function for Viewer or Function for Culture) does each author take? Is their analysis clearly one or the other? Is on more of a focus than the other?
(NOTE: Have the class count off by two's, so that half of the class works with Bennett and half works with Gaines.)
- (10 min)
- Discuss WTLs. Your goals in this discussion are to make sure students understand the different analyses made by the two authors, and also to clearly distinguish between Function for Viewer (What Gaines mostly does) and Function for Culture (What Bennett mostly does).
- Before you discuss the essays, make a chart on the board that looks like the on below where you can record their responses…
Context and Audience
- While you discuss, fill in the appropriate sections as a class. You'll use their responses later to examine how their choice of function and their purpose/audience affected what type of evidence was needed.
- Some possible Discussion questions:
- What is Bennett's argument about Talk-Shows? What cultural claims does he make about the shows? What type of function approach are his claims? Does he do both? More of one than the other?
- What is Gaines's argument about talk-shows? What type of cultural claims does she make? What type of function approach are her claims? Does she do both? More of one than the other?
- Using these two essays as examples, what is the difference between the function for culture and the function for viewer approaches? How would you explain them to someone? (10 min)
Group activity to examine the context of these essays.
- Divide the class into 4-5 groups.
- Each group should respond to the following questions in regard to both essays:
- What is the purpose of this essay? What is the writer trying to accomplish?
- Who is the audience for this essay and how do you know? What clues from the text suggest a target audience? What clues from the Introductory material on each essay help here? What assumptions does each author make about what their audience knows or thinks about talk-shows?
Discuss group responses. The goal in this discussion is to analyze the contexts of the Gaines and Bennett essays to get students thinking about possible purposes and audiences for their own essays.
- As you discuss, fill in the appropriate sections of the chart on the board as a class. Remember you'll use this chart to examine their evidence in activity #5 below…
- Make sure that within the discussion you touch on the following types of ideas. These are some examples to help you on the way, but there are likely even more ways they might conceive of purpose, audience, and evidence with these essays, so don't feel limited by what I've included below:
- Bennett's overall purpose is to rid TV of this "Cultural Rot" - they challenge norms of decency - and to persuade readers to join this "resistance" movement.
- Gaines is explaining the value these shows might serve to a viewer.
- Bennett's audience is more conservative - you can see this from the fact that it was published on a conservative website, his audience likely agrees with him more easily as seen in his lack of concrete evidence, etc.
- Gaines' audience is Bennett and readers of Bennett - it's a response. You can see this from the title of the essay, her more extensive use of evidence (since her audience will need more convincing to accept her position).
TRANSITION: Now that we've discussed their overall analyses and examined their contexts to determine what their purpose was and who they were writing to, let's examine how those decisions affected what each author uses as evidence.
(NOTE: If you're running out of time -- if you have only 5 minutes or so left at this point -- you can go ahead and do more of a lecture format for this last activity and just explain some of these connections. As long as students begin to see how each author's context, audience, and type of function analysis is connected to the evidence they employ.
Using the chart, examine each author's choice of evidence. Your goal here is to get students to see how their choices in terms of the type of function they choose and their overall purpose and audience will affect what they'll need as evidence.
Some possible discussion questions
- What does each author use as evidence? What types of evidence do they use?
- How do the types of evidence they chose relate to their purpose or audience?
- How do the types of evidence they chose relate to the type of Function analysis they are doing?
Some examples of how evidence is related to the concerns on the chart…
- Bennett uses titles from the show (textual evidence), and recounts some details about specific guests (textual evidence). He uses King as evidence for how these shows affect culture. He doesn't use as much detail because his audience (conservative) is more willing to accept his argument.
- Gaines uses personal experience (helpful to show function for a viewer), some specifics from the Jenny Jones show (which she connects to her own experiences and actions), summarizes specific points of Bennett's argument (necessary for a response)
- (NOTE: An important point to make here is that the personal experience-based analysis that Gaines does is not the only way to do the Function for Viewer analysis. We'll be looking at two other Function for Viewer analyses during the next class that don't focus on personal experience)
Compare the contexts of the two essays to the context for Essay 3. The goal here is to build on the last discussion and try to get students thinking about what options they'll have in terms of purpose and audience for Essay 3.
- Would these essays work under the expectations of Essay 3? Why or why not? What do they do that does seem to fir with our context, what would be different?
- What other purposes might you be able to have for writing essay 3?
- What other audiences might work? (5 min)
RC, Stephen King, "Why We Crave Horror Movies", p.315-316
RC, Elayne Rapping, "In Praise of Roseanne", 335-340