Category Archives: Arts and American Culture

Ravenous/Sorrow Prompt (485)

I have to admit I’m not entirely satisfied with this prompt. I’ll probably tweak it. If you have any questions please email me or respond to the comments section of this post.

485 essay prompts 

The Sorrow of War and/or Ravenous 

Both The Sorrow of War and Ravenous address the issue of US imperialism by using supernatural story elements such as ghostly or monstrous characters, eerie atmospherics, and strange events.

Research concepts such as Manifest Destiny, American Exceptionalism, and/or anti-communism in order to explore how one (or both) of these texts dramatize ideologies and consequences of imperialism.

How are specific formal techniques (of film/ prose fiction) used to narrate the violence of empire? What social content– i.e., explicit or implicit judgements, values, critiques, etc.– emerges from these stories?


The American War in Vietnam (485)

Vietnam: A Television History was first broadcast over 30 years ago during the Reagan Era and the response to it across the rather narrow political spectrum of the US was generally positive. The exception, however, was the series’ fifth episode, which narrated the war from the perspective of those who won it. See Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the architect of the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu, discuss strategy and philosophy. Hear an officer in the NVA explain that “in order to fight the Americans you must cling to their belts.” I recommend this 50-odd minute program over more recent documentaries because it eschews the elegaic mode that has come to characterize US Americans’ re-telling of events. If you’re interested in delving even further you might consult two additional documentaries from the period, Winter Soldier and Hearts and Minds.