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Writing your thesis statement: Step 1: Ask yourself the following question: Does the movie essentially stay true to the play? Yes or No
Depending on your answer Yes No • If you think the movie is true to the play, you’ll focus on the big similarities. • Admit there are differences, but show how the similarities are greater. • If you think the movie isn’t true to the play, you’ll focus on the big differences. • Admit there are similarities, but show how the differences are greater.
Step 2: Based on your yes or no answer, choose at least 1 similarity and 1 difference that you could write about to show how the message is ultimately the same, or fundamentally different. Some possibilities: • Nature of Love • Fate • Light/Dark Motif • References to Time • Masculine Codes • Individual vs. Society • Love Story • Parental Influence • Feminine Codes • The look and feel (guns, clothes, cars, city, etc.)
Step 1: Yes Step 2 Similarity: Masculine codes of Honor Step 2 Difference: Feminine codes of Purity • Romeo is more lewd and bawdy when he’s around his male friends. • They make dirty jokes and wrestle around. • He fights Tybalt and kills him and Paris when they interfere with him. • He acts differently around Juliet when they are alone. • Codes seem to be different across classes. • Lady Capulet flirts with both Tybalt and Paris in the movie. • Women in the lower classes turn to prostitution in the film and wear more revealing clothing.
Step 3: Decide how, despite similarities or differences, the film either does or doesn’t stay true to the play. Similarity: Love is rough and tyrannous • Romeo is sick with love for Rosaline and miserable that she doesn’t return his love. • They are both willing to go against their families to be together. • Juliet is willing to abandon her family and loved ones to be with Romeo. • Romeo commits murder • They both commit suicide.
Thus, my thesis statement… Despite its dissimilarities, BazLuhrman’s film version of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” stays true to the original portrayal of love as a violent and tyrannous force in life.
Organization Despite its dissimilarities, BazLuhrman’s film version of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” stays true to the original portrayal of love as a violent and tyrannous force in life. • If this were my thesis, what order should I discuss my similarities and differences?
Organization for “Yes” • Introduction • Thesis Statement • Body Paragraph 1 • Difference: Feminine Codes of Purity • Body Paragraph 2 • Similarity: Masculine Codes of Honor • Body Paragraph 3 • Similarity: Nature of Love • Conclusion • Restate Thesis
Or maybe, Step 1: No Step 2 Similarity: Nature of Characters Step 2 Difference: Social Commentary • Romeo is lovelorn and romantic. • Juliet shows signs of independence and bravery. • Benvolio keeps the peace. • Tybalt is vain and violent. • Mercutio sees through social norms and mocks them. • The poverty of Verona is caused by the feud and the extreme wealth of the two families in the movie. • The lower classes provide a contrast to the upper classes, but exist independently in the play.
Step 3 How does it differ from the play? The difference in social commentary makes social class the agent of fate, not societal expectations. • Being born into wealth separates R&J from the lower classes. • Their privileged lives afford them the sense of entitlement it would take to defy their parents. • Women in the lower classes have fewer options; they must turn to jobs which force them to sacrifice their ability to make personal choices, such as nannying or prostitution. • The wealth of the two families ensures the poverty of the city.
Thus, my thesis statement… Though many of the characters stay true to their natures established in the play, the film version of “Romeo and Juliet” does not stay true to the play as a whole because social class, not societal expectations, becomes an agent of fate.
Organization for “No” • Introduction • Thesis Statement • Body Paragraph 1 • Similarity: Nature of Characters • Body Paragraph 2 • Difference: Social Commentary • Body Paragraph 3 • Difference: Fate • Conclusion • Restate Thesis
Now you try… • Does the movie stay true to the play? • What similarities and differences will you discuss to prove it does/doesn’t? • How do those similarities/differences stay true to or alter the original meaning? • Sum it up in 1 sentence. • Lastly, decide which order you should discuss your similarities/differences.