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ENC 1101: Writing Academic Arguments

v. POPSMART: reading, writing & thinking critically through popular culture.


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Prompt #5
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kayleythomas wrote in uf_enc1101
After reading Ralph Donald's "From 'Knockout Punch' to 'Home Run': Masculinity's 'Dirty Dozen' Sports Metaphors in American Combat Films," respond to one of the following prompts:

1. Donald references a number of films throughout his essay, many of which I suspect you may not be familiar with. Did this affect your reading of the essay? Was his argument still clear? Can you think of any films that you might apply his argument to? Why?

-or-

2. How might Fight Club fit into Donald's discussion? Are there similarities? Does reading this essay after watching the film help you understand it better (or, does the film help you understand Donald's argument)? Explain.
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Indeed the numbers of films Donald mentioned where not familiar however, it didn't really affect my reading due to the fact that each had its point and purpose to them. In my opinion Donald's arguement was pretty clear because his main idea would seem to be about a boy becoming a man and he used different examples of how many feel that could occur. Whether it was becoming a soldier or an athlete or even death to prove their masculinity.

Most of the films mentioned in Ralph Donald's essay I have never heard before, since they are from 1940's to 1960's. But this didn't affect my reading of the essay. When he refereed to a film, he explained the scene, what the characters were doing, so with this I was able to picture it in my head. His argument about men behaving in life like they do when they are in a game was still clear. How the characters in the films that he mentions behave; men being tough and not showing emotions, are still characteristics of men in modern films. The argument in this essay can be applied in The Transporter, because the main character is tough, doesn’t show emotions, fights even if he is hurt and always has to win/kill the enemy.

"Knockout Punch" to "Home Run"

Although I could not recognize many of the films Ralph Donald mentioned in his essay, I believe his argument was very effective. My unfamiliarity with the movies did not in any way affect my understanding of the essay. His argument is still very clear to me because he uses very specific evidence from those films that bring them to life, thus making it unimportant whether I watched them or not. A film that I have seen that can be applied to his overall argument is Platoon, a movie about the Vietnam conflict that came out in 1986. This war film constantly demonstrates the "dirty dozen" sports metaphors. For example, in many ways it shows America's superiority in military strategies and brute strength, thus having no excuse to lose. Throughout the movie one can see how it is all about winning and conquering the enemy rather than fighting for a deeper objective. The movie also highly emphasizes the fight on to victory metaphor. The soldiers keep on battling despite serious injuries and never give in to defeat. Lastly, it underlines the importance of teamwork by showing what can happen if you stray from the team setting and attempt to be a hero. In one case, a leading colonel is wounded because one soldier, in trying to be the one-man team, gives up their position by moving too suddenly.

I didn't know the films that Donald referened but i do not think that negativly affected the article. His argument was still clear to me because I can relate to what he was saying. I grew up playing sports being told you have to play hurt or you'll let your team down and that you always have to win. Pretty much any sports or war movie gives his points. One that is sticking out is "A League of Their Own" the quote "there's no crying in baseball."

Donald mentioned many films that were from several decades ago; therefore, I had never heard of a single one. However this didn't detract from my interpretation of the essay. Since he completely explained the scene and the names of the characters, I had a pretty good idea of what was gong on. But on the flip side, I could have related a little bit easier if Donald had used films from today, which I don't find hard because there are many films that involve men having to act tough today. Donald could have used for example "300", in this film King Leonidas has to lead his army of 300 Spartans against thousands of Athenian soldiers and doesn't give up till he dies. However, the fact that he used older movies to get his point across didn't hinder my understanding of the argument.

How might Fight Club fit in Donald's discussion?

Tyler Durdon's white collar speech would fit perfectly into Donalds discussion,which disucsses why we play sports when there is no war to be fought. Tyler Durdon discusses how they have no great war of their time that their war is a spiritual war and this is why they fight. So like Donalds speech of comparing sports to war, Tyler explains why they fight.

Fight Club fits perfectly into Donald's discussion of masculinity and war. Ralph Donald argues that true men want to fight and prove their masculinity. This is why these men go to war and fight in combat. In Tyler Durden's white color speech he talks about how the men have no real war to fight, and that their life is a war. Because there is no real war, these men gather in a basement of a bar to fight. The Fight Club members need to prove their masculinity and show they are tough, so the fight club is perfect for them. Before reading this essay it was unclear why these men were fighting. I didn't understand the point of basically almost killing someone until i read the essay which made me think more about how these men needed to prove something to themselves and the other fight members.

Ralph Donald's "From 'Knockout Punch' to 'Home Run': Masculinity's 'Dirty Dozen' Sports Metaphors

I have never heard of any of the films Donald referred but that did not affect my view on his writing. He did a great job of describing the plot and characters of the movie to make his point clear to readers. He uses evidence from the films to help support his claim. But I believe that if he had uses films that I have seen, it would have given me another perspective and I would have been able to compare his thoughts of the films with my thoughts of the films. For example I did not truly understand Fight Club until I watch it a second time because the second time around I understand the director’s purpose and claim. I am Legend (2007) is a nice example of masculinity. In this film, you have a man who was the only survivor of a plague that kills most of humanity and transform the rest into monsters, and he is the only one that is able to find the cure and save humanity. He takes the day on as it comes which means everyday he has to have his guard up.

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