ENG101 -- English Composition I

Prof. Eileen Joy (Fall 2003)

Essay 3

Narrative Interpretation (Rosewood)

Draft Conferences Mon., Dec. 8th -- Thur., Dec. 11th
Final Draft Due Mon., Dec. 15th
Format 5-6 pages, double-spaced, 1"-margins
  MLA-style citation & documentation

For this assignment, you are going to write a paper in which you analyze John Singleton's film Rosewood, in order to say something about what you see as the film's ultimate success, or lack thereof, in both telling a good story AND faithfully representing what really happened in Rosewood, Florida in 1923. It is not possible for you to make these determinations, however, in a vacuum, and therefore, everyone is required to consult the following sources, and to incorporate these sources into the final essay (through summary, paraphrase, or direct quotation):

A. Rosewood. Dir. John Singleton. Warner Brothers, 1997.

    I expect you to watch the film at least one more time, in order to take notes on characters, events, and specific scenes that you want to discuss in your essay. There may even be dialogue in the film you will want to quote.  My DVD copy of the film is available to you in the Self-Instruction Lab in the basement of Lovejoy Library, or you may rent it at your local video store.

B. Jones, Maxine P. et al. The Rosewood Report 22 Dec. 1993. Lovejoy

            Library. Electronic Course Reserve.

            OR: follow this website link.

C. TWO of the following (your choice):

    1. Aronson, David. "Remembering Rosewood." Civil Rights Journal 4.1

                (1999): 13. Lovejoy Library. Electronic Course Reserve.

    2. Barlowe, Jamie. "The 'Not-Free' and 'Not-Me': Constructions of

                Whiteness in Rosewood and Ghosts of Mississippi." Canadian

                Review of American Studies 28.3 (1997): 31. Academic Search


    3. D'Orso, Michael. Like Judgment Day: the ruin and redemption of

                a town called Rosewood. New York: Putnam, 1996.

        ("on reserve" book available at Lovejoy Library's circulation desk;

        I do not expect you to read whole book, but you may want to read

        a chapter or two)

    4. Dye, R. Thomas. "Rosewood, Florida: The Destruction of an African-

                American Community." Historian 58.3 (1996): 605. Academic Search


    5. Finan, Eileen. "Delayed Justice: The Rosewood Story." Human Rights:

                Journal of the Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities 22.2

                (1995): 8. Academic Search Elite.

    6. Fisher, Bob. "Rosewood Probes Racial Violence." American

                Cinematographer Feb. 1997: 90-5. Lovejoy Library. Electronic

                Course Reserve.

    7. Guerrero, Ed. Review of Rosewood. Cineaste July 1997: 45-7.

                Academic Search Elite.

    8. Jones, Maxine P. "The Rosewood Massacre and the Women Who

                Survived It." Florida Historical Review 77 (1998): 193-208. Lovejoy

                Library. Electronic Course Reserve.

    9. Taylor, John. "The Rosewood Massacre." Esquire July 1994: 46-54.

                Lovejoy Library. Electronic Course Reserve.

    10. The New York Times reports on the violence in Rosewood, Florida

        the first week of January, 1923. Research Group #3 will be gathering these

        for us by Wednesday, Nov. 19th, and then I will put them on electronic

        course reserve.

NOTE:    I will be showing you in class how to get your hands on these various sources.

Consider the following as a loose outline for the final essay (we will be discussing this further in class as well):

I.    Introduce the real, historical incident to your reader. You will want to discuss, not only the original event itself, but also some of the story behind how the story finally came to light, how events were reconstructed, and how reparations were paid to the survivors. I expect you to use your SUMMARY skills here.

II.     Briefly introduce Singleton's film to your reader, as well as your initial reactions to the film. The emphasis here is on conveying to the reader how you EXPERIENCED the film when you first watched it.

III.    Relying upon your source material, as well as your CLOSE READING of The Rosewood Report and your RE-viewing of Singleton's film, point out some of the places (say, 3-5) where you see Singleton's film being both faithful and not-so-faithful to the historical record (such as we have it).

IV.    Offer your critical comments on some of the choices Singleton made as a director when shaping the historical subject matter into a filmed narrative. Further, how do you ultimately judge the finished product?

V.    Finally, share with your reader what you have learned in the process of thinking about the film and the history behind it.