Horror Genre and its Subversion of American & Japanese Culture (2920 words)

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Question

Objective
To develop a thoughtful comparison of some specific aspect of another country’s culture with U.S. culture, based on reading about and personal contact with people of the comparison culture and your reading about and personal knowledge of US culture.

Details of Assignment

For this assignment you will choose a culture other than that of the United States or Finland to analyse and to compare with U.S. culture. Your cultural analysis should be based on 1) personal contact and communication with people of that culture or some other new personal experience with the culture,2) readings about that culture, 3) the assigned readings about American culture, and 4) your personal experience in the US. Reading and personal experience should be integrated in a roughly 50-50 balance. You are asked to visit or interact with or interview members of a national culture that is unfamiliar to you. You should supplement and develop this personal experience with reading about the culture and making comparisons with American culture. The material from your US cultural comparison should be drawn from the following sources: approximately one-third or more from the Stewart and Bennett book, one-third from the American Football metaphor, and approximately one-third from your personal experiences in the U.S. or other readings about the US. The objective is to learn about both the culture you choose to study and US culture, and to describe specific cultural and behavioral differences and similarities.

You should do some reading about thecountry and cultureyou have chosen and its norms, making comparisons with the assigned readings concerning American culture and norms (such as the Stewart & Bennett book and the Gannon and Pillai article on the American Football metaphor).

Solution Preview

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Horror movies have long served in a wide variety of capacities for the society and culture from which they spring. On a visceral level, there is the elemental, practically biological catharsis provided by the genre’s best causing the hair on the back of our necks to jump to attention, the obscuring of vision through barely-spread fingers over our eyes, or—of course—the yelp or even scream we swore we wouldn’t yield but nevertheless do! But, the genre has had a long history of doing much more than being a purveyor of adrenaline jolts. Horror on film has always tended to also serve as manifestations and representations of some of our most deeply held, firmly entrenched, rarely countenanced or admitted fears – these are the fears we have in common, in our capacities as members of a society and culture, the ultimately existential fears we have as parents, children, workers, leaders, etc.
In American culture, few examples from the horror genre better epitomize this power to unearth nightmares from our collective subconscious selves than George A. Romero’s zombie-defining flicks, like Night of the Living Dead and the many movies which followed in its footsteps – current horror hits in our serialized, prestige TV-obsessed age, like, of course, The Walking Dead, are descendants in much more than the sharing of their shambling, mindless, ravenous, deceased antagonists. From the travails and terrors of Vietnam-era American to current, not dissimilar, existential fears regarding personal and collective survival and the moral ambiguities of life, horror has worked to both depict—in its twisted ways—and tap into these deepest of fears.
The Japanese, and not those of us on this side of the Pacific, are masters of the horror genre – few things evidence this more than Hollywood’s love of remaking...

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