Essay 2 Assignment



Lens analysis requires you to distill a concept, theory, method, or claim from a text (i.e. the “lens”) and then use it to interpret, analyze, or explore something else e.g. a first-hand experience, visual text, physical object or space, historical or current event or figure, a cultural phenomenon, an idea or even another text (i.e. “the exhibit”). A writer employing lense analysis seeks to assert something new and unexpected about the exhibit; she strives to go beyond the expected or the obvious, exploiting the lens to acquire novel insights. Furthermore, there is a reciprocal aspect in that the exploration of the exhibit should cause the writer to reflet, elaborate, or comment on the selected concept or claim. Using a concept developed by someone else to conduct an analysis or interpretation of one’s own is a fundamental move in academia, one that you will no doubt be required to perform time and time again in college.  


In this assignment, you will use ideas from “Darwinism not Neodarwinism” and When Species Meet as lenses to analyze one scene (approximately 3-6 minutes) from the movie Venom. Your goal is to make and support your own argument about the way scientific or social concepts such as “symbiogenesis” or “becoming with” are taken up, illustrated, and mis/interpreted within the movie and what that interpretation reveals about contemporary hopes and fears about society, science, and technology. To do so, you will carefully explore how the scene takes up and interprets either symbiogenesisneodarwinism, or both. You must consider, also, how Margulis and Sagan’s discussion of the social impact of pseudoscientific terms suggests a position those authors might take about your scene. You must also consider how you argument complicates or extends ideas from When Species Meet. Imagine you are writing to be considered or publication in an upcoming issue of a respected scholarly student journal focused on issues of science, technology, and society. The journal is distributed to colleges and universities around the country.  



  • Identify a central question worth addressing, using a scene from Venom that you will analyze. 
  • Formulate a strong thesis claim from your analysis that makes a specific, supportable, debatable, and insightful argument about the way the concept operates in the movie and something it reveals about society.  
  • Establish a motive for the essay in your introduction. Here you will answer the “So what?” question, suggesting why your essay might be valuable to an intelligent reader. Draw out the implication of your argument in your conclusion 
  • Summarize and accurately cite your exhibit, Venom, for an audience unfamiliar with the movie.  
  • Structure your essay around your thesis claim, making sure that each paragraph explores an essential piece of your argument.  
  • Have cohesion and coherence in your prose on the sentence level and on the paragraph level. Be precise and avoid clichés of language and clichés of thought.  
  • Have an interesting and informative title 
  • Adhere to the following MLA formatting guidelines: 12pt font, double-spaced pages, saved with your name and E2D(insert draft #) in the file name, in MS WORD document only.  




The final draft must be a minimum of 1500 words.  







Essay 2 Zero Draft 


The goal of this exerise is to produce a very rough draft (a “zero draft”) of your second essay. This will help you find raw material (I.e. potential evidence and rough ideas) that can be revined and further developed in your formal draft.  


Estimated time: 2-3 hours 

Due by 11:59 pm Friday, October 25th, 2019 at this link:  





Your zero draft should be very rough and messy. (If it is polished and free of grammatical errors, it means you did not follow my instructions.) You should ask questions and potential ideas even if you are unsure where they will lead. The point is to explore questions and ideas! Do not go back to ix or correct spelling or grammar errors, or to revise and change ideas; keep going forward! Allow your messy, nascent thoughts (and questions) to unfold and develop on the page. If you have a non-English first language, incorporate words, phrases, and sentences from your first language where it feels meaningful to the development of your ideas. As you should know by now, your zero draft will be significantly revised before you submit it as a final draft.  


  1. Read the guidelines for the Lens Analysis Essay and the submission and formatting guidelines.  
  1. Read the Citing Sources handout, then in one paragraph, summarize the exhibit (Venom). 
  1. In two paragraphs, summarize the concept(s) as it/they are defined in Margulis and Sagan, and clearly describe the scene in which you see the concept taken up and interpreted in the Venom and how it alters or distorts when on screen, and describe how the mise-en-scene or the camera work contributes to the movie’s interpretation and its argument for how viewers should perceive it and feel about it. 
  1. End by explaining to your reader why you want to examine this scene alongside the source texts, and write two potential central questions that you could explore. If you are not sure which scene you want to examine, choose a maximum of two scenes and follow your line of inquiry as far as it can go.  
  1. Read the Citing Sources handout, then in one paragraph, summarize a section from When Species Meet 
  1. Read the Lens Analysis handout, then identify and quote four ideas from Haraway and/or Margulis and Sagan that could function as lenses to help you analyze specific scenes from the movie. 
  1. Use the other quotations as lenses to analyze and explore other relevant aspects of the movie’s take on society, science, and technology.  
  1. Discuss what new questions or insights you have about your own views on society, science, and technology. The goal is to come to a new more complex perspective and understanding about your exhibit and public sentiments—including your own–about science, technology, and society (2-3 paragraphs).  
  1. Conclude with one paragraph in which you address questions about the significance of the topic, the challenges arise when reflecting upon the topic, and what you imagine the source authors (Haraway, Margulis and Sagan) would “say” about your topic.  

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