Tag Archives: proposal

Final Paper – David Simon Storytelling

As a result of reading an article in “Film Quarterly” on The Wire and the transcript of a TimesOnline interview with David Simon on why he created The Wire, and my own interest in the progression of Simon’s storytelling, journalism, narrative nonfiction, creative nonfiction, and social journalism, I am leaning toward researching and writing a final paper that discusses Simon’s progression as a storyteller. The paper would discuss how the series Homicide is Simon’s first engagement with representations of the underside of society to television audiences. In the book Homicide, billed as a work of journalism, Simon stands on the outside with the police authorities looking in on a series of murders, and eventually he melds into their routines. An analysis of The Corner would reveal how it represents Simon’s direct confrontation with the lives of the neighborhood characters, even though he retains relationships with the police. In the instance of The Corner, Simon has inserted himself on the inside of the community to reveal its frightening nature to the outside, the television viewer. Billed as “stand around and watch journalism,” the narrative truth of The Corner leaves itself open to question and discussion that it leans more toward “creative nonfiction” than journalism. Simon states unequivocally that The Wire is fiction. However, its themes over the seasons, the complexities and ambiguities of its characters, and the urban, social, cultural, economic, political and governmental scenarios that it creates and connects represent a culmination of Simon’s storytelling and journalistic concerns. I am not completely sure what the research will turn up over the next few days, but I think a case can be made to connect Simon’s storytelling progression in these three series, each with its own distinctions, with his concern for creating entertainment that comes with the opportunity for the interrogation of socio-economic, cultural and political conditions. This may be too much to tackle and I’ll have to figure out a way to hone it down to a manageable thesis. I need to put more thought into the actual thesis question I’m attempting to answer. I’m open to any suggestions.

Gender Roles: Episode III Night of the Living Dead

For this short paper, I’d like to look at Episode 3, The Night of the Living Dead. In this episode, the human elements focus on several male/female relationships and also issues that especially concern women. The episode is situated in a tense and sultry atmosphere where emotions ride high partly because of the heat. The male/female interplay occurs between Munch and Felicia; Loretta Kenyatta (N’Bushe Wright), the young cleaning woman and Bayliss; Felton and his wife; and, Crosetti and his ex-wife and daughter. Det. Sgt. Howard is concerned about her sister’s breast cancer and blames it on Congress for providing adequate resources for the treatment and cure of prostate cancer and not breast cancer. Kenyatta must keep her baby in a cage to protect it from rats while she works because she cannot afford childcare and appears to be without a support system from family or friends. The feeding of Kenyatta’s baby with a surgical glove that resembles cow teats ties the issue of breast cancer to the issue of having access to resources to care for a child. The social and gender implications here are myriad. My paper will analyze the scene with Crosetti and his partner Det. Lewis in which Crosetti relates the difficulty he is having coming to grips with his daughter’s sexuality. While the scene is just over one minute long, it communicates fully Crosetti’s feelings about his desire for and lack of control over his daughter’s sexuality. It also equates this control with property and the fact that Crosetti is paying for a house in which he no longer lives in. That his final solution to his problem is “justifiable homicide” on his wife is more than paradoxical. What I intend to show through this short scene will reflect the ways in which our culture attempts to exert controls over women’s bodies and reproduction. While the scene is neither long, nor action-packed, it does deliver and reinforce a hegemonic/patriarchal message that bears discussion.

Race in Homicide – Proposal

In my paper, I would like to look at what role race plays in Homicide, comparing and contrasting the way it is discussed in the television series and the book. For the moment, I am thinking of looking at several scenes in “Three Men and Adena,” one in particular where Tucker accuses Pembleton of being ashamed of his black heritage. I am also thinking of looking at the way African Americans are portrayed in both the book and the novel, especially comparing and contrasting the detectives versus the criminals – also looking at this scene.


I would like to write about the scene from episode 2 when Detective Bayliss goes to visit Idina Kisha Watson’s family and reveals to her mother that her daughter has been stabbed. I’d like to compare it to the scene in the book between Edgerton and Latonya’s mother and explore the changes in detail, story, dialogue, and emotionality and how they are changed or embellished when adapting from the book form. I will try to determine whether the television form necessitates and /or allows for certain kinds of storytelling and expression that are unique to that medium and different from the original literature.

Preliminary Essay Proposal

My essay will focus on the Homicide episode, “Three Men and Adena”. As we follow Pembleton and Bayliss spend their maximum allotted time of 12 hours interrogate the Araber in the Adena Watson case, we witness one of the most significant hours of television ever produced. While many police procedural shows have at least a few minutes dedicated to the “interrogation room” each episode, the antics mostly revolve on witty one liners and a hardly believable dialogue between the interrogators and the suspect. On top of explaining the significance of this episode for police procedural dramas, I also plan to delve into the episode head first, trying to pinpoint the key factors that created this tense and stirring episode.

essay proposal

I am going to focus on the scene in episode three, “Night of the Dead Living”, where the young boy is brought in as a suspect in Adena Watson’s murder. I will compare this scene to its equivalent in Simon’s Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets where the twenty-year old man who checked out the book is brought in. I will also compare the tone of the humor in this scene to the tone of the humor in the book. Simon’s work contains mostly gallows humor that derives from the contrast between the heaviness of the situations the detectives are placed in and the lightness of their discussion of that situation. The book also has much more racy humor and plays on double entendre and sexual remarks between the male detectives. The television series has much less dark humor and far less sexual humor. In this scene, for instance, the joke about Kincaid taking his pants off in the heat is replaced by good natured ribbing between the detectives about their love lives or marriages and lack thereof. The age of the suspect brought in is lowered in the episode, because it derives humor from the farcical nature of a child being convinced that he has been brought to the police station for his treatment of a library book. I think that following these contrasts in the book and on the show will lead to a study in what type of humor is acceptable for television and an illustration of the reality of the book over the fictionalized world of the show.

Paper Proposal

For my essay, I hope to explore the scene in episode 3 in which Bayless gives the new janitor a cup of coffee after her child has gone missing. I am interested in the scene because there are so few female characters on the show, and the issue of sexuality and motherhood are prominent in the scene. The janitor continuously tells Bayless “not to be nice to [her]” (Homicide, episode 3). This seems to imply that she has had previous problems with sexual advances in the workplace. There is also a clear economic divide between Bayless and the janitor. When she explains why her baby was in a cage, she describes how being a mother is a full time job, but she is working several jobs to try to support her child. Further, I find Bayless’s interest in the woman intriguing since she looks a bit like a grown-up Adena Watson. Perhaps Bayless’s obsession with the Watson case is giving him an interest in the new janitor. Overall, I hope to examine the power relations in the scene and how they relate to the greater themes of the show.