Showing Multiple Interpretations of a Visual Text

Showing Multiple Interpretations of a Visual Text

There are no facts, only interpretations.

Friedrich Nietzsche


For most people, watching movies is a pastime they enjoy for the entertainment value, but for the movie creators it is sometimes an opportunity to express their ideas about an issue or a number of different issues in a society. When most people watch a movie, they tend to focus on the surface meaning behind the ideas and scenes, but more often than not there is a deeper meaning that can be found in any movie if we look deeply enough. In some movies, this hidden meaning may be intentional; in others, it is identified as a result of finding patterns that even the movie creator was not aware existed. This is because people interpret events and ideas through different lenses, or perspectives, and what they see (or not see) is sometimes determined by their own life experiences and ideas about the world.

DescriptionFor this assignment, you will write a paper that informs readers about a common way of understanding a film as well as a different, more surprising way of understanding that text. In other words, you will explain two ways of making sense of a visual text, and analyze it to show evidence of the surprising interpretation.

This paper highlights the factor of tension—the existence of two quite different ways of making sense of a text. You will need to summarize those different ways of interpreting the text and then explain in detail how the second way extends or complicates the first. Recognizing more than one interpretation is a crucial skill for different kinds of academic assignments you will be asked to write in other courses.

Learning Objectives

Through this writing project, you will:

Produce an effective summary.

Complete a critical reading and analysis of the chosen text.

Demonstrate effective integration and appropriate documentation of ideas from secondary source

Communicate original analysis of a text and generate new insight


Think of your audience as people who are well versed in film and television, but mainly they are consumers, not interpreters, of pop culture. Your goal is to help these readers re-see the film, a show, or a commercial.

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