Directions: Explicit and Implicit Agendas and Messages in Texts, Film, and Song
There are many different kinds of texts, and some are not necessarily in written form. These can include songs, films, and speeches.
This is a worksheet that I use with my classes when we are doing a deep, analytical reading of a text. When I model the assignment in front of the class, we focus on pulling out statements in the text that seem to indicate some sort of bias or belief of the author rather than the main character in the narrative. This tends toward a psychological analysis of the piece and is really compelling when the class participates.
There are some wonderful pieces of literature that test this type of analysis: Romeo and Juliet, Anthem, Disney's Snow White, Poe, etc. Once your kids figure out that each piece of literature is persuasive, then the next step is to try to determine what the author might be trying to sell us. If your students can master this type of analysis, then they will be far more likely to be active in any activities that involve reading a particular text. It is an empowering way of approaching literature and reading. Further, this concept will help your students to craft better creative writing pieces because they will be aware that they are trying to convince their readers to do or believe something.
This type of activity works really, really well with a work like, for instance, Animal Farm. The version of the film from the 1950's was bankrolled by the CIA. The newer version (with Patrick Stewart doing a voice-over for one of the characters) also has an agenda, but it is much more subtle. Comparing the two films and how they differ gets right to the heart of agendas and author motives.
Explicit and Implicit Agendas Activity by Robert M. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License