Research Essay on the movie Pather Panchali by director Satyajit Ray based on the book Pather Panchali by Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay


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Individual Research Essay on Pather Panchali (mainly movie with reference to the book)
To be submitted at the start of lesson week 13
? A 1000?2000 word paper (about 5?10 A4 pages) which should be word- processed 12 point Times New Roman or Arial).
? An essay is not valued for the length of its text but by its analysis and critical arguments, and also new knowledge from reflexive thinking that only the student writer can bring to the writing.
? The essay improves if you can say what you want to say, in the least number of words. You can help yourself in this regard by practising pre´cis writing.
? The essay should be a critical paper that takes a strong position on a socio- economic or socio-cultural or socio-political issue and presents arguments that support the proposition.
? The essay must refer only to film/s (one or more) that have been shown in class. ? The essay is an academic paper and should be written in a suitable style. No
chit-chatty language, good grammar and syntax, tight editing, coherent. ? Photos should not be included unless necessary for illustrating a socio-cultural
point ? we have copyright issues, and the use of photos may cause students to be distracted by the form of the film. If images are used in the text, they should be in black and white. The photos may be used only in the hardcopy essay and not the soft-copy submitted to e-Learn Dropbox for Turnitin is unable to read photos.
? The text should be printed on A4 sheets stapled at the left-hand corner. No need for colour printing, or folders, the academic style should be suitably sober and formal.
? The hardcopy should be submitted for examination at the start of lesson 13, and a soft-copy must be submitted to e-Learn Dropbox for Turnitin (scrutiny for academic integrity ? see SMU’s Code of Academic Integrity) by 11.59pm at the end of that day.
An example of a Film Research essay follows. Please note the in-text citation, and the citation used in the bibliography and filmography (please refer to the Chicago Manual of Style guide in e-Learn), and the design of the text with the first paragraph not indented, but following paragraphs indented.
Research Outline I submitted:
ARTS007 – Society and Culture in Film-G1
Research Essay Outline
Working Title: “A Series of Unfortunate Events”: Pipe Dreams and Abandonment in a Poverty Stricken Life.
Thesis Statement:
The selfish and opportunistic character of Harihar Roy (father) resulted in his alienation from the reality of his familial poverty and led to a bitter sequence of events that culminated in the death of his daughter Durga.
Abstract:
Despite the good intentions of Harihar for his family, he was too absorbed in his own selfish desire to continue in his family footsteps and be a poet/scholar even though it earned no money. This essay investigates the feature film; Pather Panchali, and suggests that Harihar’s blindness to the reality of the poverty and starvation that his family was in and building up of pipe dreams led to the complete breakdown of the family and the loss of their one and only unmarried daughter. Harihar’s abandonment of family and departure in search of an income changed the course of the family life forever. Harihar should have opened his eyes and ears to his family and listened to his wife whose concerns of fixing the house, buying medicine for Durga, and finding a suitable suitor for Durga could have saved her life and a future for their family.
Point 1 – Opportunistic and Selfish Character
Evidence:
a) He was telling his wife, Sarbajaya, that he must continue to be a scholar and poet
b) He wanted to continue his family legacy
c) He took a job with a wealthy farmer despite no steady wages from his for many months
d) He wanted to continue also performing rituals as his father had done
Point 1 – Unwilling to Listen and See Reality
Evidence:
a) His wife had on many occasions questioned and confronted him about many legitimate concerns
b) He dismissed all these outright and kept repeating “Do not worry”
c) He blamed situation on God saying, “Whatever God does is for the best”
d) He paid no attention to how Durga was behaving with stealing food from neighbors orchard (because she was so hungry) and how Apu only could eat rice all the time.
e) He did not see that Durga was of marriageable age and to find her an appropriate suitor to take care of her, especially considering this was in 1955 Bengali village where women get married early.
Point 3 – Abandonment of family and no communication for many months
Evidence:
a) He left one day abruptly saying he was going to seek employment in the city but did not provide Sarbajaya with enough money or food to sustain herself or the family.
b) He did not respond for many months at a streth and did not inquire about the family’s condition despite knowing the house was falling apart and the poverty was unbearable.
Bibliography:
Bandopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan. 1929. Pather Panchali. Bengal: Ranjan Prakashalay.
Parsipur, Shahrnush. 1989. Women Without Men. Tehran: Iran
Filmography:
Pather Panchali. 1995. Dir.: Satyajit Ray.

Accesed February 20 2014
Comment from Professor for the Research Outline:
Here are some comments on your research outline. Don’t panic if I seem to think that you’ve not got your proposition spot-on. I can see if you tried your best and gave your research outline the thinking that it requires, which means I do know when you’ve not given your best (for whatever reasons), and you must allow that I will be objective.
So why this assignment to blight your evening? The whole idea of this research outline: 1) it starts you thinking about research and writing to prepare you for your essay assignment 2) it allows you to have a PhD level supervisor, think on your ideas and respond to them, and guide you into considering other directions or seeking more depth 3) it is one way to give you grades for a mid-term component, which is a requirement. I think this assignment is more beneficial to your growth of thinking than an MCQ. Do realize it gives me a lot of work, and don’t think I gave the assignment out of sadism, neither am I a masochist, just an instructor is doing what she thinks is the needful.
Note well: You do not have to research according to the lines I suggest. You make your own choices. Feel free to write on a different topic if this is what you want, or write on different movies, or continue with the investigation you started with your research outline. I will grade your essays on that assignment’s own terms. The research outline and the research essay are 2 discretely different assignments. In the next few days in class, you can consult me on your essays, but I can only respond to questions and ideas and not suggest my own, because I have to be objective. Again, remember, you are not bound to follow my suggestions. The essay is yours alone.
Late: The research project does not move beyond a description of what you see as the portrayal of the selfishness of the father character (Hatihari) in Satyatjit Ray’s “Pather Panchali”. Scholarship must move beyond the descriptive to the analytical and then to higher order thinking. So if Hatihari ‘s selfishness is the point being made, we can begin to ask why was the man so intent on writing plays when it was clear that he needed to go out to earn money to feed his family and repair the house. We learn that the man is a Brahmin, a member of the highest, priestly caste. A person brought up on literature, since all Hindu teachings are by way of stories including the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The movie’s motif of the train, the evidence of the creep of the marketplace into the village points to the changing times. It is not enough to depend on traditions of the caste system for one to hold a place in society. In the modern consumerist society, it is the person who has wealth that is situated high in the social hierarchy. This is the analysis. Higher order thinking come when we extrapolate further to a proposition that the movie comments on a stagnant Indian economy because its people will not do the needful to survive in today’s world of transnational markets. Thus like Harihar’s family, the majority in India are abjectly poor. I do not understand the bibliography. It should list articles and texts that have been referred to/and will be referred to in the essay. Did you read Bandopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan. 1929 book Pather Panchali? or Parsipur, Shahrnush’s “Women Without Men?” Why read the latter book for a discussion of Pather Panchali? And is Bandopadhyay’s book available? The title should be something pithy that makes the point being made in the essay, for example: “Progressive India is but a pipe dream: Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali. The thesis statement is along the lines: Satyatjit Ray’s Pather Panchali is a neo-realist film which tells the story of a Brahmin, Harhar Ray (not Roy) who clings to his traditional role as a man of letters. In the 1920s, the time in which the movie is set, the marketplace has crept into Ray’s rural village in Bengal. Money, earned in the marketplace, and not pipe dreams is needed to survive. Harihar’s blithe fatalism and his lack of response to the changing times reduces his family to an abject poverty that ends in tragedy. This essay argues that Satyatjit Ray’s film “Pather Panchali” is a depiction of modern Indian society where little is done to improve the economy and raise the majority of its people out of abject poverty.



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