After careful consideration of Errol Morris’s documentary The Thin Blue Line, and a thorough reading of Richard Sherwin’s “The Postmodern Challenge: A Case Study,” write a paper that 1.) analyzes and explains how Morris rhetorically constructs his film in an attempt to persuade his audience and 2.) defines Sherwin’s postmodern challenge and explains how it complicates Morris’s argument.
Part 1: In order to write this paper, you will first need to isolate particular rhetorical strategies that Morris employs and explain how he attempts to shape the audience’s thinking and attitudes. Specifically, identify what Morris does to encourage the audience’s distrust of the criminal justice system, David Harris, and the eyewitnesses, and to elicit their sympathies for Randall Adams. Identify at least three of Morris’s strategies, explain how they work in particular instances in the film, and explain the desired effects on his viewers.
Part 2: After the rhetorical analysis of Morris’s cinematic strategies, you should then transition to Richard Sherwin’s The Postmodern Challenge, explaining how it complicates viewers’ understanding of the film. What non-linear, acausal narratives does Sherwin identify that complicate the case supporting Adams’s innocence, and why are they abandoned by the end of the film? Why, according to Sherwin, do viewers disregard the non-linear, acausal narratives? In other words, what expectations do viewers bring to criminal and courtroom narratives, and how do their expectations limit their ability to perceive and judge reality?
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