Due Saturday 500pm

Due Saturday 5:00pm

Moral Philosophy at the Theater (MPAT) employs cinema to apply the ideas and arguments learned from the required readings and class presentations. Students may research the plot to become familiar with the film. It is permissible to view any additional clips on YouTube. The purpose of the essay is to apply ethical ideas from the course to create an informal argument, using the persuasive essay format as a tool to analyze the morality of the movie.  

This essay focuses on a conception of morality depicted through the scenes in the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), starring Jimmy Stewart (as George Bailey), a man whose entire life is reluctantly devoted to helping others. The scenes students analyze presented George Baily the Businessman, who runs a Business and Loan.  In the day, these financial institutions focus on home mortgages only.  The capital came for the depositors and borrowers.  This was mutual ownership where the shareholders controlled the business practices.  By contrast, banks directed their resources to a wider range of financial transactions. A board of directors, picked by stockholders, owned them.  Banks having more lucrative resources began to compete with B&L.

Write a persuasive essay addressing this prompt: 

Identify the issues and ideas in the clips and explain how these are consistent with the key ideas of the social contract tradition of ethics and the supporting arguments, using the required readings for this unit.

The criteria for a successful essay requires the student to identify the conception of morality depicted in the movie clips and thoughtfully explain its connection to two or three ideas from the required readings and class presentations. (Do not merely summarize the scene or plot.)  

This persuasive essay requires a well-formed thesis statement (about 25 words). The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the first paragraph. This sentence should have an independent clause asserting the conception of morality in the movie clips with an independent clause (marked by “because”) to provide two or three reasons justifying this interpretation.  The essay should also include succinct body paragraphs with topic sentences built from the words in the thesis. Within each body paragraph, include two supportive pieces of evidence containing verbiage from the movie and course materials.  (Review the illustrated, persuasive essay template.) 

The length of this persuasive essay should be between 500  and 700 words (maximum).  This length is about 3 to 5 well-formed paragraphs. The font type should be Arial 12 point.  Only Word format will be accepted as an attachment.  Creating/editing a document and pasting it into the “text entry box” of the assignment space is the preferable way to submit this essay. The guidance provided for the persuasive essay includes a paragraph template, a video tutorial, tips for formulating a thesis statement, and a rubric.