2017-18 Final Post

Research Day 2018:

End of the Year Report

 

When I finished my research paper “Hitchcock’s Perfect Woman” I exclaimed ‘I will never write an essay again!’ That of course, was never going to happen, but the anecdote shows how new writing such an extensive project was to me. I was extremely happy to have completed a 20-page essay, a feat I didn’t think that I was capable of when reading research articles of similar length and admiring how well they were written.

One of the most important learning outcomes that came out of this experience, was the final addition that I included in my paper. This addition was putting in a historical background to the essay. By putting my topic in a historical context, the ideas that I wanted to express gained more substance and the whole point of the topic became clearer to readers. The historical placement of the ideas was completely clear to me, but I needed to make adjustments so that the readers could see them as well. If they stayed just in my head without being translated to paper, it would have been as if they didn’t exist at all. I also would not have learned this lessons without consultation with my advisor and professors, who I am extremely grateful to.

Another lesson that I learned from my faculty advisor was how to make better use of cited works. My biggest struggle during this research project was finding good sources, and then my advisor sent me one source that she was using for her paper, and everything changed. Not only was able to use that source, but also other works referenced in the essay. Through that, I learned that I have previously kept my view on sources too narrow, and that including a historical period, similar topics but with other directors, or different topics with the same director (Alfred Hitchcock in my case) were great ways of broadening my choices.

I also started with a different conclusion than the one I ended up with. My first idea for the project first came up when I saw Hitchcock’s film Notorious and was stunned by how the main character was a woman holding the traditional male gender role over the men surrounding her. What was especially stunning was that the film was created in 1946, and by a director who was often called a misogynist. I wanted to defend Hitchcock in my paper, as what I saw contradicted those claims, but as I started going deeper into the subject I realized that the topic was much more ambiguous. What surprised me was that there was no clear answer from any of the esteemed film critics and theorists specializing in Alfred Hitchcock and his films. When I noticed that, I decided not to pursue a clear answer about the person, as achieving that would be nearly impossible because it is something that cannot be proven or disproven, but that I would rather focus on the movie that got me started on the topic in the first place. I decided to make a contribution to what I saw was created by Hitchcock, regardless of who he was as a person, so I turned it into a written work instead of just keeping it in my head.

Without my advisor, Dr. Rebecca Martin, I probably would still have been stuck on my topic that originally spanned over 7 films, which would not justly fit into a research paper but rather in a book. She was an immense help in pushing me to stay on top of my topic and taught me a lot about cinema itself. Research, like any big worthwhile project, is a collaborative experience, and that is something that I learned through writing my essay.

Blog #3

I am very happy with how my project has been going so far. I have struggled in the beginning to determine what exactly my topic will be, and when I found the right sources they were the ones that led me to my topic. Because I found the right sources, I was able to narrow down my topic and let my project grow from there. I’ve learned a lot about Hitchcock’s films and the treatment of women both on and of screen, and I also learned about the historical context his movies were surrounded by. I am close to being done with my project, and am adding finishing touches which will determine how the paper looks and reads

2017-18 Blog #2

I have made progress with the sources that I want to use in my research. The sources that are directly related to the topic I am researching have been hard to find because there are not many peer reviewed papers posted on it, especially from the perspective that isn’t completely condemning Hitchcock. I have also seen some of the films that I am including another time and gained more insight from them by noticing different details.

I have obtained a book that in my opinion gives the widest opinion about my topic (as it includes multiple perspectives), and I have also discovered some peer reviewed articles that I think will be of great use for my research.

My biggest concern was finding the articles as there were so little that spoke about Hitchock supporting femininity, but by changing some keywords in my online search I was able to find better sources.

2017-18 Post#1

 

The title of my project is “Femininity in Hitchcock’s Films-Male Dominance Questioned”. The title itself is a brief description of the whole purpose of the project, which is to show how the film director Alfred Hitchcock did not always portray men as the dominant gender in his movies. I think that the topic is relevant for the modern day and age because gender equality is a prominent problem currently, and my goal is to explore how Hitchcock, who is usually thought of as a very dominant figure, portrayed women as actually being those who have the upper hand. In addition to that, I also expect to learn how those roles affected the plot of his movies and how they related to his personal views of gender.

The methods I intend to use in my research are watching numerous of his films from different periods of his career, watching documentaries about him, as well as reading books that explore the man as well as his career. In addition, I will also be using scholarly articles that have done research on his films and the topic of gender.