Although the film is well over 50 years old, the story and imagery continue to inspire conversation, parodies, allusions in other movies and on TV, etc. (In fact, Steven Speilberg is planning to remake the movie.) Choose a modern-day reference, or a category (such as memes), and explore/research it. Report back on what you found, how it connects to the film, and what you think of it.
The leading male characters of West Side Story each have personality traits that are likable, and even admirable, as well as certain flaws. Choose any one of them and write about why you would like them as a friend (or even as a romantic interest), reflecting on both the good and bad aspects of who they are.
Write a sonnet that tells some critical part(s) of the plot of West Side Story, thus demonstrating your knowledge and understanding of the film. If you wish, you may use one of the sonnet template forms available in the classroom.
NOTE: This assignment is graded differently than the other options about this movie. You will earn up to 10 XP per line, based on the accuracy of references made to the film, your syntax, and the rhythm and the rhyme of the poem. A possible bonus of 10 XP for elegant word choice makes the total XP possible for this option 150 XP.
There are many different thoughts about what masculinity is and should be. Some think to be male, you must be tough, strong, and dominant. Others think a good male should be kind, nurturing, and caring. Which of the boy characters in West Side Story will grow up to be the best, most representative male? In your writing, explain both what is, in your opinion, important for a male in America to be and also what evidence exists in the movie to show that your chosen character was on track to be the best choice.
Note: Obviously, Riff, Bernardo, and Tony all die in the film, but you could still write about one of them, if you think they might have grown to be the most ideal man.
Write a sequel to West Side Story, projecting what would have happened after the film end based on clues in the movie. Make sure you specifically address the fates of Maria, Anita, and the two gangs, though you may also include any other characters in the story that you found interesting. You may do this in conventional fiction form, in screenplay form, or in comic form. Possible Bankgem reward for comic, if artwork is exceptional.
She's Bernardo's sister, Anita's friend, Tony's true love, Chino's intended bride. Write about the leading female character in West Side Story, Maria. Be sure to mention what kind of a person she is, how that influences what happens in the story, the symbols associated with her (and how they help explain her), etc.
LT. SCHRANK: [to the Puerto Ricans] What I mean is... CLEAR OUT! That's right, all of you!
Oh, I know. It's a free country and I ain't got the right. But I got a badge. What've you got?
There is no question that the Puerto Ricans in West Side Story have to endure the prejudice of others. And in one scene, we get a hint that Lt. Schrank is even bigoted toward other "immigrant scum," including members of the Jets.
And there's also no question that race has become a hot topic in the United States once again, with uprisings against what appear to be targeted police abuses toward African-Americans and others. The news stories out of Ferguson, New York, Baltimore...the #BlackLivesMatter movement...the recent increase of membership in "alt-right" and other white supremacy groups--all indicate that America still has a race problem, and that in some cases, police officers may well be involved.
What parallels exist between the events in West Side Story and those you are aware of in the recent news? What connections can you make between this fiction and our reality? What lessons, if any, were offered in the film about racism, and how might they inform our choices now?
GRAZIELLA: "I and Velma ain't dumb!"
Think of the main female characters--Maria and Anita--and all the secondary ones: Velma, Graziella, Anybody's (the tomboy), the Sharks' girlfriends, etc. What is this world like for them? Is it better or worse than it is for the males in the story...and how? You may also choose to consider how closely this story mirrors modern-day gender roles. Be sure to back up your assertions with evidence.
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
Week 11 Day 5 (June 7) for any that you choose to do.
Note: You may do any number of these in any combination, but none of these options can be done twice.
Links to more info
In general, each paper you choose to write is eligible for up to 48 XP per KP, based on the traits of IDEAS, ORGANIZATION, VOICE, and SENTENCE FLUENCY.
Possible additional XP may be granted if your WORD CHOICE, CONVENTIONS and/or PAPER PRESENTATION are exceptional.
ORGANIZATION IS IMPORTANT HERE. Please know that papers that are not paragraphed properly or that lack introductory or concluding paragraphs will likely be BOUNCED BACK ungraded.
Also remember to beware the Spelling Unforgivables!
If you have a question about any of these options, leave a comment on the option's post. Make sure you sign it with your avatar name, so I know it's not spam--otherwise, I'll likely delete it. I will post a clarifying response ASAP.