For this assignment, you will choose one of the two options below and write a 3-5 page essay in response. (I chose prompt 2) Both prompts will ask you to perform a semiotic analysis of your chosen subject; prompt #2 is more focused on object analysis. Whichever prompt you choose, you must use at least one primary source (your primary text or object) and at least two secondary sources from your Signs of Life textbook. (Signs of Life is our textbook, I think you will need some articles we have learned from this book, you’d better use some quotations in those articles, and I will upload them for you)
Option #2: Choose a specific childhood toy or action figure (e.g. a Barbie, a G.I. Joe, a Star Wars lightsaber, a Care Bear, a Ninja Turtles product…) and perform a semiotic analysis of it. Consider the following questions: How is this toy meant to engage children? Why does it have the appearance that it does? How is it packaged and sold? What age groups and genders are targeted? What are the implicit messages at work in this toy (for example, a Dream Bride Barbie might suggest the desirability of marriage, or a G.I. Joe might teach children that violence is part of successful masculinity) and how are they similar to/different from the explicit messages? What desirable attributes or cultural myths are evoked by the toy? To what purpose? How might children identify with this toy or use it as an example when forming their own identities? Does the toy appear in any other media, such as cartoons or video games?
Be sure to have a strong, unambiguous thesis in which you state what you believe to be the messages communicated by your chosen toy or action figure. Your thesis statement is your argument or claim about the ways in which this toy communicates those messages: for example, how does the Dream Bride Barbie present marriage as an idealized goal? How do her clothes/packaging/accessories support this cultural myth? Include support for your position from the toy/action figure, its packaging and promotion, and from your textbook (some examples: consider Hine’s essay on packaging, or Garrett’s essay on the appeal of antiheroes).