Your final paper will involve Wall-E. The final draft of the paper will be due after finals (5/6). However, you must attend our final period with a complete or near-complete draft (at least the first five steps listed below); I’ll have some revision exercises for you to complete at the final.


I have broken this essay into steps; always break your writing—whether a research paper or not, whether you’re using section headings or not—into steps. Try to define the steps by reflecting on what you need at that moment of the essay. Build the essay according to what you need.


Step 1 (Introduction): Describe in some detail one moment you think best captures Wall-E’s character. You’re looking for a representative moment. Do not compose your thesis yet!


(General paper-writing advice: Remember this dictum for introductions: shoot an arrow into your topics; don’t settle for throwing blankets over them. Relevant anecdotes are a good go-to strategy.)


Step 2 (Expanding Your Focus a Bit): Now, pick an additional representation of robots in children’s entertainment. You can use Big Hero 6, Iron Giant, Adventure Time (BMO, N.E.P.T.R., or Rattleballs), “Burn-E,” or some other show or movie. It’s your call—just make sure there’s a robot character.


What do people expect or want from robots in general? How are Wall-E’s and your other robot’s design and activities consistent with those sorts of expectations and desires?


Step 3 (Real-World Context): This part of the essay requires you to review three articles—Derek Scherer’s “Movie Magic Makes Better Social Robots: The Overlap of Special Effects and Character Robot Engineering”; Sherry Turkle, Cynthia Breazeal, Olivia Dasté, and Brian Scassellati’s “Encounters with Kismet and Cog: Children Respond to Relational Artifacts”; and Cynthia Breazeal and Brian Scassellati’s “How to build robots that make friends and influence people.”

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What to do with them in the paper: Cite at least two of the articles in the paper. And quote at least one. How does design affect the willingness of people to accept a robot? What is it about children that predisposes them to accept robots? How might that quality (or “those qualities”) help facilitate the assimilation of robots into Western culture?


(General paper-writing advice: Go out of your way to find some sort of lens to help your analyses. Don’t avoid them or treat incorporating them as an obligation. A little bit of time researching and engaging with those sources will pay off by making the overall paper-writing experience easier. Don’t fight the requirement to read and research.)


Step 4 (Application to Focus):

How do Wall-E and your other robot relate to the insights into design and function from the articles? How are these robots portrayed to foster a connection with the film’s audience, and especially its child audience?


(General paper-writing advice: Finding and engaging with a lens isn’t helpful if you don’t use it!)



Step 5 (Conclusion, Real-World Application): Select one of the following robots, and look into the information you can find about them: Pillo, Aido, ZenBo, Jibo, or Tapia.


Writing: How do the design and function of the real-world robot you have chosen relate to the fictional depictions you have written about earlier in the paper?


(General paper-writing advice: Don’t conclude just by reiterating what you’ve said. Expand out a bit. Usually, expanding out will entail answering the question “So what?” For this essay, it’s a tad different. You’re looking at a larger trend, one signaled—and to a degree, indebted to—fictional representations of robots.)

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Step 6 (Finalize and Incorporate Thesis and Essay Map): Now skip a line and write your thesis statement—kind of like the moral to a fable. It should be pretty clear by now that your main claim is going to be something along the lines of “children’s entertainment that, like the ones you’ve written about in this paper, depicts robotic technology helps future generations to acclimate to a world with robots.” However, that claim, stated that way, isn’t enough. You must address how? and why? So make sure you establish your becauses.


Also, how have you gone about presenting your argument? What’s the sequence of ideas your paper follows?


Once your thesis and map are finalized, incorporate them at the end of Step 2 above.