Hunter Threadgill

Hunter Threadgill

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Florida State University

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Extra Credit Essays (All Classes)

It is of my opinion that students should be well-versed in classical and contemporary works as part of a well-rounded education. Indeed, being able to engage with someone with a different belief or opinion as yourself is a dying skill, and it is one I hope you are able to master. Additionally, it’s also good to be able to know you have engaged with these classic works, because every educated person should engage with as many of these as possible (IMO).

These essays are one way in which I hope to have you engage with the broader culture in which we live. For these assignments, I have put together a list of books, songs, albums, movies, and TV shows that I think all liberally-educated individuals should read. For each work, you will write a 2-page paper (1-page for songs) detailing one of two things: a.) how psychological phenomena that we discuss in class or read in the book can explain some aspect of the work or b.) how you interpreted the work or were moved by the work and how psychological phenomena can explain that response. I am expecting a reasonable explanation of what occurred (either in the work or within you), a brief definition of the psychological phenomena, and how the phenomena explain what occurs. I’m expecting it to be written on a freshmen collegiate level and generally free of grammatical errors. Also, please make sure to explicitly state which work you are writing about.

Do note that you can only write about ONE psychological phenomena per paper. I want you to develop this connection in depth.

Grading will be as follows: Songs will be worth 1 point each, albums and movies will be worth 4 points each, and TV shows (entire seasons) will be worth 6 points. I would prefer you attempt to pick up on themes that occur throughout the work of art (I.e., how a character displays something throughout a movie or season, themes on an album, etc.), but, if that’s not possible, I will take more specific instances within the work. You are able to attain a maximum of 20 points from these mediums. Books are worth 10 points each, and you can submit an unlimited number of essays on books.

Please turn these in on Blackboard by Monday, December 3rd, at 11:59PM (if you need more slots in which you can submit things, please let me know, and I will add more slots). Please note that I will read every essay given to me in its entirety. Also, note that these assignments will be scanned through (an online plagiarism checker), and papers that are plagiarized will be given no credit.

Finally, by no means is this list of works exhaustive; however, if you do wish to use a work not on this list, please run it by me first. The reason I ask this is I want to make sure that the chosen work is of significant historical or cultural significance that I am aiming for in this assignment. I also want to make sure I have enough time to engage with the work myself. Additionally, please only engage with works with which you have never engaged before.


Please choose from one of the following options:


Songs (1 point; 1 page):


“M’appari” by Placido Domingo

“The Marriage of Figaro: Duetto-Sull Aria”

“I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones

“Peach Scone” by Hobo Johnson


Books/Significant Articles (10 points; 2 pages):


Henry V (Shakespeare)

Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare)

The Art of War (Sun Tzu)

The Problems of Philosophy (Bertrand Russell)

Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl)

The Hobbit (Tolkien)

The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster)

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Mark Twain; I have not read this, but it was recommended to me. Thus, if you want to read this book, please let me know, so that I can move it to the top of my own list)

On Bullshit (Harry G. Frankfurt)

This is Water (David Foster Wallace; may be available for free online)

Patagonia (Bruce Chatwin)

Gumption (Nick Offerman)

Night (Elie Wiesel)

A Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah)

The Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle)

The Coddling of the American Mind (Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt;

Works of Love (Søren Kierkegaard; this is a tough read. REALLY tough.)


Albums (4 points; 2 pages):


Abbey Road (The Beatles)

The Wall (Pink Floyd)

Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys)

The Singles Collection (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers (Bob Marley)

Rage Against the Machine (Rage Against the Machine)

Desperado (The Eagles)

Illinois (Sufjan Stevens)

A Rush of Blood to the Head (Coldplay)

Wolfmother (Wolfmother)

DAMN (Kendrick Lamar)

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Kanye West)

Elephant (The White Stripes)

For Emma, Forever Ago (Bon Iver)

22, A Million (Bon Iver)

Welcome to the Black Parade (My Chemical Romance)

J. Roddy Walston and the Business (J. Roddy Walston and the Business)

The Rise of Hobo Johnson (Hobo Johnson)

Ill Communications (Beastie Boys)


Movies (4 points; 2 pages):


Batman Begins (2005)

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Star Wars (any of them)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Inside Out (2015)

The Godfather (1972)

Fight Club (1999)

Ben Hur (1959)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Rambo (1982)

Wonder Woman (2017)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012)

The Lord of the Rings (any of them)

Harry Potter (any of them)


TV Shows (6 points; 2 pages; please watch entire seasons; all should be available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or HBO):


The Office

Parks and Recreation


Lockup (any of the different options)

The Blacklist

Lie to Me

Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution (From the BBC. VERY dark and difficult to watch at times. You have been forewarned.)

I Am a Killer

Freaks and Geeks

Jack Ryan

Breaking Bad

Game of Thrones

Making a Murderer