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Bridger A.
Tutor/Mentor, Fortes: Study Skills, Writing, & Critical Thinking
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

Consider the following: "This argument was emphasized by Thompson (1992:12)." Why is this NOT a correct way to format an MLA in-text citation, and how should it be properly cited?

Bridger A.
Answer:

The year of publication is not necessary; it should be "... Thompson (12)." to reference the publication's page or paragraph number.

Film and Theater
TutorMe
Question:

Tim Burton uses aesthetic elements derived from what nineteenth century artistic movement? How does he incorporate these elements into his works, and what does he say with them?

Bridger A.
Answer:

Among the many anti-authority sub-cultures Burton's films borrow aesthetic elements from, the most prominent is undoubtedly German Expressionism. German Expressionism, though broad and inclusive of many interpretations, is primarily a rejection of a naturalistic depiction of an objective reality. Instead, it frequently portrays distorted figures, buildings, and landscapes in a disorienting manner that disregarded the conventions of perspective and proportion. This approach, combined with jagged, stylized shapes and harsh, unnatural colors, were used to convey subjective emotions. When it comes to theatre and cinema, expressionism became iconic through numerous technical aspects, like production design, lighting, and even some acting styles. Burton’s films seemingly counterintuitively juxtapose his dark, counter-culture, expressionistic aesthetic with scripts that embrace mainstream American culture and venerate authority figures. He effectively co-opts rebellious imagery in service of exploitative recuperation. He has many scenes with obvious German Expressionist influence, yet none of them are utilized to fill the audience with a sense of dread, fright, or foreboding. For example, Edward Scissorhands features a scene in a character’s laboratory. Aesthetically, the set is reminiscent of a German Expressionist landscape, showing the mechanical, inhuman nature of heavy industry. Yet, Burton refuses to grapple with the elements on a thematic level. Instead of being emblematic of how the laboratory crushes the characters’ humanity, it creates heart-shaped cookies. In essence, Tim Burton’s films commodify one of the nineteenth century’s most rebellious, anti-exploitation artistic movements in a palatable way that can be bottled-up and safely sold to all American audiences, reinforcing mainstream societal expectations and corporate meta-narratives.

US History
TutorMe
Question:

Why did the United States Federal Government continue to escalate the Vietnam War so many times despite the rising American death toll and diminishing public support?

Bridger A.
Answer:

The Vietnam War is known as the fourth most bloody war in American history with a death toll of 58,220 U.S. military casualties. Unsurprisingly, public support for it was severely lacking, as can be witnessed by the massive popularity of numerous anti-war songs in the era. Despite this, though, American military action in Vietnam only increased throughout the duration of the war, for over ten years. The reasons and motivations behind military action in Vietnam were intricate and complex, but understanding can be found behind one major factor, and its many facets: the policy of containment. During the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, some people in the United States, their president included, believed in the idea of “monolithic communism,” the idea that “all Communists—Russian, Chines, and Vietnamese— were bent on world domination and cooperated with each other to achieve that goal” (King 334). This belief, in combination with the domino theory, made Communist suppression in Vietnam absolutely essential to perceived United States interests. If Vietnam were to fall to Communism, President Johnson believed, so too would the rest of Asia, which would, in turn, become an even greater and more ferocious enemy to the United States and its support of American-brand democracy. The Maddox was sent back into the Gulf of Tonkin, after the first retaliatory attack, with an expectation that it would be attacked again by the Vietnamese. McNamara even states in a conversation with President Johnson that "this ship is allegedly to be attacked tonight” and that they had already ordered for a U.S. aircraft carrier to head to Vietnam in preparation for airstrikes (McNamara White House Tapes). This proves, that for President Johnson, deescalation was never an option: This was a war that must end unequivocally in a United States victory over Communism. To combat a so-called “Communist Empire,” the United States would also need to establish and protect a worldwide alliance of nations against Communism. While the South Vietnamese government had plenty of policies damaging to its reputation—besides being a dictatorship as well— it was still considered by the United States as an independent allied nation. For the leaders who believed in the domino theory and taking a stand against Communism, the idea of leaving an ally to be overran by a Communist regime was unthinkable. It became even more of a moral quandary when it became clear that withdrawing United States military personnel from Vietnam would almost immediately lead to the fall of South Vietnam (King 332). United States involvement and military action in Vietnam was highly controversial at the time and still is today. While the morality and justification for the war is still debatable, the reasoning behind measures to contain Communism that President Johnson and his administration took are excessively clear. To them, there could be no fate worse than losing Vietnam, and then inevitably the rest of the world, to Communistic rule.

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