Foundations for Academic Success Track

Ash Crantas, “Education of a War-Torn Land”

Ash Crantas is being recognized for her work in substantive revision while crafting a complex analysis. In her essay, Crantas critically examines the ways in which filmmakers manipulate their audiences through the decisions they make and the strategies they use. Particul

arly, Crantas analyzes how filmmaker Nadine Cloete, in the opinion documentary “Miseducation,” establishes a framework of clues to engage the audience’s deductive powers. While composing, Crantas drafted the paper several times, each time trying to more clearly articulate the ways in which the director’s logic is established. Crantas’ dedication to substantive revision paid off in a clear, insightful analysis of a complex process.

Reflecting on the power of revision, Crantas describes one of her most valued techniques:

One activity that had a significant impact on my paper was the reverse outlining. This tactic broke down the basic structure of my essay and showed me the difference between what was in my head and what the audience was reading. I found the concise summaries of each paragraph beneficial, because if you cannot explain a concept in a few sentences then you do not understand it well.


Read an excerpt from “Education of a War-Torn Land”:

Correspondingly, elements such as camera focus add into this deductive progress. The concentration switches between Kelina’s peaceful face as she sleeps and then her stern, severe expression as she walks alone in the streets. This contrasts the tranquility that her childhood should be and the solitary life she has adapted to. As she traverses roads and alleys [filled] with lurking adults and scowling gangsters, the backdrop of the dirty city is always visible behind the young girl; this serves as a constant reminder of where she comes from, of what home is to her. Also, the camera angle switches between following as an omniscient observer and being situated at Kelina’s height, looking up at suspicious adults and rickety buildings. The third-person POV enforces how powerless Kelina is and what her literal and figurative perspective is. These angles work to build ethos and let the audience walk around in her shoes, to understand her beyond being an outside observer.

Moreover, the editing is full of hard cuts that make the audience wonder; this effect adds to how the viewers must be the ones to fill in the gaps and create their own understanding. For example, Kelina is shown walking, with crossed arms, past a man leaning against a pole, and he stands up as she goes by. The scene cuts away, and the viewer is left unsatisfied–did he say something to her? Did he make a rude gesture, as many others have done in the background? Surely nothing negative happened with a camera crew around, but then again, the city is  dangerous. A definite answer is never given.