Ideological Analysis

We have done narrative summary: “Just the facts” (characters, setting, plot challenges, etc.)

We have done aesthetic analysis:  How is the text designed (look, sound) to produce an emotional effect on viewers?

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Ideological analysis: What intellectual perspective does the text encourage viewers to adopt towards the subject?

As you begin your ideological analysis, consider the following questions:



  • Who are the heroes in the text? Who are the villains? Are there any principal characters that are a complex mix of hero and villain?
    Note: A hero does not have to be an individual. It may, for example, be an industry (“Hollywood”), a technology (nuclear power), or a cultural institution (college football).
  • What qualities make the heroes heroic and the villains villainous?

Note: When you begin to identify these qualities, you will begin to get a sense of the text’s values.

  • What behaviors or attitudes does the text depict as:


  • Funny?
  • Troubling? Problematic?
  • Dangerous?
  • Infuriating?
  • Admirable?
  • Despicable?
  • Normal?
  • Inspiring?


  • Does the text encourage viewers to take a firm view on the subject matter or does it raise questions that it does not entirely answer?
  • Does the text provide a full and fair presentation of the subject matter? What does it leave out? What might someone who disagrees with the text’s viewpoint say about it?
  • How does the text encourage viewers to endorse its viewpoint on the subject matter?
    Consider: ethos (trustworthy testimonials); pathos (compelling emotional footage); logos (powerful statistics; persuasive logic and evidence)

Verbs that will help you with your ideological analysis

  • Explores / investigates / takes a closer look at
  • Raises questions about … / encourages viewers to …
  • Depicts / presents a picture of . . . / offers a new perspective on . . .
  • Celebrates / endorses / champions / praises
  • Criticizes / condemns / denounces / attacks / casts a harsh light on / challenges the view that . . . /


Sample Outline (include an original title!)

  1. Introduction—offer a brief description of the text and what sparked your interest in it
  2. Narrative summary (just enough about the characters and setting so that readers can make sense of what follows)—no more than 33% of the total word count
  3. Aesthetic analysis
  4. Ideological analysis
  5. Conclusion—in the conclusion you may characterize your own view on the text, its ideology, and its aesthetic (Word count in parentheses at the end)

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