The lens technique begins with some kind of theoretical concept which will frame and govern the way the student reads a text or issue. In other words, use a concept that sets the stage for your arugment. The theoretical concept, notice, requires foregrounding, and the student below opts to utilize a three-paragraph introductory set-up to separate and distinguish key concepts in relation to the thesis of argument.

 Jamie Scribner

Mrs. McFarland

English 1102-14

21 November 2006

“You Complete Me”

Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, presents his audience with the idea of the “existential vacuum.” According to his theory, “If meaning is what we desire, then meaningless is a hole, an emptiness, in our lives” (Frankl 162). In other words, one’s life is empty without meaning. People try to fill their “existential vacuums” with anything they can to provide themselves with satisfaction that only turns out to last temporarily. Some also try to fill their voids (whatever they may be) by developing cycles, such as obsessions, in their lives. However, obsessions are never enough (Frankl). The idea that man must feel whole in order for his life to have meaning goes beyond psychology and can also be seen in Hollywood today.

One film this idea is seen in is Jerry Maguire. This popular film directed by Cameron Crowe is about sports agent Jerry Maguire who, after having second thoughts about certain decisions he has made, reevaluates his career and life (Rocher). During the film, Jerry nearly loses his wife to divorce and realizes she fills his own personal void—his need for emotional and physical love and meaning in his life. Jerry’s realization is expressed when he says, Tonight our company, our little business, had a very big night, but it wasn’t complete. It wasn’t even close to being in the same vicinity as complete, because I couldn’t share it with you. I couldn’t laugh about it with you. I miss… I miss my wife…I love you. You complete me (Crowe). For some people, it takes nearly losing what they have in order to appreciate its value and the meaning it really holds in one’s life. The need to fill one’s “existential vacuum” can also be seen in the film 25th Hour, directed by the well known and controversial Spike Lee.

Spike Lee carefully constructs the scenes of 25th Hour so each and every detail has meaning. The main idea in this film is that everyone has voids in their lives and experiences the need to feel emotionally complete. The idea of personal voids is certainly seen between the characters Jacob Elinsky and Mary D’Annunizio in the scene entitled “Jake the Snake.” Lee constructs meaning through Jacob’s and Mary’s mannerisms and their language, portraying this theme through the use of music, circles, and red lighting.


ANOTHER SAMPLE (a more concise version)

Justin Polizzi

Professor McFarland

English 1102, Section 38

16 March 2004

Unisex Father Wounds

            Dale Whitman’s “Rechartering the Feminine Space” examines the effects of a father’s absence on an individual’s growth.  His argument proposes that abandonment at an early age leads to internalized rejection and compromised worth, culminating in a cycle of “a lack of self assertion” (1).  Whitman argues that only a “journey toward reclaiming self” (1) can affect a resolution and implies that recovery from a destructive cycle comes about through personal creation.  While originally intended for a female character, John Eldridge’s “father wound” (1) is equally applicable to James Victor, the main character of Smoke Signals, an independent film by Sherman Alexie.