Personal Response to Pan’s Labyrinth

Assessment Task

Read these critical essays on several popular films. You can find them on Infotrac.

Alleva, Richard. “War as narcotic: ‘The Hurt Locker’.” Commonweal 136.15 (2009): 24+. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 17 Feb. 2012.

Answer the following questions on one of these reviews:

  • Highlight the techniques the writer discuss (both film and literary)
  • How has the writer structured the work?
  • Indicate which parts are simply summary.
  • How formal is the writing? Highlight formal and or technical vocabulary.
  • Highlight personal pronouns.
  • Does the writer like the film? How do you know?
  • What aspects of the film is the writer critical of?
  • Does the writer link the film to a wider issue? What is it?

Writers use a variety of literary techniques to add depth and meaning to a story. A film director’s job is slightly different, in that he or she uses film techniques to add further depth or emphasize meaning in a story.

We have discussed a variety of literary and film techniques used in the production of Pan’s Labyrinth:

  • -setting (geographical, historical, social, etc)
  • -atmosphere
  • -genre
  • -theme
  • -suspense
  • -character (complexity, development, etc)
  • -lighting /color
  • -pace
  • -composition/frame/camera angle/focus
  • -costuming
  • -sound
  • -sound track
  • -narrative structure/point of view
  • -conflict
  • -plot (story and subplots)
  • – allusion to mythology
  • -symbolism
  • -any others….

Try watching these online lectures on literary features:

Your task is to write a response to Pan’s Labyrinth. Your response will focus upon:

A common theme in Guillermo del Toro’s films is the blending of what is real and what is imagined. 


Your paper should address the ways in which the use of techniques affected your understanding and appreciation of the story. You may use the introduction to this task sheet (*) as your first sentence, if you like. Choose one of the following scenes upon which to focus your response:

Technical Guidelines

Your response must be formal: typed, double-spaced, 11 or 12 font. It must be between 500 and 1000 words. You must have a clear and coherent structure that suits your response approach.

  • Ofelia replacing the eye in the statue
  • The story of the rose
  • Ofelia and the toad
  • The pale man (the eyeball monster)
  • The death of Carmen (is this the mandrake?)
  • Mercedes weeps over Ofelia
  • Ofelia in the grand hall
  • Ofelia rescues her brother

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