How do text and diagrams work in patents to explain the function of a ride? Carefully read the “Patent for the Matterhorn BobsledsPreview the document” (under “Primary Source Material” for Module IV), then describe how the ride operates (as outlined in the patent) and explain the key innovations and features of the ride.
Pay particular attention to how movement and the different parts of technology are illustrated in the drawings and explain how reading (across the text and illustrations) communicates the function of the ride. This paper should explain how text and illustrations work together to explain the operation of technology via a document.This paper should make an argument about a specific feature of the Matterhorn. Because this is an analysis of the patent, you should use BOTH the words and images that are in the patent as you make your argument. One of the most challenging parts of this assignment will be reading through the patent because it is long and rather technical. Part of your task will to be to show me that you have read and understood this document. However, rather than trying to summarize all of the innovations that the patent describes, it is best to focus on one or two specific features, but that you have thought about them in depth.
A focused, narrow thesis typically has multiple parts. There are lots of different ways to format your thesis, but here are a few that might get you started:
1. Name a specific feature or aspect of the ride
2. Argue that the feature is innovative or important for a specific reason (as exemplified by different sections of the patent)
1. Name a specific effect of the ride
2. Argue that this effect is created through a certain technical feature (or two related features)
1. Name a particular part of the ride itself (as explained in the language of the patent)
2. Argue that the images successfully portray that function in a few specific ways
Obviously, there are many different ways to focus your paper and to write your thesis, but hopefully these ideas will get you thinking in a more focused way. I highly recommend reading the patent through completely before you decide what you want to argue. It may also be helpful to review the lectures and readings from week 4 to refresh your memory on aspects of the Matterhorn that you might be able to explain further by using evidence from the patent.
As with other academic papers, this essay should have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Please don’t feel bound to follow a five paragraph structure, though. It is much better to have two strong points, or one strong point with multiple parts, than to add a third point that is either disconnected from the main focus of the paper or that doesn’t do much analysis.
Within your paper, you should definitely quote from the patent. Ideally, though, you will only quote short phrases rather than using large chunks of text. I usually tell students that their analysis should be AT LEAST twice as long as their evidence (or the quote that they use as evidence). This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it can be helpful if you aren’t sure how much of the patent you should reference directly. When you analyze the language and pictures of the patent, here are a few questions that you might consider:
1. Why are these the particular words or images the patent uses? How does their vagueness or specificity either protect Disney’s intellectual property, or describe an important feature of the ride?
2. How does this piece of evidence prove my thesis?
3. How does the evidence in this paragraph relate to the evidence I have given in other paragraphs?
4. What are the implications of this selection from the patent? What does it tell us beyond what we would observe just from riding the Matterhorn itself?
5. How does this description (quote or image) from the patent reveal Disney’s goal to create a certain “show,” “theme,” or “experience?” (this also might be part of your thesis)
As you write/revise, make sure that you refer to both the text and the images in the patent. Explain how they work together to create a clearer picture of the actual operation of the ride. When you cite the words of the patent, please include the column number and line number(s) of your quote. When you cite a picture, give the figure number. Even though you are quoting from the patent, you only need a works cited page if you use an outside source (such as one of the readings from the class).
I will be grading this paper based on both your ability to analyze the text in thoughtful ways (rather than just repeating some of the main ideas), and on how effectively you support your argument using the primary text (giving good evidence). I am not grading based on spelling, grammar, or composition techniques (like using topic sentences).