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Social Critique of the Film "The Matrix": Home

English 1000


Your instructor has invited you to consider any of the four questions in the list below. You will need to formulate a thesis and use several academic library resources to back up your arguments - a minimum of two scholarly books or articles from the library are required for this paper. This Sourcepack provides convenient links and helpful suggestions for locating scholarly materials on The Matrix in the MU Libraries system.

Your instructor has also approved the official Matrix website as a source for information and pertinent essays.

  • Identity: how is race/gender/sexuality deployed and/or addressed in the film The Matrix?
  • Technology/Sci-fi/Cyberpunk: How does the film address anxieties of technology? How is the man/machine duality addressed, specifically in the historical context of the sci-fi/cyperpunk genre?
  • Do we live in a matrix? Is it, as Cypher suggests, better than the "real world"? This question takes on a variety of possibilities, including but not limited to: the nature of the viewer that watches television/film; ideology and power, etc.
  • Historical context: The Matrix is a postmodern pastiche of references, genres, film, and literary traditions. Discuss the history of a genre that the film employs, how it's situated in the film and how the film comments on or alters the genre.

Materials on Reserve for your Class

View the list of online materials your instructor made available to you through our Electronic Reserve service

. View the list of books and audio-visual materials your instructor has placed at the Ellis Library Reserve Desk.

Library Books to Check Out

METHOD#1 Keyword search

  1. Go to the MERLIN library catalog, which is a link from our library home page.
  2. Type any keywords of your choice into the search box. You can use the asterisk as a truncation symbol. You can also use quotation marks to search for phrases. For example, Organization and domina* postmodernism and "science fiction" "Plato's Cave" Cyperpunk

METHOD #2: Subject search

  1. Go to the MERLIN library catalog
  2. Subject search screen.
  3. Type in the phrase Matrix (Motion Picture)
  4. Expand your search to more libraries in our network by clicking the blue MOBIUS button.
  5. Click the "Request this item" hotlink to have the book brought to this library for you.

Finding Articles

  1. Go to Ellis Library's Databases by Name List.
  2. Select a database which is likely to include articles discussing The Matrix or its concepts.

Some suggestions:

  • Academic Search Premier
    Suggestion: in the Advanced Search screen, enter PS "MATRIX, The (Film)" in the search box, and check the "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" button, OR simply click here.
  • LION (Literature Online)
  • Choose "Criticism & Reference" from the left navigation bar, then choose "Criticism." type Cinema: Individual Films: The Matrix (1999- ) in the Subject search box.
  • Philosopher's Index
  • Sociological Abstracts
    Suggestion: in this database, look for sociological concepts brought up in The Matrix rather than discussion of the film itself. If you find a journal article that you would like to read, look for a PDF or "full text" link, or for an icon labeled "Find it at MU."

If you find none of these, you can look up the publication title in Find it At MU in order to check for full-text availability. If it still doesn't turn up, check MERLIN to see if we have a subscription to the publication in printed format. The last resort would be to place an interlibrary loan request. You can also get to Find it At MU by clicking on "Electronic Journals" on the library's home page.

Citation guides The MLA style manual is shelved behind Ellis Library's Reference Desk on the south side of the first floor. We also have a link list to style manuals online.


Michael Muchow's picture
Michael Muchow
171 Ellis Library

573 882-6824


Sarah Cattan