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Sarah S.
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My comments on this movie are probably a little late, as I'm sure many have already forgotten it. But I had such a strong distaste with this movie, I wondered if anyone else felt the same. The movies we watched before in English, like Trust and Dead Man, were great films, and my confidence in the selection was increasing. But then came Shanghai Triad. What an empty movie. Nothing of significance happened, and none of it was entertaining. A movie should either have something significant or entertaining. Shanghai Triad had neither. Well, actually, that is not entirely true. It had... Continue reading
The only connection I could discern was the use of fluid perspectives. The point-of-view shifts a lot of times in Beloved, and Shanghai Triad showed us a visual representation of that through its cinematography. Other than that, literally nothing. I would just sign it off as supplemental culture.
Thank you. I thought the exact same thing. I do not think that Sethe's struggle had much to say about gender equality. I mean, they were probably a little too preoccupied by the oppression of slavery and race to feel significant effects of gender oppression. Yes, Beloved deals with a majority of female characters, but that does not equal feminism. The only way I see it as feminist is that it presents these characters pretty much without making a deal out of their gender. Maybe it could be called gender-blind?
Sethe is the central character in Beloved. All of the characters are connected through their relationship with her, whether it be daughter, lover, or mother-in-law. But in my perception of her, she is the most elusive. All she seems to do is go through the motions of her life. Whenever the narrative shifts to her point of view, we understand she is afraid of and haunted by her past, but we know almost nothing about her present. I think it is because of that, and because she has had no impressive external outburst of emotion, that she is the most... Continue reading
I feel like in Beloved, Morrison reveals her story and characters in a way that is simultaneously blunt and mystifying. She describes blunt instances, but you never understand their full meaning until later. And some scenes are shocking, but the complete opposite of blunt. I can only think of about two things so far in the book that were very blunt. But by being indirect, the message hits you harder when you finally realize it.
I also think the recurrence of sweetness connects to Beloved in particular. It's still too early to tell, but I think it may have something to do with Beloved's partial identity as a baby. The sweetness of infancy contrasts with the older, spiteful version that chokes and threatens.
I'm just going to put it out there: I think Dead Man is the best movie we've watched in English so far this year. I realize it's pretty hard to top Trust, but Dead Man up to now has been completely awesome. I am not normally into any movie that is set in 1800s America, almost as a rule. Why do I find it so brilliant? First, the cinematography. The black and white works so well, that I find it difficult to picture the film in color. The shots are also well-paced. I am most surprised by the picture quality,... Continue reading
I agree, the connections between the two are most likely loose- thematic rather than plot-based. I think, though, that the violence in the film is necessary, from both the character's and the director's point of view. Not only does it advance the plot, but it helps illustrate whatever point the director and writer are trying to make. As for Blake, he is a strange man in a new world, and something had to radically change for him. That something was becoming a murderer.
Nice post! This is an intriguing point, because Achebe essentially strengthened Conrad's message in the book while trying to destroy it.
It is evident that Apocalypse Now is based on Heart of Darkness- exactly copied in some places. But one of the strongest things that unite the two are not character names or scenes, it is the theme of darkness. Whether it is Willard in Vietnam in 1970 or Marlow in the Congo in the late 1890s, both are on a journey where they discover "the darkness and corruption of his own soul," as the back cover of the book so succinctly puts it. The character of Kurtz is clearly mad and corrupted as well, in both versions, by unattainable ideals... Continue reading
Exactly. The center of darkness is the human heart, if taken literally. The center of darkness is the center of humans, so logically it follows that humans represent all darkness. At least the darkness Conrad wished to portray in this novel.
I think the names were withheld because Conrad wanted to dehumanize everyone surrounding Kurtz and Marlow in order to leave the narrative open to only an evaluation of the humanity of those two individuals.
As a whole, Light in August is an epic that covers so much ground- but in the span of less than a month and in one or two small towns. Of course there are time lapses and flashbacks, but each of those is an epic within itself. To put it in annoying terms, it is an epic of humanity. The book does not take you on a journey through many far off lands, it takes you on a journey through many different, but eerily similar, minds. (While reading Christmas' back-story, for some inexplicable reason known not even in my mind,... Continue reading
First off, I'm making up a best title award and giving it to you. Second, I'm not sure how not wanting to take responsibilities and make decisions makes anyone a 'consummate citizen', especially an American one. Aren't the ideals of this country rooted in a strong sense of independence and ability to think for oneself? The consummate citizen would join the military in order to fight for freedom or at least for one's country. However, his ambivalent mindset, while not that of an ideal citizen, is that of the actual citizen. Laziness of thought and indecision are the most prevalent states of mind, and have become the new definition of the masses. Finally, Grimm could represent both society's demands and nature's laws if society's demands were constructed around nature's laws. In other words, Grimm is the embodiment of a society born of death, and death itself.
Faulkner finds it necessary to develop characters and human relationships more fully. The story itself is not extremely complex, but the way it is presented makes it that way, just as people don't seem all that complex, until you get into who they really are. It is very confusing, but at the same time it has a logical omniscient stream-of- consciousness feel to it.
After reading the first few chapters of LIA, my mind immediately went to one of Faulkner's other novels, As I Lay Dying, which I read last year for English. I absolutely hated As I Lay Dying. There were multidimensional characters and it was a multi-point-of-view narrative, but it all seem fictionalized, too controlled but with too much to say. I was incredibly surprised, then, when I started reading LIA. First, LIA seems to have been written by a totally different writer than As I Lay Dying, or at least written in two different periods of the author's life. But LIA... Continue reading
I think the narration's fixation on Lena's bare feet represents her innocent, child-like nature, since it is children who often go barefoot. It expands Lena's character, because she presents both innocence and lechery. Because of this conflict in her character, Armistid is probably taken aback by Lena's failure to fit into one of his categories, and thus reluctant to touch her (along with the other reasons).
I was going to do a post on Hightower's name. He certainly does stick out. I thought it could also be interpreted as more of a high pedestal, suggesting that Hightower is morally above others. I think more likely, though, it is indicative of Hightower's high view of himself. His stubborn refusal to leave the town was a result of his belief that he was not wrong enough to be thrown out. He thinks he is better than that.
Some fellow peers may find it very strange That poetry is what I seem to like, But I insist that I am not deranged; Would you like to see my exercise bike? I really like to read what poets say Their words flow always neatly in my mind. And while you sit there ready to explode Why do you not smile too or display your joy? But then I am again maligned For foolishly writing this in an ode. Continue reading
Yes! another poetry lover. I think the classroom discussion of poetry inadvertently proved your point. Poetry was never really defined, and it can never be defined. Poetry, like poems, does not have a concrete definition.
This happened to me too. I feel the subjects used in Spoken Word are used so much that the whole poems themselves become cliched to us. The only way I am going to enjoy a cliche is if it is written extremely spectacularly well. Half of a poem's merit to me is the idea behind it, and it is time that we thought of some new ones.
You cannot gain innocence. Once it is lost, it is lost forever. Foil does not necessarily mean complete opposites; it means complementary contrast. Think Meursault and the robot woman. They were not complete opposites. Both followed a routine. But they contrasted in that Meursault's routine had no purpose while the woman's routine had very strict purpose. The truth revealed by Billy's and Claggart's complementary contrast is that natural evil is eerily similar to natural good.
I completely agree. This relation to Christianity was established as early as the beginning of the book. When Billy is impressed, he is asked his parentage to which he replies, "God knows sir" (51). This establishes the connection with Billy and Jesus, as well as the many references to crucifixion later: "bringing to his face an expression which was as a crucifixion to behold." (99) Melville wrote Billy Budd, I believe, to expose the irony of Christianity and religion's constant battle against nature.
I find it interesting that in dying, Claggart accomplished to corrupt Billy, his goal since encountering him. (If you accept that Billy lost his innocence by killing him) That would make Claggart a martyr. But Billy is seen likewise as a martyr for "killing evil". Maybe Claggart is not just Billy's opposite or enemy. Claggart is Billy's foil. The natures of both are derived from nature and both die from their natures. They are the same person, only on different sides of the spectrum. Claggart is the evil version of Billy. Continue reading
I think the outcome of the debate (was it 50.5% to 49.5%?) reflects this confusion. On their own, everyone presented good arguments, and received about equal points for that, as well as each side as a whole (though the con side deviated a bit at the end). But the debate itself as a whole was incoherent. I think the debate was so close because no one could tell who should win. And that's because, as Jeffrey said, no one could have.