Disney Movies

Orientalism is present in Disney movies like Aladdin. In these types of children movies you would not expect an underlying subject of things like Orientalism to be brought to your attention, but there are clear signs in each movie that Orientalism is in fact shown.

Orientalism can be defined in many ways, but when it comes in regards to these types of movies, it is when the East is represented in a stereotypical way.

In Aladdin‘s original opening song the lyrics caused many people to speak up because they stated that the town was going to hurt you if they didn’t like how you looked. This was seen as a huge stereotype and was later taken down because of the outrage it caused. “Orientals” are seen in this movie as aggressive, for example, Aladdin almost getting his arm cut off when he tries to steal. They also make the belly dancers in the movie have minimal clothing. The different types of clothes on characters make the subject cross a fine line of being offensive.

When movies like Aladdin falsely represent certain groups of people, it affects our society because kids grow up to believe the things they see on social media. This movie can teach kids incorrect information regarding people in the East, and can create a major divide in our society. Harsh words like these and false representations can be created to seem lighthearted to children because they do not know better than to listen to the happy music in the background and what the hero will do in the end.

If movies like Aladdin aren’t talked about, it will become our norm is listen to things like this and believe they are true.


Jojo Rabbit – A Nazi-Mocking Satire

Jojo Rabbit is a 2019 American movie that takes comedic drama to an unexpected place: Nazi Germany. Its protagonist, Jojo, is a young boy coming of age during World War II. His thoughts are revealed during conversations with his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. As a devoted German youth, he reveres Adolf, creating an imaginary version of his hero which is fanciful and absurd. Ultimately, when Jojo learns that his mother has been hiding a Jewish girl in their wall and is a member of the resistance, he has to come to terms with his allegiance to his country and the family he loves.

Aristotle defines comedy as a story of the rise in fortune of a sympathetic character, which in this case is Jojo. He is a young naive boy, blindly devoted to the Hitler of his imagination; his confidante who he leans on for advice and guidance. JoJo’s Hitler dances, jokes around and is lighthearted. When Jojo joins the Nazi Youth he realizes the imagined version of his hero is not the reality. He sees firsthand the brutality of the war and treatment of the Jews. At the same time, he forms a relationship with the teenage Jewish girl Elsa whom his mother has been hiding. He asks her to reveal her “Jew secrets” so he can write a book to please the Nazi leader Klenzendorf. While listening to her story he grows to like her, breaking down the Jewish stereotypes he has been taught. So, Jojo’s rise in fortune is not the monetary kind, but the enhancement of his moral character and perspective.

Jojo Rabbit encompasses every type of comedy. It is farcical in the way it depicts Hitler as a zany, comically absurd character. It is a romantic comedy with a budding relationship with likable young characters, who seem made for each other. It has strong elements of satirical comedy, in Jojo’s youthful admiration of Hitler as a superstar and in its portrayal of Nazis. It is clearly a black comedy that invites us to laugh at events that are horrifying and grotesque.

Jojo Rabbit is a meaningful dramatic comedy that enhances our understanding of a brutal time in history. It shows a different take on the Nazi youth mindset, and their blind devotion to Hitler. It also delves into the dark conscience of a child trying to make sense of his world, when everything is not as it seems and Hitler is not the hero he believed. Comedy makes the subject more palpable and easy to absorb. It juxtaposes the brutality of war, with the innocence of youth, through a comedic lens.

A Boy Trying To Be Part Of A Club

JoJo Rabbit is a coming of age film about a 10-year old boy at the end of WWII in Nazi Germany.  JoJo is a naïve boy who has been brainwashed by Nazi fanaticism (the movie begins on JoJo’s first day at a Hitler Youth camp), yet lives with his mother who–unbeknownst to him–is actually part of the resistance against the dictatorship.  Further eroding his beliefs, JoJo learns that his mother has been hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa, in their home, who JoJo befriends. Indeed, JoJo develops a “crush” on Elsa and realizes that his “beliefs” are completely misguided and incorrect.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL4McUzXfFI

The movie uses satire in many different ways. 

First, JoJo’s inner thoughts are manifested by an imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler.  However, the imaginary Hitler is played as a child-like buffoon, such that the dictator is seen as a representation of what evil really is–sad and pathetic.  Second, the Nazi followers are displayed as “over the top” fanatics whose unthinking devotion is made to look silly. For example, one female Nazi at the Hitler Youth camp notes that Germans are the most civilized people, and then says, “OK kids, let’s burn some books!”  Even the opening credits show actual footage of the blind appeal the German people had for Hitler, while the Beatles’ “Hold Your Hand” music (which also created similar hysteria) plays.

Jojo Rabbit displays a representation of the horrific time of World War II. Making this event into a satire ultimately does deliver the concept of the brutal events that occurred. It is interesting because most movies on this topic obviously have a very different tone to them. In the movie, there is a scene in which Jojo sees that his mother has been hanged for going against what the Germans thought was right. We see him crying and holding onto her legs. This moment in the movie reminds us of the terrible things that happened during the war and how it affected every person in some way.

Humble and Kind

I always listen to the song “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw in his album Damn Country Music, but I never noticed all the poetic devices in the stanzas of the song. The simplicity is something I find really intriguing about it. It was actually written by Lori McKenna, who was trying to portray a message to her five children about the things she wanted them to know. It is basic expectations for children and things they should follow in their childhood. There is a direct audience to children. It was written to be told to kids to teach them morals and things that will help them in life. The speaker is a parent or guardian giving advice to their children. There is no specific occasion in the song, though I would imagine a parent singing this song to their kid in their house. It is a simple song that broadens the importance of morals and doing the right thing.

Right off the bat, we see an example of a hyperbole in the first stanza.

When childhood stars shine,
I know you got mountains to climb
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’

These are examples of a hyperbole because they are exaggerations. Bitterness doesn’t really keep you from flying. Also, you can’t fly. You don’t really have mountains to climb, this is saying that you are going to have to overcome challenges in life. You don’t have stars that shine when you are a child,this is saying that when you are doing great in life and showing everybody what you can do, you will stand out to people.

The line “I know you got mountains to climb” is also an example of allusion. The line really means you will have goals to accomplish, which is an example of allusion because it is saying something but means something else. We see that many times in this song, which gives the song dimension by getting a point across without saying it clearly.

Another thing seen in this song is the use of symbolism. We see this in the second stanza of the song.

Go to Church ’cause your mama says to

Visit grandpa every chance that you can

It wont be wasted time

Always stay humble kind

This example of symbolism uses life situations like going to church and visiting your grandpa to represent doing the right thing in life. This adds to the meaning of the song by making children relate and think about doing the small things in life and how that will get them very far.

Personification is presented in this song as well. We see it in a couple of lines throughout the song.

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you

These are examples of personification because it is giving non-human things human characteristics. Dreams cannot really come to you and love cannot give you life. This makes the poem interesting by underlying things in life that can help you but not literally help you. These lines also dd to the theme of morals because they are pieces of advice for kids to take with them in life.

People Will Help You Get By

In the book Beloved a central theme of community is brought upon the reader when reading the book. Sethe finds a sense of self through her black community when escaping slavery. Baby Suggs comes into the equation by being such a vital part of this community, making her a main character in the book. As African Americans, Sethe and Baby Suggs feel isolated from many different communities in their lives. Creating this community allowed both of them to feel like they had a place somewhere and could not feel so isolated anymore. Even when Sethe is facing charges, her community helps her through the situation, provides her with a sense of relief. This makes me think about how the different communities in our lives can make us feel a sense of relief. Whether that be a community of playing a sport or attending some type of religious meeting, people can create communities that can help change peoples lives and perspectives. With community also comes power, which is seen when the community is rescuing Sethe. As a community builds, it gains power in some way, whether that is within that community or that power is brought outside of it, something is to be said about the things a community can create.

Why I “Trust” that these characters are similar.

When first watching the film Trust, I walked out of the lecture hall confused but in wonder of what would happen next. I then started to see patterns of how Matthew’s character related to Mersault. The part that really set off this idea in my head at first was when Matthew had the hand grenade with him at all times. I saw his view of life from the eyes of Mersault who also had a perspective of an existentialist.

But what really stood out to me in the film was the use of language and just overall how the movie was foreseen. I really thought of this movie as confusing, because the situations were things that would happen in real life, but how they were carried out seemed different to me. I especially thought conversations between Maria and Matthew were interesting. I noticed them interrupting each other and just when I didn’t think they had a strong connection, they were kissing and Matthew was proposing to Maria. Existentialism in the movie came towards the end when Matthew was going to blow up part of the factory and commit suicide. This showed that Matthew was impulsive like Mersault was. Both characters had their own flaws which it seemed they would both dwell on, therefore causing them to think of life negatively. Even though these characters are similar, the overall language of the two stories is very different, the book being more straight forward versus the movie keeping you guessing and in wonder of what exactly was going on.

The Beginning of The Book

At the beginning of the book, it was interesting how Mersault reacted to his mothers death. Looking back on the first chapter in the story, Mersault described how he felt a lot in his surroundings. It was rather weird when Mersault also did not want his mothers casket to be opened. Even though this is something that not all people do, Mersault acts differently in this situation, and gets annoyed when the caretaker will not leave the room. When someone asked Mersault how old his mom was, he answers vaguely because he does not know her exact age. I find this interesting because it brings up questions on their relationship before her death. I think from all of this in the beginning of the story we can see that Mersault is indifferent ti his emotions. It does not seem like he is sad or happy about his mothers death, but that he is indifferent to the situation at hand.

This creates confusion to me about Mersault and the way he acts in the rest of the book. I almost see all of this as foreshadowing. When first reading the book, I knew we were in for a ride with Mersault, because of the way he acted and interpreted the situation.

Hidden Under the Mask

In the story “A Secret Woman” by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, it is clear that there is a disconnect in the relationship between the husband and wife. When first reading the story, I was lead to believe that they had a solid relationship. This idea was created by the playful tone of the first few paragraphs in the story when the two are discussing the ball.

Soon after, a shift in tone occurs and we find out that the husband is under the impression that his wife is having an affair, “She’s here for someone, with someone. In less than an hour I’ll know everything.” (144). When the husband observes his wife further, he learns that she is going around and kissing multiple men.

While this gives a plot twist to the story, the thing that shocked me most was the way the husband described his wife at the end. He described her as having “a monstrous pleasure being alone, free, honest in her crude, naive state, of being the unknown woman.” (146). This brings up a lot of questions. Is he acting out of jealousy? Why would she want to be kissing other men in the first place?

He also hesitated and did not stop her when she was kissing the other man. It makes the reader wonder why he would not want to intrude, and if he was simply mad at her or was okay with letting her have her night of “freedom”. Through all of this, it is seen that the husband and wife have something wrong in their relationship, and it pulls you in and leaves you wondering what their background is as a couple.