Orientalism in Aladdin

Orientalism is a misunderstood problem that has led to a false representation of Asai and Africa and the cultures surrounding them. The group of people misrepresented the most by orientalism are people from the middle east area. People from Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen all have to live with stereotypes placed on their heads through orientalism. In a large majority of films and books, the story’s antagonist comes from some Islam militia terrorist group located in the middle east. This has spread to Africa as well through groups like Boko Haram. Think back to any movie you have ever watched, or any book you have ever read, and try to think of an example where the bad guys or the people portrayed as evil in the story are not Muslim or African. It’s difficult, isn’t it? and near impossible when discussing films from a long time ago. These constant stereotypes have led Muslim people, the Islamic culture, African people, and African groups and cultures to be seen as over-aggressive and dangerous.

A good example of orientalism can be found in the film Alladin. When a middle eastern woman was asked how she felt Alladin represented her culture, she said she throuroughly enjoyed the original film from 1992, but when it came to the remastered disney version, she had the following to say, “Is it messed up that I’m happy Disney has traded explicit racism for cliched exoticism? Is that really the bar they had to clear for me to be happy” she was clearly unhappy with of inacurate disneys representation of her culture was. She went into further discussion of the movie and how Disney failed to hire actual Middle-Eastern actors in both movies. That people of different cultural backgrounds are not interchangeable and simply reinforces Orientalist ideas and erases culture and history. Agrabah, which is the name of the fictional town for the movie, is based off Middle Eastern, Islamic, and Asian aspects and cultural identities. Within the opening song the lyrics describe the town to be “where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home”, essentially describing the people of these cultural backgrounds to be barbaric and uncivil. Another point to be made was that the main characters, Aladdin and Jasmin, are both wearing clothing from different countries with Aladdin wearing a Turkish Fez and Jasmine with Indian shoes.

Orientalism is all around us, in films, books, story’s, and many other places. It is a problem that has been rooted deep in our society for many years, and is now something hard to get rid off. The false representation of Asai and Africa and the cultures surrounding them has lead to negative connotations surrounding them and giving people the wrong idea of these cultures.

From Good Guy to Bad Guy

Throughout the entirety of The Tragedy of King Lear, there is one character who stands out, who is always unpredictable and coming up with new ways to surprise us and because of that he is my favorite character, that character is Edmund.

Edmund shifts from someone you feel sympathy for early in the story, to one of the evilest and most cunning characters in the story. Edmund backstabs so many people he is close to throughout the story that one would think he enjoys doing it. Early in the story we are introduced to Edmund as the illegitimate bastard son of the Earl of Gloucester. Edmund is mistreated and is not in Gloucesters will, because he isn’t his real son but Edmund sees this as unfair. Edmund complains about his mistreatment, but when he realizes nothing will change, decides to take matters into his own hands, and begins to turn evil. Edmund delivers a soliloquy describing his plan to get himself into his fathers will. Edmund decides to write a forged letter undermining his brother Edgar who is Gloucesters real son. The contents of the letter include plans to murder Gloucester. Edmund presents this letter to Gloucester, tricking him into thinking Edgar wrote the letter. Gloucester responds by calling Edgar a traitor and wanting him captured or dead, and by removing him from his will which allows Edmund to slip into it making his plan a success while having no regard for his father or brother who he is tricking. Later in the story Edmund reinforces this lie by starting a fake sword fight with Edgar, when he hears Gloucester approaching he convinces Edgar that it is in his best interest to run away which Edgar does, Edmund then cuts himself and shows his injury to Gloucester who sees the injury, along with Edgar running away, further tricking both his father and brother for his own benefit. At the end of the story, Edgar gets his revenge by slaying Edmund in a bloody battle, but this is just one example of how versatile Edmunds character is.

Edmunds character is a rollercoaster throughout the story and this is reiterated again through the love triangle he has with the sisters Goneril and Regan. He decieves them both until they are both going crazy and fighting over him which ends up leading both sisters to there inevitable death. Edmund is the most unpredictable character in King Lear which is exactly what makes him my favorite character. There is no scene in which Edmund is involved that can be considered boring.

Edmund is a dynamic and static character, his intentions stay mostly the same, but his acting and situations he is involved in change. His goal remains to sabotage Edgar with the forged note throughout most of the story, but he changes from an innocent son, to a liar, to a manipulator, until he is finally slayed by his brother Edgar. It’s these changes in character that make Edmund the most fascinating character in King Lear.

The Bigger Picture

Is it possible for music to be poetry? to find the answer to this question we must first find out what poetry is by definition. According to Perrine, poetry can be listened to by all sorts of people, he also says that “poetry may be defined as a kind of language that says more and says it more intensely than does ordinary language”, which is exactly what music can be about, in music people say things with intensity to get through to people, this is exactly the kind of language used in The Bigger Picture.

The Bigger Picture is a song written and performed by Lil Baby, the song is titled this because in The Bigger Picture Lil Baby raps about the social unrest in America and his frustrations with people being put in a box of stereotypes based on their skin color. The song was released after the George Floyd incident occurred and talks about systemic racism while bringing to light other issues as well, the song mainly highlights the racial tensions between black and white people and it does so in an intellectual way. For instance Lil Baby raps, that he is the type of person who judges individuals by their

“mind and heart”

and not by their “faces”, signifying that the color of your skin is irrelevant to what kind of person you are. Ultimately, the title means that he is not color blind or the kind of person who stereotypes people, rather he sees the “bigger picture” as in viewing the aforementioned social ills from a microcosmic perspective.

There are many reasons that “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby can be labeled as poetry, first of all in the song, Lil Baby is talking about a deeper meaning that you may only understand after listening to it multiple times, second of all, the song has an abundance of figurative language, and 3rd, there is no lack of emotion behind the lyrics whatsoever. This is because when referring to the George Floyd incident, Lil Baby says

“I guess that mean hold him down if he say he can’t breathe”

which he then relates to his own personal experience of when police made judgments about him based on his skin color.

Throughout the 4 minutes of the entire song, you can hear the anxiety in Lil Baby’s flow and his 3 verses. He unfolds his feelings and empathy surrounding the racial injustice that he’s seen throughout his life. Some of the most striking lines of the song include

“Throw us in cages like dogs and hyenas”

this line is a simile and is striking because it shows how people of colour are treated nowadays, as if they’re not human.

“You can’t fight fire with fire”

is a cliche and shows how this is all played out and we’ve seen it before but it keeps happening because there is no change. Finally there a metaphor,

“These scars too deep to heal us”

this metaphor shows that the damage that has been caused by this treatment has long lasting effects that’d be extremely hard to resolve. Overall, the song The Bigger Picture by Lil Baby has an abundance of figurative language, plus a deeper meaning when it comes to judging people by stereotypes and by the color of there skin instead of there “mind and heart”, this is why this song can pass as poetry.

Do Nadia and Saeed share true love?

This is an idea that develops throughout the story, the first encounter they have is after their class when Saeed asks Nadia to have a coffee with him in the cafeteria and she rejects him, he tries his luck again another day and this time she agrees, they find out multiple things about each other like why Nadia wears the black robe or that she doesn’t pray and lives alone which is uncommon for a young woman. She learns that Saeed still lives with both his parents and usually prays with his father while his mother prays alone at home. Slowly and naturally they grow closer and see each other more often, and it seems like they both share an attraction for each other. So much so that Nadia accepted a promise from Saeed’s father to stay with him and protect him until he was safe as they plan to leave their unnamed city to get somewhere safer through the magical doors.

Throughout their time in Greece, they get along well and again grow together emotionally, they do not fight or really argue and don’t show any signs of losing feelings for each other. Saeed is very protective of Nadia as well. The tension builds when they arrive at the palace in London, Saeed becomes worried about their safety and lashes out at Nadia, most notably when she takes her time in the shower and Saeed yells at her for taking so long in a residence that doesn’t even belong to them, Nadia doesn’t understand his frustration but also doesn’t want to start an argument with Saeed so she lets it go, she then finishes up in the bathroom and exits wearing just a bathrobe which upsets Saeed again, “you can’t just wear that” he says to which this time Nadia responds saying that she can wear what she wants, again she does not want to start an argument with Saeed but cannot help herself as she feels the need to stand up for herself. That night they sleep in the only bed together but don’t talk, touch, or even think of each other.

When they wake up they agree that they need some time apart o get some alone time so even though it is dangerous to be out alone they spend the day apart and then come back together again at night, they quickly enjoy their time together more at night when they don’t see each other all day. They have a nice moment where they promise not to talk to each other in a nasty way anymore.

Now, this brings me to my question, are Nadia and Saeed getting frustrated or tired of each other? And are they only still together because of Nadia’s promise to Saeed’s dad? Or is there arguing and frustration with each other a normal part of a relationship that is still being worked on, and once they work through it (if they do) will their true love shine through, or was it never there?

Why is Meursault so emotionless?

The novel starts with Meursault preparing to attend his mothers funeral, a very sad time for any person, but surprisingly Meursault doesn’t seem to bothered at all. When I first read the opening pages, I actually had to re read them to make sure that I was understanding the story correctly. I simply could’t understand how Meursault could be so indifferent the weekend of his mothers funeral and during the funeral itself. This lack of emotion, sympathy, and awareness Meursault displays in the beginning of the story is something that you get to know as Meursaults character throughout the Stranger. As the prosecutor states multiple times during the trial, Meursault did not shed a single tear during his mothers funeral, in fact his demeanor didn’t even seem sad, as stated by multiple witnesses. His explanation for this is that “no one had the right to cry over his mother’s death because she was ready to live her life all over again”.

Meursault portrays this lack of emotion when he kills the Arab. He acts without thinking, but then shows no remorse, sympathy, or understanding of the repercussion for killing the man, nor did he have any reason to do so. Context clues from the story hint that Meursault understands what he did but for some reason feels no remorse or guilt, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by jail, or the fact that he can no longer see Marrie which also further proves he never had an emotional connection to her because he has no emotions. Even when he is sentenced to death by the judge, he doesn’t seem bothered, he even has it in him to say that he hopes people show up at his execution and greet him with cries of hate, he says “I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.” This is the last sentence of the book, why does Meursault hope to be hated by the spectators of his execution, when throughout the entire novel he couldn’t care less about other people’s opinion on him?