Is It Orientalist?

Keeping in mind that “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” is a Bhutanese film, filmed with Bhutanese actors, by a Bhutanese director, it takes a different approach to search for orientalism in the plot. Unlike a very capitalist-driven society like we have in America, Bhutan is known for measuring its success not numerically, with products produced and sold, but in happiness. The film’s narrative seems very much to be based on this philosophy; forcing Ugyen to adapt and find his own happiness in Lunana. Because of this, it is hard to argue that the film is innately orientalist, at least more than anything else is in an unfortunately Eurocentric world.

For example, Ugyen dreams of being a famous musician in Australia and initially thinks that his transition to Lunana will jeopardize that opportunity. However, he soon realizes that music is valued in a similar, if not even deeper way in Lunana than in the more urban communities he is used to. Even using a critical eye, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” seems to be a very pure and honest movie, looking to spread a holistic message about community and connection. In some ways Ugyen is a yak for Lunana, but Lunana is a yak for him, being a pivotal part of his life that he will never forget and that will have a larger impact on his future, as we end up seeing when he plays the Yak song in Australia.

Cordelia and Her Father

Cordelia, the youngest daughter of Lear, is actively portrayed to be the most morally correct character in the play. While it’s true that she doesn’t plan to poison her siblings or gouge out anyone’s eyes, she happens to share a few traits in common with Lear himself.

Lear is known for his extreme pride, the pride that he feels cannot be taken away from him. Cordelia has this same pride, hence why she refuses to declare her love for him. She is too prideful to admit her love, her father should just know it. Cordelia chose not to trade love for power over herself, “I am sure my love’s more ponderous than my tongue”(1.1.59-60), something very reminiscent of her own father’s attitude.

The uniqueness of Cordelia’s role in the play is very different from that of Regan and Goneril. While the older sisters are seen taking over traditionally “masculine” roles and being more aggressive figures, Cordelia is never shown with these mannerisms. She is more portrayed as a leader, one willing to leave behind her husband to defend her father’s honor. “Tis known before. Our preparation stands. In expectation of them. O dear father, It is thy business that I go about. Therefore great France My mourning and importuned tears hath pitied”(4.4.23-26.). Although we only see Cordelia in the beginning and end of the play, the watcher or reader is left hoping for her survival, rooting for her as she is the only sister that seemed to truly love her father.

A Fine Line of Meaning

When Harry Styles released his second studio album, most expected it to be the same type of music as his first. Slow, British rock, with a hint of pop. However, Fine Line was anything but expected. Even with how much more vibrant it was than the first album, it closed off with a 6 minute, melancholy finale, the namesake song for the album. While many of his other songs are pop-focused, “Fine Line” is a stand-alone piece of poetry. The song only has two main verses, but they are jampacked full of meaning. “Fine Line” takes a stab at analyzing the fine line between love and hate, or even more so, the fine line between entering a relationship and leaving one.

Put a price on emotion

I’m looking for something to buy

The song begins with a bold statement, making the listener wonder if there is a price on emotion, and how is it bought, even metaphorically. A reoccurring theme throughout the song, the speaker is struggling with finding the right way to go about love. This is almost a personification of a feeling, it could also be seen as a metaphor. Is love something that can be bought? And what is the cost?

My hand’s at risk, I fold

This is objectively the most meaningful line, or at least most poetic, in the whole song. To view its meaning as an allusion to gambling, like love being dealt like a hand of cards, it emphasizes the risks that come with love. To view this line as a metaphor of love, would be like saying that the second love is a risk, or a relationship is at risk for the speaker, they shut down and don’t know how to respond. This song uses lyrics as poetry to convey, or characterize, what the essence of love is and how easy it is broken.

What is Trust?

“I feel lost inside myself”

Trust holds much meaning. To feel trust towards someone is almost akin to feeling love. The movie “Trust” is an exemplary example of this comparison. To feel lost in life, but to then find someone who shares that same sense of hopelessness, a partner with whom you can put your trust in. Maria and Matthew are both lost; they don’t share the same predicament, only the feelings that result from them. When they find one another, it seems like they won’t work at first, like they are both too “broken” to balance each other out. However, exactly the opposite occurs. The two people that feel as if they are in an inescapable, sorrowful pit of despair find someone who feels the exact same way, making them feel less alone.

“People do strange things sometimes, when they feel hopeless”

The movie is one big trick. Once Maria and Matthew realize the mutual benefits they provide to one another, it is too late. They found each other at the right moment, but it wasn’t meant to last. From the very beginning, their outlooks on life differed too much, their values clash. They bonded over their shared anguish and desperation towards themselves and their lives, but that is all it was meant to be.

Sensitivity and Discomfort

One of the most intriguing aspects of The Stranger, is the amount of discomfort the story exudes. Simply put, it is not a happy story. While Meursault seems to be relatively secure in his outlook on life, an outlook that is inherently strange, he also is in a constant state of discomfort in one way or another. Throughout the entire story he is, in a way, targeted by the sky and its heat. The differing sensations from how hot it was or what color the sky was seems to play a huge role in his decision making. Even at his happiest, like when he is at the beach with Marie, the color of the sky sticks out to him, representing his emotional state, “I had the whole sky in my eyes and it was blue and gold” (20). Somehow, the sky seems to be the reason he attacks the Arab man in the first place, “The sun was the same as it had been the day I’d buried Maman, and like then, my forehead especially was hurting me, all the veins in it throbbing under the skin. It was this burning, which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me move forward” (59).

Meursault feels some sense of comfort being around women like Marie, however he gets uncomfortable when she shows any emotion, he doesn’t know how to respond. He feels comfortable around his friends, such as Raymond, but he gets uncomfortable with making his own, conscious, decisions. So, while Meursault seems content in his lifestyle and personality, he also expresses discomfort in so many situations (even unknowingly) that it makes it hard to agree with many of the decisions he makes.

The Fraud

Monsier Meursault is written to have as little empathy as possible. He treads lightly over every conversation, refusing to attach meaning to his words, even with the prospect of marrying Marie: “I explained to her that it didn’t really matter and that if she wanted to, we could get married” (41). Marriage is ” serious thing”, as Marie puts it, that he just brushes off like it is nothing. While Meursault doesn’t seem to feel much of anything, he tends to attract those who feel a lot. Marie, who after only a little time spent with Meursault has her heart set on marriage; Celeste, a friendly restaurant owner with plenty more social skills than Meursault; and Raymond, an outgoing fraud and Meursault’s future downfall.

The first impression the author gives of Raymond, is that he is a cold-hearted abuser. An outright contrast to Meursault’s timid personality, he hires women to be his mistresses, and when he believes they are cheating on him, “He’d [beat] her til she bled” (31). He makes clearly immoral decisions that Meursault is seemingly ambiguous to, like writing letters to provoke and threaten his mistress. Even though Meursault appears to be quite amoral and maintains a blind eye towards Raymond’s actions, even testifying against his abuse, he does seem to enjoy being relied upon: “[Raymond] announced ‘Now you’re a pal Meursault’… [and] I didn’t mind being his pal, and he seemed set on it” (33).

Raymond is very much full of himself. He sees nothing wrong with how he acts, and tries to appear tough, like he is performing an act of service by taking Meursault under his wing and drawing him into conflict. Much like Raymond is intrigued by Meursault’s peculiar behavior, Meursault is pulled in by Raymond’s outgoing, unapologetically immoral personality, and ability to make quick, rash decisions. However, as we soon find out, this partnership is not in the best interest of Meursault.

During the altercation with the Arab men, Meursault has no obvious opinion besides wanting to exit the situation entirely. However, he is forced even farther into it when he is handed Raymond’s gun. Despite his constant threatening to “take him on man to man and…let him have it” (56), Raymond shies away from the conflict and flees. This is the very moment that results in murder. By simply handing the gun to Meursault, Raymond is the catalyst for the events that follow.