Jessica Benjamin believes that love is facilitated through power dynamics in relationships. She explains many ways binaries can be seen in society and how the gender binary is the one that sets up the rest. Due to the fact that sex is the first indicator of who someone is when they are born, it sets people up to be seen as dominant or submissive in the gender binary and then in other ones as they grow up. She explains that one’s entire sense of identity is based on these binaries. These power relationships, whether binary or not, define people’s lives and make power central in everyone’s lives, ultimately contributing to people feeling like they lack fulfillment in their lives. She contradicts Freud’s ideas about one’s sense of identity revolving around their father’s role, also symbolizing society, law, and authority, in separating them from their mother. She argues that identity is found by making efforts to relate to others, rather than by separation but that society makes that difficult because of the way people are socialized. She explains that if people can accomplish this, mutual recognition is possible.
Benjamin’s theory can be seen across most aspects of life, from personal relationships to a global scale. In my life, it operates as all of my relationships feed into some sort of binary whether it’s the MALE/female one or something more specific like MOTHER/daughter. These all impact my ability to have autonomy and how I interact with others. According to Benjamin, if there wasn’t a difference of power in these relationships, I would feel like my life is more fulfilling. I agree mostly with this theory, lots of these binaries, especially more obvious ones such as gender and race can lead to a lot of oppression which is interwoven into all aspects of one’s life and can have many negative effects on someone’s life and their perception of it. Another example of this is binaries based on class, this can alter our perceptions of others and how we perceive our ability to impact their lives. Even if it is done out of sympathy, it can easily perpetuate the idea of dominance as we feel like their lives can be better because of our actions or charity.
For many years, we used the Blogger platform for the AP Lit blog. Since it is owned by Google, it integrates pretty seamlessly with your Google accounts — which made it easy to use, in some respects — but it is a very limited and bug-ridden platform. So this year, we have decided to construct a new class blog from scratch using the most more powerful and stable WordPress platform.
If you are interested, though, in seeing what past AP Lit students have been thinking and writing about, feel free to wander over to the old blog.
If you aren’t aware of what the SCP foundation is, it is a collaborative science fiction website which describes the secretive and fictional SCP foundation, a shadowy group dedicated to Securing, Containing, and Protecting so-called “anomalies” from the general public (Think men in black).
A short synopsis of SCP 5000 follows that somehow the SCP foundation, the ends-justifies-the-means protectors of humanity, have decided to exterminate all of humankind. The article goes into detail about one rogue agent named Pietro Wilson travel across the country and summarize in what horrible ways the foundation destroyed all resistance and what terrible monsters they have unleashed to finish the job. Eventually Wilson uses some time travel shenanigans to ‘save the day’ and prevent it all from happening in the first place.
The real story only begins after one looks at the source code for the website and cracks the secret code at the bottom of the webpage. Long story short it turned out that empathy, fear and pain core tenants of the human experience all exist unnaturally within humans, planted there by something else in an attempt to control people (although love and happiness are still natural). The foundation couldn’t “cure” everybody therefore the only logical option would be to erase every human off the planet that could feel pain, thereby preventing any human ever from experiencing pain of fear ever again. Because the foundation leaders were free from feeling bad about themselves, the decision was easy. To them, it was perfectly logical.
This logical analysis connects with The Stanger, wherein Meursault feels very little empathy and expresses almost no pain throughout the course of the novel. Even his mother’s funeral did nothing to him except make him complain about the heat. But this time he was the one to get killed.
Is it preferable to not feel pain, fear or empathy? For Meursault, he was free to enjoy swimming and sleeping and napping all without worrying about another person or even his own fate. Meursault was almost more free even in prison because he was not constrained by societal expectations for behavior or chained by remorse. This is similar to the future envisioned by the Foundation leaders when they decided to remove empathetic humans from the world. Their goal has always been the mitigation of human suffering, and with just one large burst of it they could have been rid of it forever, guaranteeing that every human being ever would be able to live without worrying about literally anything, just like Meursault.
Would you give up your empathy to never suffer again?
In part one of The Stranger, it becomes clear that the main character is not like the common main character. Camus’ Meursault differs from the stereotypical idea of a main character, lacking morals and emotions. Meursault disconnects from the world through his not pessimistic view of the world, but his “who cares” view. Putting together possible explanations as I was reading through the pages, I found a quote that, to me, was a correct way to view his personality. “Marie made fun of me because, she said, I had on a ‘funeral face’”(47). Some readers may look right over that comment, however it stood out in particular.
Throughout the previous chapters and the following chapters where that line takes place, it can be easily inferred that Meursault doesn’t understand and lacks knowledge about his surroundings. He walks into every room with a straight face and just agrees with what others around him are saying. Meursault struggles to locate his own emotions towards events, people, and places. Meursault acts as if he has no meaning or explanation to the everyday activities that he involves himself in, he just does them without any justification.
Immediately after starting the first chapter of part one, I could pick up that Meursault was not a character in books I have read about before. Following his mother’s death, he had no reaction whatsoever. The first thought and concern he had was whether his boss would be mad at him for leaving work. Whether he is just an unemotional person or leaning more towards lacking morals and social cues, it still didn’t sit well with me.
From the ending of part one, Meursault killing the Arab was just the beginning for the world and his “friends” to understand his lack of meaning and morals.
Meursault manages to go through his life without a care in the world, but not in a free spirited way. He doesn’t seem to feel any importance for anything or anyone. The simplest things he should immense emotions for don’t seem to phase him. Something as heart wrenching as losing a beloved parent only made him feel tired and annoyed with the people around him. Not once did Meursault show any kind of grief or even a small hint of sadness in losing his mother. The only thing Meursault seemed to care about was how good his coffee tasted as well as things such as the sun and lights bothering him. His mother was dead right in front of him and all he had to say was, “I like milk in my coffee” (8). He couldn’t even show empathy to his mother’s closest friend who came to her burial and fainted from exhaustion.
Secondly, something that was so blatantly wrong, such as abusing living things didn’t seem to affect Meursault one bit. The senseless beating of a dog and the way his friend bragged about beating his ex were like comments about the weather to Meursault. At least it appeared that way from his reaction. Not only did he completely ignore the savage beating of his neighbor’s innocent dog, but he greeted him with a good morning as he was doing it and kept on walking. His friend also mentioned how aggressive with his ex and the abuse that he was responsible for as well as intimate details of their relationship, to which all Meursault had to say was that he agreed. “He’d beaten her til she bled” (31), Meursault thought and he never gave his input, he just listened. The way Meursault almost subconsciously ignores all the important conversations and events that happen in his life, tells a lot about him. We don’t know much about his past but we know enough that his future is going to start getting rough if he doesn’t face things as they come.
I don’t know what it feels like to have real power. Someone with big money or big control over a lot of people is what a powerful person often has. The Cubs general manager, pretty much any politician even though they all suck, the great Elon Musk or a restaurant owner, they all have something in common which I’m sure you can guess: power. Something I’ve noticed about power is that it seems to be synonymous with influence. Someone who has money, relationships, connections or some type of leverage can influence people or a situation in their favor, effectively using their power to become more powerful. This brings me to my next point which is power is like money, its exponential. The more you have the easier it becomes to obtain more. All this sounds real nice but having power means you have responsibility, pressure and choices to make in order to stay in power. Again like money, going from $0 to 1 million is damn impressive but keeping your 1 million and going to 10 million is a whole different ball game and one that no one can play until you win the first game.
So to elaborate, Lear already got his 1 million and is now sitting with 10 million (AKA a whole lot of power) and yet decides to divide his kingdom because he is old and doesn’t want to deal with all the responsibilities. Again, he’s delegating the pressure, decisions, responsibilities of his power while hoping to maintain some power and control. What is he thinking? In every situation one must bring value in order to maintain their personal value to the situation. Lear is like a CEO of a company, hoping to maintain control while having someone else deal with all the headaches. You know what would happen to that CEO? The same thing that happened to Lear, he/she gets cut out. It’s the only logical thing to happen, if you are not bringing value why are you needed?
Lear experienced this the hard way but he learned something that in my opinion, can only make the powerful obtain more power. Empathy. Sitting in the rain after losing basically everything he feels for his people and their suffering. This is the sign of a truly great leader and someone who has the characteristics to be truly powerful. If you can feel the pulse or needs of your people and truly bring VALUE and help them, what’s stopping you from harnessing the power of the people? In business when your in touch with the consumer and bringing real value to the consumers needs, you win. The people have the real power and sometimes it takes feeling like an average joe to realize that.
In Act 3, Scene 4 of King Lear, Lear finally begins to show compassion. He does this only after he is stripped of all his riches. This makes me think about the society we live in today: To successfully put yourself in another person’s shoes, do you have to physically put yourself in their situation? Sure, rich royalty can be extremely caring and kind, but to best understand those who are homeless or lower in the hierarchy of society, I think one needs to be put in their position, and from the plot of the play, I think Shakespeare would agree.
Here is an example from my life:
I went on a school ecology trip to Costa Rica a couple years ago. I was not expecting our first destination: a run down house with bed bugs, little drinking water, no air conditioning, and extreme heat. This house was owned by a hard-working Costa Rican family who graciously welcomed us and were so kind and content with life. I was very humbled by this experience because it made me realize how fortunate I was to have all of the comfortable wants that this family didn’t have. Although they had very little, they seemed like the happiest family in the world.
This brings me to another thought: Do riches determine luck and happiness? King Lear had everything he could have asked for, and yet, he always seemed stressed and unsatisfied. The family in Costa Rica had nothing but basic needs and they were completely and entirely satisfied. I would argue that too many riches can actually make a person discontented; when one has all the riches in the world, there is nothing more to work towards, disallowing you to gain something more special than what you already have.
Yes, it is 100% possible for mutual recognition to be achieved with global others. It all starts with empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. One must put themselves in another persons shoes by shifting their perspective and thinking how the other would think. This is hard for a lot of people to do because humans are animals that all have survival instincts and whether we like it or not, those instincts make us selfish protectors of our own lives. 99.9% of humans would save themselves over someone else if such a situation arose. This selfish yet natural concept of self preservation is what I believe inhibits humans from achieving mutual recognition. It’s difficult for humans to empathize and help other people with their problems when everyone has problems of their own. Also, many people ask, “Why should I help someone else if I did nothing to contribute to their problems? It’s not MY responsibility.” This mindset is valid and reflects darwinism but it fails to factor in the uneven playing field of life and the people who were put into an unfortunate situation at no fault of their own. This is why empathy is required because everyone must be able to feel for other people and understand what they are going through in order to mutually recgonize.
In Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger, the main character Meursault appears to be very nonchalant and detached. He shows little emotion even at very major events. When his mother dies, he doesn’t cry, he doesn’t wish to see the body; the only thing occupying his mind is how he has a headache and wishes to take a nap, have a smoke, and drink some coffee. When he gets offered a job in Paris, he doesn’t show any emotion, only stating that he already has a job, why should he need a promotion?
In the TV show Sherlock, based on the famous novel series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock describes himself as a high-functioning sociopath. A sociopath is defined by Oxford as “a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience”. Sherlock is capable of communicating and making connections with people just as John Watson, hence the high functioning, however, he is nonempathetic towards societal norms.
Meursault is similar to Sherlock in the sense that he acts on his own accord, societal norms not influencing his behavior or decisions in the slightest. However, I believe Meursault exhibits behaviors more synonymous with a psychopath. Sociopaths are seen more as “hot-headed” and have a “rules be damned” mentality, while psychopaths are cold and calculating, and have violent tendencies. Meursault killing a man certainly falls under violent social behavior. Psychopaths are also more personally driven to act the way they do, while sociopaths are still impacted by society and are compelled to act not according to the unwritten rules. Meursault is detached from society in the sense he doesn’t even care about its existence. He simply exists.
This is just my current perspective, it’s completely subjective, and it definitely stems from self hatred and projection, so there is no real philosophical validity in my thoughts. Regardless, here they are: There is this thing called optimistic bias that overrides any potential validity to an existential argument. Claiming life in general is a gift is a very selfish mindset. claiming that the overwhelmingly incomprehensible amount of suffering on this planet is a gift just because you are alive is straight sociopathic. We all claim to look for the best in life while still wearing our “good person” hats just so we don’t have to accept the actual unbearable pain that others go through. The human ego is unbelievably disturbing and the internal reactions you have in reading this is proof. The feeling of, “oh but I’m not like that, I truly care” No you don’t. You feel empathy, yes, we all do, but you don’t truly care and I don’t truly care. My proof is that I’m here typing this and you’re here reading it when we both know this accomplishes nothing and helps absolutely no one but yourself (also myself) and your ego for thinking your perspective on the world holds some magical levity that makes you a good person. This isn’t calling out anyone in particular because it’s all of us. We simply cannot care about anything more than our own lives for survival. I am a hypocrite, we all are. The counter argument to this is that “you can’t just decide that for everyone.” And you’re right, I didn’t decide it, your biology and internal subconscious defense mechanisms did. Why did my parents have me? To give their lives meaning? Why do we all want to have kids? To give all our lives meaning? It’s selfish to ignore what’s going on and pretend you’re above your biology. It’s literally engrained into us to reproduce like every single animal on the planet, we just attach some “deeper meaning” to it because we don’t want to accept the fact that this decision was made for us when we were born. There is no reason to have kids that doesn’t involve the parents desires. But what if you want your kid to have a good life? What if you’re going to raise him well and give him a happy environment? This is where our ignorance comes full circle; there is still all the unbearable meaningless suffering in the world. It didn’t go away just because you were able to ignore it and focus on your kid. Again, I am not better than anyone. I suck as much as everyone else, but trying to force “self love” into my head as an excuse to not think about the truth in front of me is so conflicting. Yes! Amazing! Why didn’t I think of that? I don’t have to think about it all the time! I don’t have to constantly have the weight of suffering I could never understand on my shoulders because it’s not happening to me! I can stare at my phone and feel like a good person because I’m “against bad”. This article is meaningless, it accomplishes nothing. Our thoughts on how the world works and should be perceived are meaningless because of the infinite amount of experiences we’ve never had. I don’t know why I’m sharing this, It goes against the basis of what I’m saying, but it also goes with it as I also suck. I also think that my privileged view of how the world is meant to be perceived is correct. It’s something I can’t control and you can’t either. The ego hates to be wrong. It denies it but it absolutely hates it. At least our generation is wasting time online rather than having eight kids because they were bored. Moral of the story is I literally don’t know anything and your interpretations on the morality of the subject are completely valid as to pretend I understand anything is narcissistic; also, please adopt.
Life is short so it is important to focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t. The most important things in life are not our phones, TVs, new cars or big impressive houses and they can not be found at the bank. In reality the most important things in life are on a very short list. The most important things in life are our purpose, time, health and our relationships with others. You can have many material things in life and be a millionaire but nothing will fulfill you like those four things.
Purpose is our why. It was controls and fuels our actions. It causes us to be passionate about things. And it is involved in everything you do in life; work, relationships and our approach to living our lifes. It means living your life in an intentional way and it gives you extra meaning and a deeper sense of self.
Next is time. Everyone has the same amount of time in their day; twenty-four hours. But some people run around stressed complaining that they do not have enough time while others approach life in a relaxed state but still seem to get just as much done. Many people make poor choices when it comes to time management on a daily basis. Each time you say yes to doing something for someone else, you are saying no to doing somthing for yourself. Time is a fleeting resource, once it is spent you cannot get it back so it is very important to be selective with the time you have. This is difficult if you are spending your entire day doing school work for different classes or working multiple jobs. What you can do is find small pockets of time to invest in passions, projects and self care. Though your job may be to care for someone else, it is so necessary to care for yourself along the way.
Third is health. Many people take their health for granted until they have a reason not to. Many neglect to exercise and then find themselves wonderingwhy the struggle to climb up a flight of stairs. It is important to take care of one of the most important things in your life because anything could happen at any moment and take it away.
Lastly, in my opinion the most important aspect of life is your relationships. Many people lead very busy lives which causes them to think they don’thave enough time for relationships. However, that busyness is created by yourself. That means it is important to step away from it and focus on the relationships you are neglecting. Your friends, family and loved ones are what add meaning to your life. You MUST make time for these relationships. Being busy is fine if your busy with the most essential things in your life like your relationships.
Purpose, time, health and loved ones. These are the things that make life more complete so it is important to treat them accordinly
This summer I started watching the Avatar the Last AirBender series, which takes place in a world where people can bend the 4 elements; water, fire, earth, and air. It follows a group of friends helping an all powerful bender, called Ang, the Avatar. This story shows the kids powerful growth and strength as individuals, and lessons about choosing your own destiny. From this series the most powerful quote I can pull is from a wise character, “it’s time to look inwards and begin asking yourself: who are you? and what do you want?”
This series shares similar overarching greater human truths with Escape From Spiderhead. That which argues that humans are innately empathetic and are against conflicting pain on another innocent human. In this story we follow a group of teens who’ve committed crimes, and are sent to a facility that unethically performs out of body tests on them. Readers find the struggle in an unequal power dynamic, of the oppressed and oppressor. While the characters struggle with their emotions and inability to inflict pain on other patients. In the end of the story where Jeff refuses to give consent to take the drug and start the trial. This scene shows your ability to choose your own destiny and that the path our basic human principles (compassion and family) that we follow unknowingly. As Jeffs suicide to escape the system, lays way to a underlying greater human truth, that humans have a inhearit deposition to follow compassion.
Similarly the actions and tests all these characters face shows us how empathy and freedom drive humans. As both these stories fight for freedom from oppression, driving a final question to question. What side of the conflict are you on, good or evil? Additionally start wondering, are you following your destiny? Or someone else’s destiney for you?
Pappachi’s moth is introduced at the beginning of the novel. It is the moth that he discovered but he did not get credit for. His moth also marks the beginning of his abusive tendencies towards Mammachi. The moth represents his anger and the fear in others that accompanies his temper tantrums. It is said that Pappachi’s moth haunts the family, “tormented him and his children and his children’s children,” (24). But in a broader sense, the moth symbolizes any uncomfortable feelings in uncontrollable situations.
The moth becomes most prevalent for Rahel. In situations where she feels scared and out of control, Arundhati Roy places descriptive imagery to depict the moth landing, tiptoeing, and envolepoing Rahel’s heart. An example of this is when Ammu tells Rahel that when she hurts people, they love them less. Roy describes, ” A cold moth with unusually dense dorsal tufts landed lightly on Rahel’s heart. Where its icy legs touched her, she got goosebumps. Six goosebumps on her careless heart. A little less her Ammu loved her” (104). This is a scary moment for Rahel. Her mother just told her that her careless words made her love Rahel less. Especially for a child, that is very frightening and unexpected. Rahel doesn’t want her mother to love her less, and feels guilty, and so the moth lands on her heart to remind us of Rahel feeling insecure. The moth motif continues throughout the novel, and comes back at one of the most critical points of the novel as well, specifically when Esta and Rahel lose Sophie Mol to the river. Roy depicts, “On Rahel’s heart Pappachi’s moth snapped open its somber wing” (295). Again, Rahel feels unsure, scared, and as though she might have just killed her cousin. This causes the moth to come back. Another interesting thing about this passage is that it suggests that the moth never truly leaves Rahel, it just opens at certain times. This connects to the idea that Pappachi’s moth will truly haunt his descendants forever, never leaving their hearts. Finally, I would like to point out that the moth also seems to become present at times when Rahel is exposed to darker feelings and emotions. Feeling of abandonment and of fear of murder are not typical feelings small children have. The moth is there to guide Rahel into more adult feelings that contrast her normally childlike manner.
I would like to start off with my opinion of novel, and I must say, it was not necessarily a favorite. I think the imagery throughout the novel was nice, and I enjoyed how certain characters developed throughout the story. But many times I was left absolutely confused. I think that may have been intentional as questions I had were answered throughout the story, but I think it being written that was didn’t allow readers to truly make connections with the characters and their stories and personal struggles. My favorite character was Velutha, simply because he seemed to have the most depth in character in my opinion.
Although I was not the hugest fan of the novel, I liked how it highlighted the breaking of a number of societal norms, whether they were specific to Ayemenem or just in general.
The first one I noticed was the number of failed marriages. I think divorce is still something people feel ashamed about today (although they should not) and it was interesting to see that almost everyone that was once married in the novel was either divorced or had a terrible marriage (like in Ammu’s mother’s case). And despite it being common in her family, it was still not common in her community. The text states,
Within the first few months of her return to her parents’ home, Ammu quickly learned to recognize and despise the ugly face of sympathy. Old female relations with incipient beards and several wobbling chins made overnight trips to Ayemenem to commiserate with her about her divorce. They squeezed her knee and gloated. She fought off the urge to slap them. Or twiddle their nipples. With a spanner. (43)
Ammu was still treated as if her situation was terrible and incredibly unfortunate just because she was divorced.
Another societal norm that was broken in the novel was the idea of a loving and supportive mother. Ammu seemed anything but that most of the time. She obviously loved her kids, but her love for them was often volatile and detached. Ammu literally said that she “loved her children but their wide-eyed vulnerability and their willingness to love people who didn’t really love them exasperated her and sometimes made her want to hurt them — just as an education, a protection(pg 42).” I don’t really think that’s much of a nurturing mother way of thinking. And when she did things like shrug her kids off when they were embracing her, or telling Rahel she loved her less the epitome of a detached love that lacks insight on how her actions affect her children.
There is also the biggest societal role broken when Rahel and Estha slept together, which I really did not enjoy (but I’m sure that was the point). I was kind of expecting it as the book went on and highlighted their closeness and their “oneness.” But it was just so weird.
Typical examples of Orientalism, at least historical examples, seem to have a preoccupation with gender, power, and sex. In the interview with Edward Said, many paintings are shown depicting women in positions of sensual weakness, either being generally exposed or being aggressively handled by men. This idea of women being sexual objects to be used by men carries over into many of the more popular concepts in Orientalism. The concept of the harem, for example, is one where several women are in a sense owned by one central man and are used by him for sex, often existing in addition to the man’s wife or wives.
There is also the concept, popular in times of over conflict between the United States and the Middle East, of the ravaging Middle Eastern man sexually assaulting women and children in battle. This concept is not exclusive to Oriental/Middle Eastern stereotypes, but it goes hand in hand with depictions of Islam in Middle Eastern countries being one with female oppression and assault at its core.
Finally, I want to talk about the concept of Middle Eastern women being commodities not only for Middle Eastern men to consume, but for Western men to consume. Even in children’s films such as Aladdin, the main woman, Jasmine, is shown in clothing that is often associated with belly dancing. Belly dancing itself is largely considered sensual, centered around the movement of the hips. Its typical clothing involves a low-rise skirt and something to cover the chest, with flowing fabric that moves with the dancing. When Googling belly dancing in order to write this, I found YouTube videos with “sexy” and “hot” in the descriptions. I also found some Halloween costumes for children, which I don’t have much to say about as an intellectual point. Just thought it was weird.
What is up with this preoccupation with Middle Eastern people as either sexual objects or sexual aggressors? As to the sexual objects, I think it has something to do with how India and the Middle East were (and still are) viewed as commodities themselves. Colonialism views the world as full of things to be taken and owned. Often times, those things include people. White, straight men traveled around the world and took everything they possibly could. In a way, portraying these women as scantily-clad, sensual women that were regularly dominated by the men in their countries already made it seem as though they were asking for it. Asking to be dominated, abused, and owned by the white colonialists. For the men, I think it has something to do with similarly justifying the violence and ownership of themselves, their possessions, and their land. When we portray people as savages, less than human, it makes it that much easier to abuse their rights.
Hello all! This has been an interesting break from school to say the least. From reading the news about the spreading virus and its global impact, I thought that Edward Said’s novel, Orientalism, tied perfectly into the current state of the world.
Orientalism is essentially the lens in which the West looks through at the East. Throughout history, it has been seen that the East is portrayed as the “other”, seeming to be far different from Western society. Orientalism, therefore has made it very easy for prejudices in the West to be formed against the East.
We all are aware that Covid-19 can be traced back to Wuhan, China; with many sources pointing to the large animal market in the city as being the epicenter of the virus. At the beginning of the outbreak, when the virus was primarily only seen in Wuhan, I saw many disturbing posts directed towards marginalizing and blaming Chinese people. For example, there were images surfacing of a woman eating bat soup (presumably in China), and without even knowing the source of the photo I heard people were BLAMING the virus on that one woman/the people in China eating bat soup. In addition to this, The President also stated in one of his tweets that this was a “Chinese Virus”. Although yes, the origin of the virus was in China, placing such a name on the virus only leads to racism and discrimination! (There are many more examples of racism I saw online, these just stood out the most to me).
For starters, blaming anything on a group of people/race marginalizes that group from the “western” society we are used to. This in effect leads to mass racism. Asian-American’s are coming out online saying that non-Asian people literally walk away from them on the streets… as if they somehow automatically have the virus for looking a certain way? Unbelievable.
I have seen many people post and make racial jokes/comments about the virus, when most of the time, the people making the comments are simply not educated on the topic. It is heartbreaking to see this happening because this is a time when we all need to support one another. People are being hateful towards Chinese people without realizing all that the Chinese have done to try and minimize the spread of this virus. Instead of spreading hate during this difficult time, we should lift one another up and talk about all the good things that are being done around the world to stop this pandemic.
Overall, my question is: would the world look different if this virus originated in Italy? Would people be avoiding “Little Italy” as they were “China Town” in Chicago?
I hope everyone ruminates upon this, and thinks twice about a racial comment they may choose to say. The entire world is suffering, so again, let us take our orientalist glasses off, and appreciate all that is being done to help stop this virus.
“Groundhog Day,” directed by Harold Ramis, is the story of a cynical newscaster, Phil Connors, who lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where Groundhog Day festivities occur every year. After reporting on the groundhog, Phil goes to bed and wakes up again to Groundhog Day. His repeated Groundhog Day helps him to have a different perspective on his life and gives him a chance to make a better impression on his co-host, Rita. The main plot of the movie follows Phil as he tries to have the perfect day with Rita.
While “Groundhog Day” could be dismissed as a light-hearted romantic comedy, I think that this would be a very shallow look at this movie. On the surface, it may just seem to be a movie about when the guy gets the girl. I believe that one of the most important parts of this movie is the character development of Phil. He transitions from an unlikeable character to a very sympathetic character by the end of the film. In this way, “Groundhog Day” strays a little from the traditional comedy path. Aristotle’s definition describes a comedy as the rise of a sympathetic central character. “Groundhog Day” adds a layer to this definition, and takes an unsympathetic central character and makes him extremely likeable to the audience. Although this does not strictly follow the formal definition, I think that this progression makes the movie even more of a comedy. Not only is there a happy ending, but the fact that a sour character was able to change makes the movie overall more meaningful for an audience.
In this same way, this less conventional comedy sheds light on human nature. While some may think that a person’s character cannot be changed, I think this movie illustrates that a person can change for the better. After being a man a haughty and egotistical man, Phil eventually begins to shed his egotistical exterior, and works toward improving his life and those around him. Only after he chooses to use his life to love himself and those around them is he set free from the endless loop. This shows that anyone can change for the better, but also has a deeper meaning. I think that his loop and cycle could also represent any type of struggle someone is going through, and the way he dug himself out of his hole was through kindness and selflessness. I think this that message is incredibly important, and the fact that it can be delivered through what seems to be a light-hearted comedy is even more impressive and powerful. Giving people this important and uplifting message while also making them laugh makes this comedy a meaningful art form.
I never saw myself smile or laugh while watching a film about a tragic historic event that affected so many lives. With Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, a film about a Jewish Italian waiter (Guido) who falls in love with a women, eventually they marry and have a son (Giosue) . Then in turn of events the family is separated from each other and taken to concentration camps. The father focused to protect his son from the horrors of reality, he convinces his son that it is only a game and everyone is playing along. the film is set against the tragic backdrop of the Holocaust, but doesn’t focus on the tragedy. Benigni uses comedic elements, antics and humorous interactions, and physical gestures to bring comedy to the dark event.
Benigni use of noticeable physical gestures, humorous interactions, and antics. Benigni starts the first half of the film more lighthearted and romantic between two characters who eventually fall in love. But the audience is soon reminded that this movie is set in a tragedy under Mussolini and Nazi power.
The first comedic strategy Benigni uses is the interactions Guido has with his son Giosue, who doesn’t understand what’s happening around him. Benigni takes advantage of this and uses the knowledge of a child for comedic purposes. For example in the film, upon arriving at the prison camp, Giosue is confused why so many people are lined up, the father Guido explains that everyone is lined up because they can’t wait to get inside. Benigni is using the interactions between a son and father to express comedy in very tense situations in the film/
Another comedic strategy Benigni uses is Guido’s physical gestures throughout the film. Throughout the film Guido performs a goofy walk while being escorted by any Nazi solider. Guido performs this goofy walk because he knows his son is watching him. Guido needs to act funny to show his son that the situation isn’t serious. There are many physical gestures throughout the film that bring light to the situation.
Life is Beautiful is the perfect example of comedy because it focuses on bringing the Holocaust a very dark event in history into the light with comedic strategies.
Long time ago, I used to think only great tragedy like King Lear can give reader not only the impact of story but also some meaningful message. These messages transmitted by the miserable ending of those characters always make us think about the society or humanity. We empathize with the story, feel the power from it and make some changes about ourselves or the things around us. However, as I have appreciated some famous art works all over the world recent few years, I gradually recognized the appeal of comedy.
One of them I watched last year called Operation Love . It is a famous Japanese TV series. The story mainly tells a young man who is attending his best friends’ marriage ceremony looks at the slide show of their past and regrets. He believes the bridegroom should be him, but he never has the courage to transmit his feeling to her. He finds Rei(heroin) always kept a sad countenance in the photos which makes him feel even regretful. At this moment, a fairy occurs and gives him the chance to travel back in time and fix those sadness. The plot itself is not so amazing since it is a very classic time lapse. However, as you keep watching, you will probably get fascinated by Ken’s character. He is hard-working but also clumsy. In order to find Rei’s favorite coffee milk, he spent all his afternoon searching in the city. He knows he is a ordinary person, but he doesn’t follow the rules and is willing to take risks to accomplish impossibility. He looks very optimistic, but he is actually anxious and timid. Even though he has tons of weakness, he shows me what is the true persistence looks like.
As I noticed his efforts, I received a huge amount of courage from him. I tried to express my feelings more straightforward just like him. There is a famous joke came from this show which called Japanese run because Ken is always running in the story. He failed again and again during his time lapse and blamed on the destiny, but he finally speaks out his true voice. Except for pursuing his own love, he helped others during his trip as well. He once encouraged his friend who feels very inferior because of his height to confess his love manfully. What’s more, since he came from the future, he knew that Rei’s grandpa would die soon at that time. So he persuaded Rei to visit her grandpa and tell him her gratitude personally. This behavior made Rei eliminate her biggest pity in the future. The humor of the character, the exciting music, the sincere friendship and the pure love all make the Operation Love a literal great work. I learn so much from Ken and his experience. If a show can make an individual grows and has a better understanding of the world, that’s enough to call it “meaningful. ”
Get Out, a movie directed by Jordan Peele, is a satirical experience that intends to display the problems with racism in America. The movie’s main character, Chris Washington, is in a couple with a white lady named Rose Armitage. The movie begins on a very nice note, seeing Chris and Rose planning a trip to go meet Rose’s parents, with Chris portraying the first poke at racial problems in America. He asks Rose if her parents know that he is black, and she tells him that they won’t care, Chris is hesitant of this, but still decides to meet her parents. The movie continues and Chris and Rose finally arrive at her house, and her parents seem extremely excited to see him. Everything seems good on the surface, but it doesn’t take long for Chris to start realizing some of the oddities that occur. Some of these oddities include black “helpers”, who share a resemblance to slaves, to which the family sees no problem with. These “helpers” seem to act very odd when Chris interacts with them, and one even tells Chris to “Get Out” when a picture is taken. A very angry brother who seems to be mad at Chris for no reason, and a hypnotic mother who toys with Chris’ mind. As time goes on, Chris gets more and more fearful of the situation, and so does his friend Rod. Rod brings up the common archetype in movies that the black people always die first, and really begins to worry for his friend.
This is where the spoiler has to come in, because there is no way to talk about the movie as a whole without a spoiler of what happens. Of course, Chris is right about his fears about everything being too good to be true. The Armitage’s have an annual get together, full of white people, and they all seem very nice to Chris. There is a repetition of Chris getting informed that his physique is nice, and not just his, but physiques of all different types of black athletes. This of course makes Chris uncomfortable, but the caucasian people at the get together see no problem with it. Chris ends up wanting to leave, but Rose tries to convince him otherwise, as this happens, Chris’s friend realizes that one of the helpers is actually a man who was kidnapped a couple of months ago. At this point, Chris tries to leave himself, but unfortunately doesn’t make it out of the house. It turns out that there was something up the whole time, ) what a surprise) and Rose’s family lures black people to their house to make use of the “nice physique. They do this by surgically removing the brain of the african american, and putting the brain of the white person into the black person’s body. The movie ends with Chris killing the family members, escaping the house, and having a final standoff with Rose. In the final moments, with Chris bloodied and on top of Rose, a police car shows up, and Rose tells Chris that she wins, but Rod walks out of the car and brings Chris to safety.
There are many satirical moments in this book that poke fun at the common problems black people face today. Another form of humor used is hyperbole, which as a whole is displayed when Chris goes to meet his white girlfriend’s family. Normally, there is a fear of being in an interracial relationship, and not having your parents know. This is usually met with disagreement, but nothing of this extent. Another form of satire in this movie is when Rose’s family insists Chris meets all of their neighbors, and they all make the comment that “Black is in fashion again”. Of course they are talking about the clothing, or are they? Another form of satire is on display at the end, when the police car pulls up with Chris on top of Rose. All viewers were immediately filled with sadness as soon as this happened, knowing the situation that will unfold, despite all of Chris’s efforts to make it out alive. Only for Rod to step out of the car and save Chris.
These scenes are all different ways in which Jordan Peele tries to display the different problems with racism in America in this age. I think that some of the underlying themes of this are
There is a want for the assets that black people possess, although this movie displays it in an overexaggerated way, this is still true nonetheless. An example of this in real life is the recent exposure that black culture has been getting, and the term “culture vulture” that has been coined to white people.
Another form of satire is one that I touched upon earlier, which is when the police rolled up at the end. Rose tells Chris that he is screwed, and that the police will believe her, only for it to be Rod. Although it was Rod, if it wasn’t Rose would probably be right, and in this situation, no matter what Chris says, he will be the one in trouble for what happens. This occurs in today’s society, the black person is often the first one suspected when it comes to crime, and the one who will be incarcerated.
The problem with interracial relationships today. This was an exaggeration, but in the beginning you see Chris and how tense he is that her parents still don’t know that he is black.
This clip shows Chris’s friend, it is a funny clip, but it does a good job showing the fear that a black man has when it comes to problems like this.
These are only a few reasons that display why Get Out was not only funny, scary, and interesting, but also extremely moving, and capable of showing the many problems with America today