The Man’s Desire for Money

During the summer, I had the pleasure of reading Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The story follows two sisters named Constance and Mary-Katherine Blackwood. They live with their paralyzed Uncle Julian in their late father’s house. They live in their own little world ignoring reality and their money-hungry town. The rest of their family is dead.

Constance and Merricat (Mary-Katherine) keep their father’s money in a safe that sits in his study. While their late father had managed the money, Merricat states, “I was not allowed to open the safe where Constance kept our father’s money. I was allowed to go into the study, but I disliked it and never even touched the doorknob” (83). In contrary to their father, the sisters disregard the importance of money completely.

It is until their cousin Charles arrives, the sisters are introduced to greed and capitalism.

When Charles finds Constance and Merricat’s father’s gold watch chain in a tree, he is shocked that a valuable item could be mishandled and forgotten about:

“In a tree,” he said, and his voice was shaking too. “I found it nailed to a tree, for God’s sake. What kind of a house is this?

“Its not important,” Constance said. “Really, Charles, it’s not important.”

“Not important? Connie, this thing’s made of gold.”

“But no one wants it.” (77)

While Constance and Merricat ignore money, their male relatives take an obsession to wealth. Throughout Charles’s stay, he is insistent on finding the safe and the girls’ money. Their safe takes the place of the capitalist patriarchy of America. Charles and the rest of the world are addicted to money, so when safe remains in a house where no one cares about money, its a success for the sisters over a world that embodies masculinity and capitalism.

If the Blackwoods’ masculinity relies on their wealth, and Constance and Merricat reject the desire for money, they have destroyed the Blackwood men and their oppression.

Power in “Dry”

This summer, for my summer reading book, I choose to read Dry, by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman. This book, set sometime in the future, details the events following a massive drought and subsequent water shortage in California.

Throughout the book, the authors illustrate the power dynamics at play within this water shortage. Those who have water have the power; those who do not are at the mercy of those who do.

While this is a central and reccuring theme throughout the book, it is most clearly demonstrated in Chapter 18, regarding a character named Henry. While everyone scrambles for the little water left in the area, Henry has a stockpile of water bottles in his home, and has been trading this water to his neighbors in return for expensive items. Henry holds all of the power in these negotiations; he does not need his neighbors’ items, but they need his water. When one of his neighbors makes a deal he doesn’t like, Henry acts as if the negotiation has ended and says, “If you’re not serious about this, I’m gonna have to ask you to leave” (Shusterman 188). Instantly, the neighbor scrambles to give Henry what he wants, so that he can gain access to the precious water Henry has to offer.

Henry and his negotiations are just one example of the power dynamics that play out throughout the book. Dry is an example of how important systems and dynamics of power are to storytelling, and how nearly every story is connected to power structures in one way or another.

The Belles: How social media can affect self esteem.

In the novel, The Belles, Dhonielle Clayton explored the way that people viewed themselves through the world of the belles. Since the world needed the belles to help correct their physical flaws, the belles were constantly covered in the news. The news in this world, however, was not factual news. The news was all gossip and rumors. “Lady Francesca Carnigan, of House Helie, rumored to have a beauty addiction. Queen might lift sailing restrictions, opening kingdom to trade. Some hair textures don’t catch the beauty- lantern light” (44). This newspaper is very similar to the way that social media works today. Many times, social and beauty standards are assumed from what famous people post online. This newspaper is exposing that about our society with these rumors and trends that nobody could ever keep up with. So the underlying message of the story is to just be yourself, and do what makes you feel beautiful, not what others think.

Sylvia Vs. Miss Moore

In “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara, Sylvia and Miss Moore have an odd relationship. Miss Moore seems to fully recognize Sylvia and the kids as individuals but Sylvia does not. In the story, Miss Moore calls the kids by their first names rather than their nicknames (111 & 114). Calling someone by their own name is special and defines their identity. She treats them as human beings rather than as delinquents or trouble makers as others might. Even though Miss Moore is anything but rude to the kids, they still treat her awfully, especially Sylvia.

One can tell from the beginning that Sylvia has lots of contempt for Miss Moore when she thinks, “I’m really hating this nappy-head bitch and her goddamn college degree” (110). This disrespect is expressed again when Sylvia thinks, “… though I never talk to her, I wouldn’t give the bitch that satisfaction” (113). Sylvia probably does not have much power in her life, being a poor, black girl, so she acts rude and bossy trying to maintain any sort of power/control she can get. However, Miss Moore constantly attempts to break down this power struggle by treating Sylvia properly and not putting her down. Miss Moore strives for mutual recognition while Sylvia wants to remain in control.

How are they trapped in the spiderhead?

While reading the story “Escape from spiderhead” I was truly shocked while reading the story. The whole idea that they were stuck in a science experiment because they were criminals or did wrong in their life was interesting. For example, Jeff was a criminal and he told the story about his crime ” Nearby was a brick. I grabbed it, glanced Mike in the head with it”(77). We also never knew exactly what were all the crimes each person committed. There were a lot of questions about the story that we did not get the answer too. Like how long they would be in this experiment ? Does jail even exist anymore? But having all these unanswered questions made you think about the story more when you were done reading the story. But I love a good ending where all the ties are wrapped together and I get all my questions answered.

Jeff’s Stockholm Syndrome

In “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders there seems to be a sort of Stockholm Syndrome scenario between Jeff and Abnesti. Instead of going to “real Jail”, Jeff’s mother paid for Jeff to go to Spiderhead. However, this might not have been the best choice because Spiderhead is deceivingly an evil institution. Jeff seems to adopt a friendship with Abnesti and have a pleasant time at Spiderhead. Jeff knows that he is a prisoner, but he is manipulated by Abnesti without knowing. This can be seen when Abnesti tells Jeff, “You know me … how many kids do I have … what are their names” (68). At that moment Abnesti tries to persuade Jeff into hurting Heather by bringing up their “friendly” relationship. Abnesti attempts to build a connection so Jeff remains complicit. Another reasong Jeff falls for Abnesti’s tricks is because Abnesti creates a false sense of security by leaving the door to Spiderhead unlocked, remembering birthdays, and giving medicinal creams to Jeff. Abnesti tries to seem like a friend to Jeff but he sees Jeff as a criminal, like all of the other “participants”, and could never truly be friends with Jeff. Abnesti believes he is the outstanding citizen while Jeff is just another low life criminal.

Towards the end, Jeff starts to realize that Spiderhead and Abnesti are corrupt. When Verlaine mentions that he refreshed Jeff’s MobiPak, “While he was sleeping”, Jeff starts to understand that he his a prisoner and tries to break out of Abnesti’s hold (66). Jeff tries to be a good person but Abnesti refuses to let him. Abnesti manipulates Jeff into giving Heather Darkenfloxx but the results push Jeff to his limit. Jeff finally escapes from Abnesti’s evilness, when he kills himself on Darkenfloxx, not wanting to kill again.

Escape from Spiderhead-Relating it to life.

Throughout Escape from Spiderhead, the story mentioned some very thought provoking ideas that apply to the lives of both those in the story and the readers. A quote that really stuck with me was towards the end of the story, “At birth, they’d been charged by God with the responsibility of growing into total fuckups.” (79). This quote was very striking to me. They way that it challenges an idea that we often hear while growing up made made me think whether it is true, or just something that we are told as kids. A predetermined destiny is often something that we are not taught. While growing up, we are taught that we can accomplish anything that we want if we work hard enough. And while this may be true to a certain extent, hard work can only go so far, some people are dealt with bad cards and it is nearly impossible to turn them into a winning deck. All of the people in Escape from Spiderhead study were ex-convicts. While we do not know all of their stories, it can be questioned if they were all determined to end up in this life, or if other things are factored in. Jeff was only nineteen when he killed his Mike (76), was Jeff born a killer or did he just get too angry and aggressive in that moment. Many moments in this story make you think deeper into the story.

Autonomy and Power in “Escape from Spiderhead”

Spiderhead, as an establishment, is inherently about power. Abnesti tries to make himself seem like a hero, like he is working towards a greater public good. When he explains to Jeff the new drug they are developing, he talks about the ability to stop wars, help people find love, etc. But it is clear that it is not these results that he necessarily cares about, but rather the control that this gives him. He tells Jeff, “‘No longer, in terms of emotional controllability, are we ships adrift. No one is. We see a ship adrift, we climb aboard, install a rudder'”(58).

In this way, he admits that it is power, rather than conflict resolution, that they are actually after. This is reinforced in the way that Spiderhead functions – with Abnesti and Verlaine in control of all of the prisoners at Spiderhead. This power dynamic is recognized by the prisoners trapped in Spiderhead. The use of the word “acknowledge” implies that there is no real choice for these prisoners. When Jeff begins resisting the commands of Abnesti and Verlaine, they have systems in place to ensure his compliance. The prisoners at Spiderhead lose autonomy as a punishment for their crimes. Upon first read, Spiderhead seems very different from any prison we, as readers, are familiar with. But one has to wonder: is that really the case? Or is the power struggle and lack of autonomy as described here a part of our prison systems?

The Remote in Escape from Spiderhead

Escape from Spiderhead is all about power dynamics and binaries. There is a very clear power dynamic from the very beginning: Abnesti is in the position of power, and Jeff is required to submit to him. This power dynamic is reinforced by the technology of the world in which the story is set, as it states early on in the story, “Abnesti used his remote. My MobiPak whirred” (45). Abnesti has the control in this situation, because he has the remote. As the story continues, we see the way that Abnesti exercises his power over Jeff and other subjects and finally, at the end of the story, Jeff takes back power by using the remote himself. The remote in this story is a tangible representation of the power dynamic regarding Abnesti, Jeff, and the others.

Baby Kochamma’s role in The God of Small Things

Baby Kochamma is an essential character to understanding the impact of social status and class on the characters in the novel, The God of Small Things. Baby Kochamma has always strived to belong in the highest social class possible. Her image is extremely important to her which is why she needed to have Velutha taken out of her life when she found out about Ammu’s affair with him. Her pure Syrian Christian niece was not allowed to have an affair with an untouchable because it would hurt the family’s reputation and look negatively upon her.

Baby Kochamma is similar to a lot of older people in America today. She is unwilling to change with the times even though the caste system was abolished about 15 years beforehand. However unlike in our world today some Americans believe that they are superior to other races but the civil rights act was passed 60 years ago. Just like Baby Kochamma’s treatment towards Velutha they try to put themselves above others and continue to oppress humans because of the color of their skin which puts them in a lower class. The book teaches the importance of social classes and even when abolished the prejudices held against people that were once considered lower class.

Baby Kochamma believes that she is superior to everyone else because of her superiority complex that being a Syrian Christian gives her. Roy portrays her as a negative and unlikeable character since she possesses old fashioned ideology that needs to be abolished.

The Role of Gender in “God of Small Things”

In the novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy the mastery of women is a typical topic that is showed by every generation in the novel. Roy expounds on the loaded social issues that plague Indian culture; she composed The God of Small Things after the corrupt system had been removed in India, yet it still controls the country. Roys views serve to see the imperfections within Indian culture, and therefore composed a novel with a message that demonstrated the issues that exists and still goes unmentioned. Through the significant subject of gender identity, Roy passes on a message that all individuals ought to be equivalent regardless of the sex of an individual. The idea is that sexual orientation is only a presentation since society has created. The figment is to suppress their internal wants and adjust to society’s optimal picture and portray the issues that make up a lot of restrictions.

Gender is a constrained job for the characters in The God of Small Things, and it exists essentially as a characterizing social develop. The genuine sexual orientation of the characters is created, on the grounds that the characters in the novel would be thrown out of Indian culture on the off chance that they acted in a way other than the one that was anticipated. The women of the novel are compelled to remain consistent within Indian culture, or, the results are unsuitably unforgiving. Gender identity should come from the acts and gestures that a person chooses to perform, not by the sex they were biologically assigned at birth.

The abuse that Mammachi endured by her husband influenced her in a strange way,

At Pappachi’s funeral, Mammachi cried until her contact lenses slid around in her eyes. Ammu told the twins that Mammachi was crying more because she was used to him than because she loved him. (49) 

The static nature of Mammachi’s life is evident, making it clear that she hated the idea of change, regardless of whether that change was the passing of her spouse or something else. Mammachi proceeds as a lady who lost her caring husband at his memorial service essentially in light of the fact that she was used to her job as a compliant lady who brought herself down to acknowledge her significant other’s disparaging nature towards her for the sum of their marriage. Mammachi had the chance to begin a real existence that would not be constrained by her significant other, however she would be unable to genuinely get away from the maltreatment that was perpetrated intellectually on her by Pappachi’s physical beatings and the end he put to her as a musician.

Numerous individuals despite everything stick to customary thoughts that people ought to carry on in manners that fall into explicit classes decided exclusively on their sexual orientation. However, male or female gender-specific identities are irrelevant in modern, civilized society. Gender roles are social builds created after some time and are not founded on normal human conduct. This is on the grounds that gender roles have advanced as an approach to arrange the vital errands done in early human culture. Some may state that because of the way that customary gender roles have been portrayed for such a long time, they ought not be changed, and are currently a key component in human advancement. Nevertheless, in many of the modern societies today, there is no need for traditional gender roles, because both men and women are able to do many of the same necessary tasks, thereby making gender-specific behaviors irrelevant.

Colorism Lies Everywhere

It’s really interesting for me to be reading God of Small Things and also this book called The Blacker the Berry for my African American History Class. One book highlights the disparities between those in an Indian culture, and the other highlights the disparities between those in an African American culture.

I’m pretty sure God of Small Things never fully said that the Paravans were all dark in complexion, but based off of the descriptions of the paravans in comparison with the Mol family it seemed that their color also had a play in the caste system.

In Blacker the Berry, the basis of the book so far is colorism and how a dark skinned girl is continuously discriminated against and seen as less than just because she is dark.

It’s so interesting to me that even when people of color have to deal with racism and general discrimination and oppression of their people, they even create ranks inside of their own culture. And much of it is based on how light your skin is.

I know that being more fair was seen as more attractive in white people as well in the past, and there is a degree of colorism in almost every single ethnic group. It really makes me wonder how the idea that being lighter is better even came about it in the first place. Colorism is still very much alive and well today.

Jeremy Lin: Life of an Asian Athlete

I’m not saying that it is hard to grow up in Oak Park as a half white half asian boy, but our bubble isn’t always as perfect as it is made out to be. There have been times where I have felt the pressure of orientalism; most notably when I have played sports.

There are many prejudices and assumptions I’m sure people unintentionally make when they hear that I am asian. I’m sure the possibility of me being smart is pondered. I’m sure my height might come into question. One thing that is probably not assumed is my athleticism. Since I could stand, my parents had me playing soccer and baseball. My love of sports only grew when I began to understand the competitive nature of winning and losing.

This continued into elementary school where I began to hoop. Basketball has been one of the great loves in my life. My interest has risen and fallen over the years, but back in fourth grade, when my love for basketball was at maybe an all time high, I began to really follow professional basketball. Coincidently and almost simultaneously, one of the greatest runs of any professional athlete of all time occurred. Jeremy Lin had one of the best two weeks of basketball anybody has ever had. He scored points, hit game winners, and he even beat Kobe.

If you look at professional sports today, I could probably list all of the professional athletes in both the NBA and NFL that are asian without running out of any fingers. It was even worse back when Linsanity happened. Linsanity was huge for me. I was finally able to see someone who like me is asian and was able to make it.

Ever since Linsanity, one of the go-to things my opponents have called me on the court is Jeremy Lin, which I would retort “[expletive] you, I’m Kobe.” But nowadays, when I hear it I’m proud that at least there was an asian good enough and famous enough that when people talk to me on the court there is somebody’s name they can call me.

Sex, Gender, and Orientalism

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.

Check out this video by Lindsay Ellis if you’re interested in Orientalism and musical theatre; it’s a fascinating breakdown of one of the more obscure, yet fetishized characters from Phantom of the Opera.

A Bird’s-Eye View

The personal is political.

Second-wave feminist slogan

In AP Literature Class, we’ve talked a lot about power, including massive power structures such as race, class, and gender. However, I know that for me, sometimes these concepts can become very abstract. I don’t always connect our talk of these issues with the real world, because in my everyday life, power structures have always just surrounded me, as seemingly natural as the air I breathe. I am desensitized to them, and I have no way of seeing the extent to which they actually shape my life. That is, until, every once in a while, a really good piece of literature makes me zoom out and gives me a bird’s eye view of life with which I am able to realize how much large-scale power structures do impact individual lives. In my opinion, The God of Small Things might do this the best of any book we’ve read this year. 

The God of Small Things deals not merely with power dynamics, but it makes clear their consequences in a very poignant way. By juxtaposing the characters’ personal power struggles with their power struggles on a systemic level, it shows how large-scale power structures can have deeply personal impacts. 

One quote that I believe shows this very strikingly is on page 101. It consists of Estha’s thoughts as he has just come back into the auditorium after being molested by the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man and is watching the Sound of Music. He wonders if one of the characters from the film, Baron von Trapp, would be able to love him and Rahel and be a father to them, and imagines that Baron von Trapp has the following questions that Estha and Rahel must answer before he can decide.

(a) Are they clean white children?

No. (But Sophie Mol is.)

(b) Do they blow spit bubbles?

Yes. (But Sophie Mol doesn’t.)

(c) Do they shiver their legs? Like clerks?

Yes. (But Sophie Mol doesn’t.)

(d) Have they, either or both, ever held strangers’ soo-soos?

N… Nyes. (But Sophie Mol hasn’t.)

“Then I’m sorry,” Baron von Clapp-Trapp said. “It’s out of the question. I cannot love them. I cannot be their Baba. Oh no.” 

To me, this quote is particularly heartbreaking because it highlights so many of Estha and Rahel’s vulnerabilities and insecurities due to both the state of their personal lives and their status in society. 

First of all, their desire for Baron von Trapp to be a father to them shows their yearning for a father figure in their lives because of the absence of their own father. While this is personal to them, it is also connected to the political because the reason their parents divorced was because their father was abusive, and the reason Ammu even got into a relationship with an abusive man in the first place was because she was desperate to escape from her own abusive father and was not allowed a college education because she was a girl, so she had few options other than marriage (38-39). Therefore, Estha and Rahel’s lack of a father, while it is very personal, is also connected to issues of women’s rights and feminism. Likewise, Baron von Trapp’s questions about whether Estha and Rahel blow spit bubbles and shiver their legs also shows how their relationship with Ammu can be tense because they sometimes remind her of their father (especially when they blow spit bubbles an shiver their legs) (80), and therefore how the effects of something as large as sexism can be felt even in a deeply personal sphere.

Another way Roy blends the personal and political nature of Estha and Rahel’s insecurities in this quote is the mention of all the ways Sophie Mol meets Baron von Trapp’s standards while Estha and Rahel don’t. Estha and Rahel are acutely aware of how much their family adores Sophie Mol, and this not only sparks in them children’s natural jealousy at another child seeming more loved by their family than they are (if any of you have little siblings, you might have felt this when they were born), but also a sense of inferiority based on a WHITE/person of color and WEST/east power dynamic. Estha and Rahel are cognizant of the fact that Sophie Mol is so beloved by their family not only because eight-year-olds are cute and it’s always fun to see a family member who you haven’t seen in a long time, but also because the fact that Sophie Mol is white-passing and British makes her somehow extra special and superior. Thus, once again, Roy shows how large-scale systems of power such as racism influence things as intimate as family dynamics and children’s’ self-esteem. 

But for me, the word that blends the deeply personal and the political the most strikingly is the word “clean.” 

(a) Are they clean white children?

No. (But Sophie Mol is.)


The idea of Estha and Rahel not being as “clean” as Sophie Mol and the white children in The Sound of Music is a really loaded concept in this passage in so many ways. On one level, it reflects racism, as people with darker skin have often been seen throughout history as less “clean” than people with lighter skin, particularly in the West and countries that have been subject to Western colonialism. However, it also relates to Estha’s experience of abuse, as it is not unusual for survivors of sexual abuse to feel they have been made “dirty” somehow by their abusers if they have not yet been able to come to terms with what happened to them. So, as Estha sits watching The Sound of Music, he feels doubly “dirty” both because of what happened to him on an individual level and because of what society tells him about who he is. To me, Roy’s multilayered use of the word “clean” and her repetition of it throughout the chapter is a perfect example of how the lines between personal struggles and political struggles can become very blurry for marginalized people and how each type of struggle can have an impact that is extremely profound.

“Crazy Rich Asians”, a Rom-Com with a Deeper Meaning

The film “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018) directed by Jon M. Chu is one of the highest grossing romantic-comedy films of all time and is the first film in 25 years to have an all Asian cast in Hollywood. This rom-com was adapted from a novel also titled “Crazy Rich Asians” written by Kevin Kwan. “Crazy Rich Asians” not only broke box-office records, it also increased representation of Asian-Americans in Hollywood.

The film centers around Rachel and Nick, a young couple living in New York. Nick and Rachel have been dating for quite some time, and Nick invites Rachel to go with him to his best friend’s wedding in his home of Singapore. As Rachel and Nick leave on their trip to Singapore, Rachel (who was born and raised as a part of the middle-class) begins to realize Nick’s secret; his family is insanely wealthy.

When the couple arrives in Singapore, Rachel learns that Nick is one of the most “eligible bachelors” in all of Singapore, and women are fighting to be with Nick. Rachel, who has never once been in the spotlight, gets to know Nick’s elite and eccentric family, as well as learn the ways of extremely wealthy socialites.

The comedic elements of the film are not solely represented through one-liners and jokes, but rather a much deeper social meaning. The film focuses around a female protagonist, who, in the end of the film, is the one person to make the biggest choice that determines her and Nick’s future as a couple. Rachel is the one who is given the choice whether or not to marry Nick, as marrying Nick would force him to break off ties with his mother, who disapproves of their relationship. Rachel loves Nick, but also wants for him to be able to have a relationship with his mother.

These power dynamics are very interesting and quite ironic, as the middle-class woman is the one who is making this major decision for an extremely wealthy man.

This irregular shift in power dynamics is very comedic, because in today’s world, all too often, money equals power, but in this instance it didn’t. In addition to money, Nick is also a man, and it is a “norm” in society for the man to make major choices in a relationship. The woman of normal economic status was the one making the decision that would impact Nick’s entire family with either choice she made.

Rachel made the decision to not marry Nick out of love for him, as she did not want him to lose contact with his family. But, in the end, Nick proposes to Rachel with his mother’s ring, and reveals that she has given them her blessing to marry.

The comedic element of irony is quite present in this film, and it is used to reveal the roles of gender and class, and how our views of them impact our perception of the world. Personally, I found it quite comedic that Rachel was the one to make the choice, when Nick and his family are of elite social status and great wealth.

I now realized after more closely analyzing the comedy in this film that it has a much deeper and socially rooted meaning, as it discusses the issues of gender and wealth, and how we view people according to these factors.

Comedy Can Also Be a Profound Art Format

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.

Ken uses the number of each Japanese character to calculate the success rate of his proposal
Ken

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. ”

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

We all know of Charlie Brown, or Peanut’s, a cult classic that has shaped children’s literature for a while now. Charlie Brown is known for it’s lovable characters, american archetypes, and silly situations, and recently, a continuation of the Charlie Brown universe was created, but this play gives us a completely new twist.

Dog Sees God takes the characters and relationships in Charlie Brown and sets them years in the future, when the characters are teenagers. Instead of dealing with their previous innocent problems, the kids have new ones to deal with. Charlie Brown (now CB) is grieving the death of his dog, meanwhile questioning his sexuality and place in society, Sally (CB’s sister) is goth, and throughout the show questions her life’s true philosophy, and Lucy (Van’s sister) has been institutionalized for setting the little red haired girl’s hair on fire. The characters go through life in high school, dealing with others while dealing with their own personal issues and conflicts, and I won’t spoil it but the end brings tragedy and illustrates the unfairness of real life. Dog Sees God is about as far from the sentiment of Peanuts as you can possibly go, but somehow maintains the relationships and archetypes of the characters within their universe.

This play is full of satire. The most obvious would have to be parody, as this play is a direct parody of the original Peanut’s comics. Taking the original characters, this play twists them into extremely realistic adult versions of themselves, playing off of the little quirks the characters originally showed and exaggerating and forming them into phobias, diagnoses, and larger plot points. This play is also full of all types of irony. Verbal irony is used throughout the show in dialogue and interactions, bringing attention to the relationships between the characters and acting as a way to point out the extreme natures and flaws of some of the characters. Situational irony coats the entire show as many of the things the characters do we wouldn’t expect from them, such as PigPen ending up the “bully” of the show or Lucy acting as a psychiatrist for Charlie Brown from the confines of the institution she was placed in.

This is a comedic show (at least for the beginning), but the use of satire especially when in relation to such a classic children’s story brings forward the real problems with the social structures created in a high school environment. The characters from peanuts create a surprisingly good base for the archetypes of modern teenagers, so this parody works very well as a commentary on the toxicity of interpersonal relationships and friendships. The work is funny and comedic in the lines but also manages to bring light to issues like homophobia, sexual abuse, and addiction, especially when it pertains to teenagers. And by the end of the show, illustrates the consequences that can come from these actions when they are let grow and go untreated.

Satire in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

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Ricky Bobby was a man who was born to go fast. Born in the backseat of a race car, Ricky lives by his dad’s saying, “If you ain’t first, your last”. Talladega Nights delivers more than dark comedy, this movie highlights problems that circle marriage, revenge, social standards, and peace within one’s self.

Check out the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zPcMma_C7A

From the start and to the finish, there are many moments within this movie that implement a variety of satirical methods. One example is dramatic irony. Within Ricky Bobby’s journey to success, he is very concerned with his image and how to deals with others. Especially with his wife and the media, these two things grow and complicate his life as the story progresses and causes dramatic irony to reach the audience. In light of the bigger picture, this movie mocks the idea of marriage and its burdens that come with success. Overall showing that marriage is not as pleasant as it is socially seen.

In addition to dramatic irony, there are many accounts of parody within the movie. On the whole, there is a taste of both tragedy and peace. Specifically, the use of deliberate exaggeration adds the comedic effect to stress the peace of Ricky’s life. As well as peace, Ricky also faces getting revenge on his former partner who stole his wife. Although seen as funny, this moment demonstrates social norms with a twist of comedy. All in all, it is important to view these things as the movie progresses, the bigger than comedy subjects are dealt with.

Overall, this movie points out the stresses of life, taking a comedic turn, and summarizing them through traditional forms of tragedy and comedy all in one movie. From rising to falling, to rising again, Ricky Bobby fights through social constructs and finally achieves happiness.

The Satirical Comedy of “The Truman Show”

The Truman Show is a movie about an average guy whose whole life is recorded and screened as a tv show. Although he doesn’t know it, all of his friends and family are actors and he is part of a huge tv set. Throughout the movie you can see how the director manipulates the factors in his life to evoke a reaction out of Truman so that the audience gets what they want. Truman gradually finds out the truth and makes the decision to leave and start a life of his own – one not recorded nor controlled by a director.

Check out the trailer:

There are plenty of satirical methods used in The Truman Show. One of the biggest ones used is dramatic irony. For example, throughout the whole movie the audience knows that Truman ‘s life is constantly being recorded even though he doesn’t. Truman believes his friends are real and is completely oblivious of the show that he lives in which is ironic since the audience knows the truth.

The Truman Show is also a parody of media and reality tv shows. Truman is an average guy just living a regular life. No one would truly be interested in anyone like Truman so the director spices up his life to make it more entertaining to the audience. It exposes the reality of media and how it controls people’s lives just for the entertainment and enjoyment of others. Media is all controlled by likes and followers and Truman’s life, although not willingly, is controlled by the audience and what they find entertaining. It is so hard to find real people on media because its over a screen and people can act fake just to get more popularity. Truman reflects this idea by leaving the show to find his truth and to finally be in control of his life.

Jim Carrey, who plays Truman, stars in many comedies and usually plays roles that are mostly for entertainment purposes rather than satirical purposes. Although, this movie is very comedic and exposes the media in funny ways, the overall message that it is trying to convey is one that is real and one to learn from. It isn’t just a movie to make people laugh and to entertain but also to convey a message: stay true to yourself and don’t let media, technology, or popularity control who you are and the way you choose to live your life.