Monday, January 27, 2014

Three questions

1. As noted by Linda, "pathos and actions" are crucial features of melodrama, then what's the the corresponding "pathos and actions" in Mickey the Mellerdrammer?

2.Though both happy-ending and sad ending melodramas employ "crying" as a vital element("too late" or "in the nick of time") to develop the plot,is there any difference in them? If there is, each of them achieves what kinds of effects?

3.One key feature of melodrama noted by Linda Williams is that people's "sympathy for another ground in the manifestation of that person's suffering".Ben Singer also states that "making forces of nature and fate the agents of moral retribution served a psychological need".Could this "psychological need" be the reason why melodrama is widely embraced by the public and criticized by "cultivated artists"?


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  2. 1. Although “Mickey’s Mellerdrammer” focused more on the effort the characters made to put on the play rather than the actual rendition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin itself, the cartoon still utilized many classic elements of melodrama (the “pathos and actions” referred to in your question). This is first seen in the fact that Horace Horsecollar is immediately named the enemy in the play. To solidify this, the audience throws tomatoes at him whenever he appears on stage. Pathos is seen mainly during the whipping scene. Aside the fact that Horace trips over his own whip, the scene is full of emotions. The viewer sees Mickey cowering in fear dressed as an old man, eliciting sympathy for Mickey and disgust for Horace.

    2. Crying as used in both happy and sad endings can be said to have similar purposes. In a sense, both are used as a cathartic release of the many emotions built up over the course of the melodrama. While these emotions and the characters’ reasons for crying may be wildly different, the release of emotions that accompanies this action releases tension and many times allows for the resolution to occur.

    3. A distinction between cultivated artists and the general public is that artists can see the merit in a work as an art form, not just as entertainment. This allows them to see past the vast volume of emotions flowing out of a melodrama, putting value in the actual production of the work and how it pushes forward a genre or what it brings to society. This talk of a “psychological need” for some of the classic facets of melodrama may serve to answer why melodrama has persevered and been so successful among the masses. Just look at big box office hits and count how many can be considered melodrama (hint: almost all of them, if not all).


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