Monday, January 27, 2014

Three Questions

1. In the opening anecdote of the Williams text, Harriet Beecher Stowe cries at the sight of a marble monument. After being informed she had been swayed by melodrama, she "reconsidered her tears" but still defended the artist's right to break usual conventions and create such a work. Does melodrama have a place in the world of art as Stowe thought, or is it only through ironic use that "transcends the melodrama itself" that it can even be considered successful?

2. "Mickey's Mellerdrammer" was very reminiscent of 19th century blackface minstrel shows. How was this cartoon a response to Uncle Tom's Cabin and what significance, if any, does using aspects of minstrelsy have toward Disney's purpose?

3. A classic motif in melodrama is "black hats vs. white hats." How did The Birth of a Nation and the anti-Tom movement take the roles laid out in Uncle Tom's Cabin (e.g., sympathy toward the "good slave") and completely flip them upside down?

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