Monday, January 27, 2014

3 Questions

Williams mentions how popular culture has become fascinated with "murder narratives," and pain and suffering in general, so readers can immerse themselves in the "excitement and horror" of the violence. What role does violence currently have in modern-day melodrama? Is it a necessary element?

According to Playing the Race Card, Williams quotes Ann Douglas, who claims that American melodrama, and film in general, succumb to the "cheaply sentimental feminization." However, these kinds of movies have become very popular in American culture. Does a melodrama need to incorporate the "feminine qualities of piety, virtue, and passive suffering" to be successful?

The Titanic showed that people around the world were thrilled when Jack was "too late" in saving his own life, but still able to save Rose's. However, did this movie foster a boom of "chick-flicks" where the guy or girl is, in some cases unrealistically, able to save the day at the very last moment and win over his or her true love?

1 comment:

  1. 1. Violence in modern-day melodrama plays much the same role as it always has. Until some amount of violence is shown, the threats of the villains remain empty. However, once the villain releases video of torturing a victim, sends a dismembered finger to the family, or shoots an innocent bystander, the violence proves all too real. Modern day viewers of melodrama have become somewhat desensitized to violence through video games and criminal-type television shows, so violence must be used strategically so as not to become irrelevant through sheer overuse. Also, the hero will probably need to use some amount of violence to defeat the villain, so the producer or author or director must make it clear that the villain's violence is doubtlessly bad and the hero's violence is necessary and regrettable.

    2. In a way, the melodramatic hero is a very feminized character. He isn't particularly brave or smart or talented. He is an everyday person. There is nothing wrong with being average, but compared to heroes like superman and spiderman, the melodramatic hero is feminized to begin with. So, based on the basic definition of the melodramatic hero, there will undoubtedly be feminine qualities. Another typical melodramatic stock character is the damsel in distress, and she most certainly embodies the "feminine qualities of piety, virtue, and passive suffering." Therefore, regardless of successful or unsuccessful, melodramas hinge on feminine ideas and qualities.

    3. Personally, I was rooting for Jack to be able to save both of them, so I was far from thrilled with the ending to The Titanic. I will concede that it is a classic movie with an ending that stays with you much longer than a happy ending would have. This movie has certainly become a well-known example of the hero saving his or her true love in the eleventh hour, but it was not the first and will not be the last. Damsels in distress are a key part of any literature, going all the way back to Odysseus' wife Penelope. If anything, The Titanic was somewhat radical in that, even though Jack was able to save Rose, the couple was denied their happily ever after.


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