Thursday, February 6, 2014

More Answers!!!

Cody's Question #2:

   I love this question. Because of melodrama's inherent pitting of "good v. evil," I think that it is above all, polarizing. I actually asked a similar question that asked whether or not melodrama could be unifying. I think that it can be seen through Griffith's  Birth of A Nation, that melodrama most certainly can create unity, however I have yet to see an example of a melodrama that doesn't unify in opposition to something or someone. I think that it would be hard to create a melodrama that would create peace and solidarity among all. For example, Williams talks about "moral legibility" in being an important aspect of melodrama, and that "melodrama focuses on victim-heroes and on recognizing their virtue." Many philosophers would argue that you cannot have good without evil, to compare it to. If this dialectic that Williams speaks about is fundamental, as it appears to be in just about every melodrama that she cites--Way Down East, Titanic, Uncle Tom's Cabin, etc.-- then I think that by nature, melodrama necessarily must pit factions against one another, while effectively unifying the factions of one side. A duality can be seen: perhaps melodrama is both unifying and polarizing at the same time.

Chelsea's Question #1:

      The reason that sentimentality in art and literature "doesn't appeal" to the elite classes, is that it admits a sort of melodramatic nostalgia that many of the "elite" don't wish to admit that they have. In a way, admitting that one is moved by the sentimentality created by melodrama is also admitting weakness. If one looks at Marx, the upper class does not wish to relinquish power, and admitting that one is moved by the same fear of modernity and longing to return to a "space of innocence," would be relinquishing that power psychologically. At least, this is the argument that might be made. However, I do not believe that the upper classes are not moved by melodrama. In fact, melodrama appeals to such raw human feeling, such fundamental timeless issues--passing time, feeling victimized, good v. evil--that it would be impossible for anyone of any class not to be moved by "sentimentality." It might be more embarrassing for a person of the "god-like" upper classes to admit to  being moved by this sentimentality, but the appeal of melodrama is universal to all people's psyches. The appeal of melodrama might change depending on what context one lives in, or what role one plays in society, but it must appeal nonetheless, else it would not exist. 

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