1.) In the first chapter of Playing the Race Card, the author, Linda Williams offers a general criterion for melodramas, stating that, “[if] emotional and moral registers are sounded, if a work invites us to feel sympathy for the virtues of beset victims, if the narrative trajectory is ultimately concerned with a retrieval and staging of virtue through adversity and suffering, then the operative mode is melodrama” (15). Can you site a melodrama that fits this exact criterion? Are there any key elements to melodramas that Williams seems to have left out in this description? If so, what are they?
2.) In Chapter 3, Williams discusses how The Birth of a Nation, “as a film, was to convert the nation to southern sympathy” (98). How does the silent drama, The Birth of a Nation, use cinematic elements other than visual to invoke emotions and feelings of sympathy? Is there more room left for interpretation in the case of this drama compared with a 21st century drama? Explain.
3.) Does the audience/crowd portrayed in the Disney clip, Mickey’s Mellerdrammer, contribute in any way to its overall melodramatic nature? If so, how?