Natalie’s third question:
Although the South ultimately lost the Civil War, the director of The Birth of a Nation portrays them as worthy heroes throughout the movie. In the film, the South is in fact victimized by the primarily black revolts in Piedmont. Viewers are meant to sympathize with the southern family as they are attacked by black rebels. Ben, one of the Southern Cameron sons, is viewed as virtuous. The victimization of the southerners is eventually terminated, when viewers see Ben’s “true virtue,” as he rides into town on his horse to save the county from, first, the rebels and, later, Lynch’s milita. The multitude of white southerners’ deaths at the hands of black rebels also encourage the reader to sympathize with their plight.
Philips third question:
After reading this question, Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympic runner who ran in the 2012 summer Olympics, immediately came to mind. I will be discussing his national recognition prior to his murder trial.
After prevailing in many legal battles, a younger Pistorius was allowed the opportunity to run in the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing as the first double leg amputee to compete in the Olympic Games. Pistorius’ pathos was eaten up by the media. His story received international recognition, and his efforts to compete as a handicapped runner were celebrated. Commercials promoting the Summer Olympics featured Pistorius as a symbol of perseverance. Viewers worldwide tuned into the Olympics to watch the underdog win several gold medals. To many people, Pistorius’ victories were seen as some of the most defining moments of the entire summer Olympics. His hardship provoked strong emotions in the eyes of viewers, a classic and commonly used trend in melodrama.
Vivie's third question:
Linda Williams explains that three important characteristics in melodramatic film, theatre, or literature are “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.” (pp. 15) While there are many examples of modern melodramatic films, one that strikes me as humorously melodramatic is Marley and Me. The film recounts the tale of a dog’s life, from near birth to eventual death. Marley and Me is rare in that viewers sympathize with a dog that, at first, seems troublesome and naughty, but later is revealed to be good-natured and affectionate. David Frankel, the director of Marley and Me, strikes every emotion in the viewer. Viewers feel sympathy for the dog, who is not recognized as being ultimately “good,” in however many ways an animal can be good. Marley’s true virtue is revealed by the end of the film, which is also the point where viewers’ “emotional and moral registers are sounded.”