Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Melodramatic Elements in Other Cultural Artifact

“I didn’t mean to start any uprisings,” I tell him.

“I believe you. It doesn’t matter. Your stylist turned out to be prophetic in his wardrobe choice. Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, you have provided a spark that, left unattended, may grow to an inferno that destroys Panem,” he says.
“Why don't you just kill me now?” I blurt out. “Publicly?” he asks. “That would only add fuel to the flames.”
“Arrange an accident, then,” I say.

-Chapter 2, ‘Catching Fire’

This passage takes place in the home of Katniss, the heroine, of ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy, where she is threatened by President Snow to convince the public that her actions in the first Hunger Games –where she and another character, Peeta, almost poisoned themselves on screen-were not actions of resistance but simply actions of love. The passage is melodramatic because a figure of authority, President Snow, misunderstands virtues of the heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Her virtues of sacrifice and endurance that are developed as a victim heroine who lives in impoverished District 12 are misinterpreted as acts of mere survival in the games. Without applying conventions of melodrama, the passage illustrates a totalitarian government that is trying to strengthen its control and eliminate opposing forces. The passage simply highlights oppressions of totalitarianism without melodramatic interpretations; with elements of melodrama, however, the passage becomes part of heroine’s revelation cycle, where the heroine eventually becomes aware of her capabilities as a leader of resisting forces against the government. Thus, melodrama in the novel creates a driving force towards naming the public enemy and justifying demolishing of the so-called enemy through violence. For instance, towards the end of trilogy when the rebel forces defeat the totalitarian government, Katniss votes to have children of the Capitol participate in the Hunger Games- a brutal game where children as young as 12 were chosen to fight until death in an arena during a totalitarian rule-as retribution. This action highlights an ironic attitude that warrants cruelty towards the ‘evil’.

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