Monday, September 15, 2014

Playing the Race Card - 3 questions

1) Williams used an anecdote to open up her chapter one  When Stowe was watching sculptures in Europe, she considered them as melodramatic. It seems even Stowe had some mixed feelings about melodrama. Those who opposes it might be influenced by it anyways after watching it or observing it. If all work with strong pathos are defined as somehow melodramatic, what kind of work would not be considered as melodramatic?  Are there (or should there) be more categories within melodrama to separate and divide the melodramatic works based on the "Five features" of different combinations? What is your point of view on this?

2) On page 41, Williams mentioned that according to Gledhill, Hollywood star system is a sophisticated development of the tradition of melodramatic character and performance.  She further states, "Adapting Brook's notion that amid the collapse of the sacred as the standard of value, the individual ego became 'the measure of all things', Glehill argues that this reduction of morality to an individual embodiment of ethical forces prepared the way for the psychologization of character and the performance orientation of twentieth-century popular culture." Hollywood, as a symbol of US to many foreigners, developed melodrama with regard to the bigger background and environment. Maybe because of its emphasis on individualism and many other things, melodrama become particularly developed in the US. What other political and social factors might be influencing and pushing this development? How is melodrama developing in other cultures and in what ways are they similar or different to those in America?

3) To commend on Disney's production, I actually think it is a good idea to utilize melodrama in cartoons. Since most children might be fond of it, it could be seen as a way of education. There need to be good vs. evil, since trace back to Socrates in The Republic it was generally accepted that the society need to teach the children to have a sense of justice and know what is "good". It is interesting how cartoon incorporated lots of materials, including the heavy ones, into the script, and was able to make fun of it. Melodrama widen the range of topic of choice to deliver a similar message in a much acceptable way to younger audiences. When is Disney first decided to mimic or portray elements of melodrama?

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