Monday, September 15, 2014

Three melo- questions, slightly dramatic. It's Monday, y'all.

1) Linda Williams, in the first chapter of her book Playing the Race Card: From Uncle Tom's Cabin to O.J. Simpson stated that "Melodrama is often often referred to as occupying the childhood of a nation." A classic example is Harry Potter, seemingly geared towards children with its youthful protagonists and innocent artwork. Is this always the case with melodrama, specifically in American culture? If so, give an example of a series that supports this and explain generally how it is melodramatic. If  you do not believe this is the case, give an example of a melodramatic book, series, television show, or movie that supports this view and explain.

2) Williams also brings up pathos a lot in her book. A quick Google search defines pathos as "a quality that evokes pity or sadness." For example, on page seven, Williams cites the "pathos of each athlete's story of overcoming adversity" as a media example of melodrama. Cite a quote in real life, be from a political figure, radio host, whatever, that seems melodramatic to you in that it has pathos and explain why you think it is melodramatic and briefly the overwhelming feelings it inspired.

3) In "Mickey's Mellerdrammer," the audience plays a vital role in establishing the cartoon as a melodrama. That is, as Linda Williams quotes early on in her book and continually refers to, melodrama is a production that contains "excess of sensation and sentiment." The audience to this cartoon, likely a child, is taught to express the same zeal of the crowd, either being triumphant cheering or horrific anger (at one point throwing various fruits and things at the antagonist). In this way, cartoons like this outwardly established correct virtues of the time, such as religion ("you may own this body, but my soul belongs to the Lord!). Do melodramatic cartoons still use melodrama in this sense, or are they not allowed to get away with such an outward expression of opinions of virtues? Cite one example supporting your opinion, being sure to include the year of the cartoons publication.

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