Sunday, September 14, 2014

Three Questions

A big part of the first chapter is spent on Williams talking about classical realism and melodrama, and how “melodrama is neither archaic nor excessive but a perpetually modernizing form that can neither be clearly opposed to the norms of the “classical” nor to the norms of realism” (12). Williams gives us opposing views on this topic throughout the chapter as well. In your opinion can melodrama be categorized with classical realism, or is it truly a genre of its own? Why was melodrama at first categorized with classical realism? And lastly what are the similarities and differences between the two?

Williams refers to “moral legibility” a lot throughout the first chapter of the book, though he never really does give a definition of what it means.  He mentions that “melodrama differs from realism in its will to force the status quo to yield signs of moral legibility within the limits of the “ideologically permissible,” even as it builds upon genuine social concerns” (19). What does Williams mean when she talks about moral legibility, and why is it so important to Melodrama?

Williams mentions how, “melodrama has been classified in film studies as a sentimental genre for women…” (17).  Do you agree with this statement? Explain why or why not. Does melodrama appeal more to one certain gender? In addition Williams talk about the idea of  “pathos and action” (25). Do you believe that Melodrama can include both pathos and action, and how does this relate to the issue of gender?

1 comment:

  1. 2. When I read the section on moral legibility, I interpreted that expression to mean the clear distinction between good and evil. Melodrama is defined by this distinction, and therefore moral legibility. What distinguishes it from other genres is its obvious juxtaposition of hero and villain, or more abstractly, right and wrong. When melodrama is applied to a legitimate social concern, it must be "ideologically permissible," or not too morally outrageous and contested, in order to sway an audience to sympathize with its hero. The audience must be manipulated in terms of their reactions to characters and conflicts.


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