It’s easy to say that Carter’s feminist fairy tales go beyond facile table-turning scenarios—say, princess rescues the prince or maiden trades her magic trinkets for a law degree.
Instead, her heroines—sometimes hapless, often virginal—make weighted decisions in limiting circumstances. Through no fault of their own, these women find themselves with strange men in dark forests or spooky estates with little recourse—eat or be eaten, bed or be bedded. In “The Bloody Chamber,” the title story based on Bluebeard, we can judge the 17-year-old who weds a rich, middle-aged stranger through her own perspective. In “The Tiger’s Wife,” we fear for the Beauty held captive by a lionesque Beast, only to discover she harbors an animalistic appetite of her own.
“She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening.” (17)
Though something more captivating than Carter’s characters is her language. As a fan of gothic romanticism and the short story format, Carter’s text was considered satisfying for some and worrisome for others. Revamping past fairytales and eschewing the well-tread trail for a more serpentine, darker path, Carter addresses female empowerment through bodily autonomy and explicity. This can be seen throughout her work as she details female figures and outlines their pain is relation to her surroundings. Her distinct voice is nothing but dangerous yet it alludes the reader to explore her text and question origins of masculine thought. The most prevalent of stories lies in the title The Bloody Chamber. I can assure everyone that her control of language and voice has left me searching bookshelves for The Sadeian Woman.
Coppola opens the film with a bang by dropping us right in the jungle. There are no opening credits; only darkness with the faint sound of helicopters approaching from the distance. The first image we see is that of a jungle tree line, which stands alone until one of the helicopters crosses the screen in front of the trees, a similar technique as John Boorman used with his cars in the opening of Deliverance (1972) to express mankind’s rape of nature. As psychedelic smoke rises to the music of The Doors singing “The End,” we realize the genius paradox of opening a movie with the words, “This is the end.”
As soon as these words arrive, the helicopters light up the jungle with napalm, superimposed over shots of Willard in his Saigon hotel room watching a ceiling fan. As his POV of the fan blades matches the sound of ‘Nam choppers in his head, it’s a reminder that veterans never truly leave the battlefield; fragments of swirling smoke, screaming comrades and chopper blades always remain.
This battle against one’s self, against our own dark side, is expressed visually throughout the film in a series of half-lit faces, from Willard (the light side) to Colonel Kurtz (the dark side), or as later articulated, “the kind who loves” and “the kind who kills.”
This duality of lightness and darkness hangs over the entire film, as Coppola offers paradox after paradox, most notably Brando’s line, “We teach the boys to drop fire on people, and yet we won’t let them write the word ‘fuck’ on their airplanes.” When you understand Coppola’s artistic sensibilities, you come to understand that the half-lit faces of lightness and darkness represent our internal choice as people — and as a nation — between the “hawk” and the “dove,” an eternal battle of gungho military adventurism versus anti-war peacemaking.
These half-lit faces always from the side and looking in parallel a technique used in early film noir movies to convey mystery and tragedy. To loose sight of ones own face is to give into the darkness and let it consume oneself.
Why horror? When discussing Freudian question of how dominant ideology is transmitted, it is easy to look at the case of the horror film. Why do we seek out fear and are willingly frightened? Ultimately, how is the repressed represented in horror films?
For this we could look at Barry Grant and Christopher Sharrett’s essay Aesthetics of Fright. They discuss the body genres associated with horror such as pornography, and excessive violence of sex with phallic images. These genres all correspond to man’s innate nature to witness something taboo.
Horror films exploit the fear and anxiety of death but never actually put us in any kind of danger. Sitting in a movie theater we know that we will ultimately be safe. This sense of security is what blocks the true id, Other and monster from getting to us beyond the screen.
The essay goes on to discuss the portrayal of the repressed in horror films and from what we know, Freud’s definition stems from the Uncanny. His definition supports that negative aesthetics are feelings of repulsion and stress which take the form of the repressed.
Grant and Sharrett divide repression in horror films into two main groups: basic and surplus repression. Basic repression develops when we learn to postpone gratification and surplus repression must remain specific to a particular culture. From these two groups horror films split into reactionary and apocalyptic forms.
Monster is simply evil
monster is usually non-human
repressed sexuality and confusion with sexuality
Christian figures are prominent
Shattering of ideology
Emphasis on familiarity of the monstrous
Normality as a manifestation
There is much to be learned from the commercial platform of horror films today. It was quite interesting to find that fear can be categorized.
One of the most joyful and freely expressed poem in Blake’s Songs of Innocence, I found to be the Laughing Song. William Blake’s expression of nature is very strong and soothing in this particular piece. The poem in itself contains a lot of different yet harmonious beings. From the grasshopper to the birds to the children, it seems that everyone is having a “merry” time, even Merry (however coincidental that is). There is a carefree expression in this poem that greatly correlates with Blake’s theme of Innocence. The very first lines are joyful and they relay a happiness that seems to be universal with all of nature.
“When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit.
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;”
This metaphor for laughter personifies nature and ultimately adds an overwhelmed audible sensation in the poem and acts as a reflection on the delight and ecstasy of all Natural objects. This poem celebrates the innocence of joy and beauty. What is even more enchanting is that the audience is welcome to join. The very last lines of this poem directly speak to the reader and offer them a spot among the joyful festivities that nature and youth bring. The laughter unites each aspect and character of the poem, creating a pure atmosphere.
“Come live and be merry, and join with me
To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, Ha, He!”
Also, here is a very enjoyable Russian melodic version of Blake’s Laughing Song.
The past few days I have been binge watching a Korean drama with my roommates. Never before have I felt this many emotions in an hour special. The drama is a romantic comedy between Oh Ha Ni, a childish and clumsy 19 year old girl and Baek Seung Jo, a rude and cold 19 year old boy who is a high school prodigy as well as Oh Ha Ni’s love interest. During a 2.0 scale earthquake, Oh Ha Ni’s house crumbles to the ground and has to relocate to a family friend’s home. There she coincidentally encounters her crush Baek Seung Jo as he is the son of their family friend. Let the chaos ensue. One of the interesting aspects of Oh Ha Ni’s character revolves around her daydreaming and I want to highlight a correlation to Hobbes’ statements on imagination and memory.
By the end of episode 11, Oh Ha Ni sits on a bench admiring nature. She quickly dozes off and daydreams of Baek Seung Jo coming to her side, confessing his love and kissing her on the lips. She awakes and realizes it was just a daydream, but odd enough explains that she feels a familiar sensation on her lips. The camera then slowly pans to the right where we see Baek Seung Jo’s little brother hiding behind a tree in shock. Here is the question, did Baek Seung Jo actually kiss Oh Ha Ni during her slumber or was it just her imagination? (It is vital here to note that Oh Ha Ni and Baek Seung Jo have locked lips in a previous episode so she has experience regarding the sensation)
According to Hobbes’ Leviathan, imagination is equivalent to memory. Imagination is the “decaying sense” of the sensations we experience day to day (88). Imagination is an abstraction to the images we retain once our eyes our closed. This account of sensation also defines memory. The “memory of many things, is called experience” (89). If imagination is memory and memory is experience then imagination is experience. Due to this transitive property, imagination is “only of those things which have been formerly perceived” (89).
If we take the scene with Oh Ha Ni for example, her acknowledgement of the familiarity on her lips would mean that the imagined kiss is based on the experience she has had before. To imagine such an instance is the same as regarding a memory because the senses that perceive the kiss have been imitated. By Hobbes’ theory, I can confidently say that Oh Ha Ni was actually kissed by Baek Seung Jo. Even though she was imagining it, the sensation in her dream was simply a retained image of what truly happened. This would also explain the shocked look on the little brother’s face since he would have seen his older brother kiss Oh Ha Ni.
This concludes my segment. I can without a doubt say that this might be one of the strangest correlation I have ever drawn.
Love! I wonder if any of us would be satisfied with “falling in love” with the first person we meet (not including our father and creepy step-brother). Love does taint our eyes and whisper unspeakable things into our ears. However, in the case of Shakespeare’s Tempest, it seems that Prospero has taken it upon himself to fulfill that duty to his daughter Miranda. The entire relationship that develops between Ferdinand and Miranda is entirely of Prospero’s making. The orchestrated encounter is nothing natural as Prospero orders Ariel to play musical matchmaker. Even Prospero’s chat with Ferdinand regarding Miranda’s virginity, in simple terms, is frank (as if she were a gift not to be opened before Christmas day). Does this mean Miranda’s love for Ferdinand is untrue?
In this blog post I wanted to point out few things that stood out when thinking about Miranda and her individual dialogue between Caliban and Ferdinand. I am comparing these two beings as love interests; even though, Caliban’s main impulse was to simply use Miranda as means of populating the island. There is no romance there but then again, is the romance between Ferdinand and Miranda natural either? When Miranda is first greeted by Ferdinand’s presence, she is star struck as “a thing divine, for nothing natural/ [she] ever saw so noble” appears (pg. 124, l. 418-419). The moment their conversation begins, Ferdinand thanks the heavens for the language that allows him to communicate with our said goddess Miranda. Now let’s compare this reaction to that of Caliban’s. When Miranda scolds him for his disrespect she exclaims, “I pitied thee,/ Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour” (pg. 120, l. 352-353). Here Miranda opens up about her disappointment and regret in trying to teach Caliban language so that he may live a life with knowledge and adoration for books. Yet Caliban’s response, quite contradictory to that Ferdinand’s, goes, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t/ Is to know how to curse” (pg. 121, l.362-363). One man exclaims his appreciation for language that brought him closer to Miranda and the other despises it, calling it only a means to curse. Growing up with readings and valuing books above all (due to Prospero’s interest), Miranda finds love in a man who does not diminish that importance. There is not a definite answer to my previous question but Miranda’s interests are clear. She may be a wondering character and possibly convenient prop but she does possess passionate feelings regarding language and that taste contributes to her relationship with Ferdinand.
Now, before I began typing out this blog post, I had to take a seat and think. This book, or repertoire of Pluto’s idea for a perfect society, is mind boggling. Plato’s Republic is not confusing because the ideas are foreign but because Kallipollis is detailed and planned beyond belief. As we’ve discussed in class, we are reading this book because it encapsulates a majority of ideals. With the use of philosophical dialogue, The Republic covers aesthetics, ethic, metaphysics and epistemology, but to tackle the question as to why such a conversation exists we must look to Plato’s relationship with his mentor, Socrates.
This book is introduced through the concept of justice and what it means to the individual or the society. What does it mean to be just and unjust? Are we satisfied as good-hearted beings or do we find ourselves preferring an unjust life? These questions are the initial specs to a far greater conversation in future chapters, yet it seems that Plato always makes a point to emphasize this theme.
With this in mind I took to the corridors of the library. What was interesting to find was that Socrates, the proprietor to Plato’s interest in politics and philosophy, was prosecuted in 399 BC on two main accounts:
1) Introduction of Divine Powers*
2) Corruption of Athenian Youth*
These accusations are said to be “smokescreens” by the city’s government due to Socrates’ popularity regarding societal criticism. So, this is to say that Plato was most likely heavily influenced by the trial and, in the end, equated this act of injustice in his refusal of forms of government like Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy and Tyranny we see in Book VIII of The Republic. I believe that there’s a lot to be discovered of Socrates and his influence on Plato, till then (or till the paper is due).