The Hours

1. Analysis of the book

Through the novel the theme of death is most prevalent as Clarissa contemplates the death of Septimus during a party she throws. As the plot progresses the idea of perspectives and stream of consciousness also appears in relation to life and death as Clarissa jumps back and forth through different times of her life and experiences during the war which culminates in Septimus’ suicide and lead her down the road of deeper thought on the subjects. The ability to define life and death and to contemplate each ones meaning is most prevalent in the novel as Clarissa and Septimus each show their life and the way their experiences lead them to different believes on death, culminating in Clarissa’s admiration of Septimus’ suicide.

 

2. Analysis of the movie

The branching out of perspectives through following three different women on their experiences and reconciliation with death adds to the contemplation of the meaning of life and death which occurs in Mrs. Dalloway. Though the three women may distract from a deeper understanding of one person’s interpretation of death it stays true to the novel in that it shows different people’s way of dealing with death and how their life experiences influence their life and their understanding. The movie also includes references to Mrs. Dalloway mention of World War II through Laura which can be linked to the experiences of Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway, though they are not the same, as well as Laura taking out a copy of Mrs. Dalloway before she intends to commit suicide.

 

3. Analysis of the adaptation

The movie version of Mrs. Dalloway takes on the obstacle of understanding and dealing with life and death through the different perspectives of three women who all experience and wrestle with death in different ways. Just as in Mrs. Dalloway the theme of death is prevalent and through these three women, Laura, Clarissa, and Virginia Woolf herself the movie is able to span different time periods just as the novel did, though the movie takes makes the time differences greater as Virginia lived in 1920s England, Laura lived in 1950s California, and Clarissa lives in 2001 New York. The time differences allows the director to look at the female perspective during drastically different time periods and show the obstacles that women faced in that time and that place while the novel was only able to show the experiences within a few years as it followed Clarissa’s life, Septimus’ life and the span of the war. Through this time differences the theme of death and dealing with its presence allowed for a greater understanding of how different people reconciled with death, though it was not able to delve as deeply into one persons idea of it as the novel was able to through its different focuses and inability to follow stream of consciousness as closely as the novel was able to with Clarissa. The movie does attempt to connect with the novel in more direct ways than just theme, especially with Laura as her husband fought in a war just as Spetimus had and in that she was reading Mrs. Dalloway as she contemplated suicide.

 

 

4. Research

 

 

http://voices.yahoo.com/parallels-relationships-mrs-dalloway-the-8416413.html

The differences between the two makes of the story, Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours, is the modern setting and the different stories intertwined with the original story of Mrs. Dalloway according to this source.

 

http://www.geocities.ws/juliars123/dalloway.htm

This source talks about the director of The Hours, Michael Cunningham, and how he interpreted Virginia Woolf’s novel through the adaptation of the characters into modern day settings, perspective and through his own style.

 

http://www.shmoop.com/mrs-dalloway/

This source talks about how Mrs. Dalloway addressed a very sensitive topic during the time which the novel was written – the war. It speaks to how men who fought returned with horrible hallucinations and post traumatic stress disorder.

 

http://mublog.marymount.edu/MUBlog/jev36722/2013/04/22/the-hours-and-mrs-dalloway-comparison/

This is a blog from Marymount University which focuses on the relationship between the Mrs. Dalloway novel and the film the hours. It shares that the through time frame of one day both works accomplish an understanding of life and death that is complex and easy to relate to at the same time. 

 

http://feelthefilms.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/motifs-of-feminism-analytical-essay-of-the-hours/

This source is a blog entry which deals with how the film and the novel are both feminist sources as the women over come major difficulties in their life, and find reasons to live. It discussed how Mrs. Dalloway was an unconventional auto-biography of Virginia Woolf and due to her tribulations involving sexual abuse, suicide attempts, and mental disorders, her success becomes a tribute to feminism. Due to this being an auto-biographical text Clarissa becomes a stand-in for Virginia and her successes over hardships are mapped onto Clarissa. This creates Clarissa as a feminist model as she survives dealing with the death of Septimus with and responds with the positive message that his death was a way to keep life intact without watching it disintegrate and degenerate too far. 

 

 

5. Critical Response

As the novel Mrs. Dalloway and the film The Hours both focus on female protagonists dealing with life and death, the message conveyed to the audience becomes a feminist message and while it is more applicable to all people, the death of Septimus in the novel and Richard in the film creates the atmosphere of feminine power. In the novel Clarissa is portrayed, through the popular belief of scholars, as a stand-in for Virginia Woolf herself, who underwent multiple hardships over the course of her life from suicide attempts to sexual abuse. The three women in The Hours become splits of the story of Mrs. Dalloway through Laura Brown as a woman trapped as a housewife, Virginia Woolf who struggles with the story of Mrs. Dalloway, and Clarissa Brown and her party. Through the use of the novel Mrs. Dalloway and the symbol of the flowers, feminism emerges from both the movie and the novel since flowers are a traditionally feminine object that women bring into the house instead of men. The act of each character reading a portion of the novel in the film, specifically “Mrs. Dalloway said she would but the flowers herself” retakes the feminine flowers and transforms them into a way that each women will take control of their own lives as shown in the line where Mrs. Dalloway wants flowers and will go out and get them herself. Laura reads the line in the novel, Clarissa speaks the line to Sally, and Virginia writes the line, which connects each woman with each other and the novel in the film. In addition to the symbol of the flowers which also show themselves again through each character wearing an article of clothing with a flower to unite them with each other and this theme, both Richard and Septimus succumb to death through their choice to commit suicide, while the women choose to live, in particular Clarissa who sees Septimus’ death as a way to retain the beauty of life and Laura who contemplates suicide though this idea is complicated through Virginia Woolf’s actual suicide. Combined with the symbolism of the flower and the suicides of the lead male roles in the novel and the film, the women regain control of their own lives and outlive the men in the novel and film who succumb to death.

Advertisements

Bride and Prejudice

1 Analysis of the Book

As with most of Jane Austen’s novels, the theme of love is most prevalent with social standing being the supporting theme to the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice. Throughout the novel both Darcy and Elizabeth must overcome obstacles in the way of their love like Elizabeth’s social standing for Darcy and Darcy’s bad first impression for Elizabeth. They also face the possible corruption of their relationship through the interference of other characters for their own selfish reasons. Through the thee of love Austen is able to dictate to the readers that only through the abandonment of social conventions as a way to find a mate and the mediation of outside forces and opinions can love be formed.

 

2 Analysis of the Film

Through the extrasensory extravaganza that is Bride and Prejudice the theme of love delayed by cultural and circumstances is the focus of the movie. Darcy and Lalita seem to the audience to be perfect for one another, but because of other people’s desires they are kept angry and distant from one another. The theme of cultural acceptance is another major theme as the love between Darcy and Lalita would not be able to develop is Darcy didn’t put aside his irrational dislike of India and Indians in general and learn to accept Lalita for the independent Indian woman she is, while Lalita needed to show her parents that a white American is not an unsuitable mate based solely on his heritage.

 

3 Analysis of the Adaptation

Unlike the novel, the Bollywood production seems to introduce more theatrics to the plot. This can be seen in situations like the fight between Darcy and Johnny when they are fighting in time with a fight on the screen of a Bollywood production and extreme situations involving Johnny where he had already got Georgina pregnant then wanted to date Lakhi. There are also slight changes in the challenges that face Darcy and Lalita as opposed to the ones which face Darcy and Elizabeth in the novel, such as ethnicity and race. While Darcy is wealthy and owns his own business allowing him to be able to support Lalita, he is American and often speaks bad about India and Indians which impedes their relationship since Darcy had to prove himself to Lalita, though Darcy had to reclaim his presence with Elizabeth after his bad first impression as well in the novel.

 

 

4 Online Research

http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/06-mathur.php

This source looks at how the director of the movie meshed American cinema with Indian cinema to replicate the book in a culturally hybrid way.

 

http://susanmcmovies.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/pride-and-prejudice-vs-bride-and-prejudice/

This source is a blog post comparing the American movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Bride and Prejudice as well as each movie with the source text.

 

http://www.futureleaders.com.au/young_writers/pdf/What_Difference_Writing/Sara_McCasker.pdf

This source compares the social standings of women within the time Austen wrote her novel and customs of Indian women within families. It also talks about cultural assumptions which can be matched with the novel’s assumption based on class. The idea of marriage and love is also discussed in terms of the differing opinions characters based on its function in society and within a person’s life. The analysis also discusses the adaption of Lalita from Elizabeth as modern thinking independent women.

 

 

5 Critical Argument

The issue of the book Pride and Prejudice and the movie it was subsequently based off of, Bride and Prejudice, can be taken into two different ways as both have strong female leads who are independent, but ultimately succumb to marriage, though their marriage does not interfere with their ability to be self sufficient making this a feminist text. While both Elizabeth and Lalita both marry their love interests eventually, they do so in a way that is not compromising to their womanhood or independence as a person. Throughout both plots the women stay strong in their convictions and do not allow them to be influenced by opinions which they feel have no ground and marry only when they feel their partner has proved themselves and is reliable. The ability to choose a partner for a woman in the 18th century is almost unheard of, since the cultural custom was for the parents of the man and the parents of the woman to come to an agreement of how a marriage between their children would be beneficial to each family and to the children being wed. This shows Elizabeth to be a very strong woman full of convictions which she whole heartedly believes to be true or she would have went for a safer bet in marriage and allowed her mother to set her up with a man she found suitable for her daughter, instead of Elizabeth choosing to be with Darcy after she believed he proved himself to be a good person. The same idea goes for Lalita who very easily could have allowed her parents to set her up with a man to marry, but instead she showed herself able to forgive, give second chances to a man who didn’t seem perfect at first, but was able to show her his worth and give her the ability to choose her own spouse. Though each woman ended up married, they set their own conditions for the marriage and their own standards for a mate showing that they have self-worth and confidence which gives them the power to choose their own fates and husbands.

Tristram Shandy

Tristram Shandy

 

  1. Analysis of the Book: The most prevalent theme of this novel is how an author has the ultimate ability to control the timeline of their story, the events highlighted, and the overall momentum of the plot and the way in which the story is presented to the audience. The main character, Tristram Shandy gives the audience his opinion in a lot of cases and skips from present day events back to his conception and childhood due to his authorial rights. His ability to skip to events before he was even born shows the authorial power he possesses and believes he is able to use to make a believable story and lot. 

 

 

  1. Analysis of the Film:

The almost unfilmable movie about a movie about a book about writing a book was made to show how each of the modern day representations of the 18th century novel’s characters interact. With British humor and subtle bickering, such as the Coogan insisting that his shoes made him taller than his co-star, because he was the lead, British humor permeates the film throughout. The focus is on Coogan who plays Shandy, though through screen time and wit the other characters force their way into the spotlight, if only for a moment. The film seems to know that it is almost impossible to recreate a book that has little streamlined plot, and though British humor makes fun of this.

 

 

  1. Analysis of the adaptation:

The plot changes from Tristram Shandy writing an autobiographical book to making a movie about a book that is almost un-filmable, though digressions of the characters are still very present. The movie keeps the absurdity alive with quotes from Coogan like “This is a postmodern novel before there was any modernism to be post about.” The movie about a movie about a book about writing a book changes the focus of the stream of consciousness of Shandy to a broader focus of all the characters and their quirks. The change in visuality and the broader focus keeps the plot different enough to not repeat the book, while retaining some of the intricacies of the novel where it delves into characters personal opinions.

 

4: Online research on the film:

http://www.shmoop.com/tristram-shandy/

This critique was a little on the absurd side, but they make a point to note that the plot itself was absurd since Shandy set out to tell his autobiographic story on the first page, but did not even get close until the end of the novel. It also make an interesting point that it can be interpreted as a postmodern-classic or a backward looking novel based on learned wit.

 

http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/elab/hfl0259.html

This source focuses on the novel becoming a meta text and hypertext which forces the reader to participate in the conversation since Shandy has conversations with the reader by breaking the fourth wall.

 

http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/exhibns/month/oct2000.html 

This source from The University of Georgia focuses on how Shandy jumps around through the story to disassociate the audience from Shandy as a reliable narrator. The source also highlights the realization of Shandy that he is unreliable, as he rethinks his ability to understand the world around him and himself as a person. The stream of consciousness effect that Shandy was going for falls flat of its full potential, though it does open up this literary technique to authors to experiment with since it was one of the first to implement this. 

 

 

 

  1. Critical Argument: 

Each author has the ability to tell their story as they choose and allows for the creation of diversity among plot lines whether they be in novels or movies, however the defense that any stroke of inspiration or random impulse to add information into a text can confuse the audience to the point of losing interest. Shandy jumps through his own life events ranging from the present to his childhood and to even before he was born, digressing into details that do not progress the plot and overall shift the focus from the making of the movie about Shandy’s life which was introduced as the Shandy’s reason for telling the story. While some of these random associations build a bridge to other thoughts of Shandy and can give more insight on who he is as a person, they also digress into rants or opinions that do not help the plot and add to the futility he feels latter on. The power Shandy possesses is further complicated as he is a creation of Sterne, which, if merely being an author gives them the power being believable, than everything Tristram says would be doubly believable because Sterne as an author is standing behind what Tristram and an author is saying as this plot was widely hailed as the portrait of an author. This is complicated through the stream of consciousness effect that allows the audience to know everything Tristram is saying, which ultimately leads to his conclusion that the audience fell into “a cock and bull story.”

The Tempest

1 Theme in play: How a just act can turn unjust with the wrong motives. Prospero seeks to take back the throne he rightfully owned, which was usurped by his brother. Though Prospero knows what it is like to have power taken away from oneself, he enslaves people and spirits like Ariel and Caliban and does not treat them well, threatening them both if they don’t do what he wants. This kind of poisoning of justice shows that even if a act starts off justly it can be twisted into something that becomes selfish and wicked. 

 

2 Theme in film: Prospero is a puppeteer to the rest of the characters and creates the events they undergo and their endings like the director would have done for the movie. One of the first demonstrations of Prospero as puppeteer or director is her being behind Miranda and Ferdinand first meeting. Miranda met Ferdinand because Prospero summoned Ariel to wreck the ship in the water and lead the people on board onto the island and to isolate Ferdinand from the rest of the crew.

 

3 Analysis of the Adaptation: 

Though the part of puppeteer and Prospero was changed to be played by a woman from the original book it did not change the meaning of the relationship between Prospero and Miranda too much to the point that the meaning was lost. Another interesting casting choice was Russell Brand as Trinculo. I must add that Russell Brand as Trinculo was a stroke of brilliance and added even more humor to a scene which was intended to illicit a laugh. It was unexpected, but perfect casting.

 

 

4 Research:

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/25/opinion/la-oe-carson-shakespeare-20101225

http://directionsofgender.blogspot.com/2012/06/prosperaprospero.html

This source speaks on the relation of a female being in control over male servants like Ariel and Caliban as opposed to the originally intended Prospero being in control over male servants.

 

http://www.academia.edu/2264602/From_Prospero_to_Prospera_Female_Empowerment_in_Taymors_The_Tempest

This is a scholarly review and analysis of the change of Prospero to Prospera in the Julie Taymor’s film version of The Tempest by Shakespeare. Some of the most valid points from this source come from the inclusion of information about witchcraft and the popular beliefs of the time since Prospera was exiled for her use of witchcraft. 

 

http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy-um.researchport.umd.edu/ehost/detail?vid=4&sid=56fd6371-afcd-4943-8e2b-1be875e2b3a3%40sessionmgr111&hid=127&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=J0E062760135010

This source is most valuable because it directly addresses a major difference in Prospera’s power versus Prospero’s power as Prospero was more concerned with his studies than committing himself to government issues as s duke should. This results in his overthrow and exile as his brother saw Prospero’s lack of attention to political matters and overthrew him due to this, while Prospera was more overtly wronged as she was due the thrown, but because she was gaining too much power from her study and knowledge of spells, was cheaply exiled through the accusation of her being a witch. This shows the gender politics that played through the film version of the Tempest as Prospera was exiled based on her gender, which effects the relationships she has with each other character, instead of a person downfall, such as Prospero’s lack of awareness.

 

 

5 Critical argument: 

Though the gender of Prospero was switched from male to female the meaning of the play remained in tact, the relationship between Miranda and Prospero was changed from a protective and vengeful father to a more complicated one of a mother who wants more for her daughter than to marry the only man she has seen besides her father, Caliban, but does not want to lose her too quickly. The dynamic changes not only between Prospera and Miranda, but also between Caliban and Prospera and Ariel and Prospera as now it is not a male holding power over male servants, but a female, who through gender politics should have less power than men, holds power and knowledge over both her male servants. It is a much different situation, considering the times, to have a female teaching a male character than a make to teach a male as it is shown in both the play and film that Prospero/a says in Act 1 Scene 2 to Caliban “Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee/In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate/The honor of my child.” The same power is shown again when Prospero/a chides Ariel for speaking against his master as both Prospera and Prospero say “Dost thou forget/From what a torment I did free thee?” in Act 1 Scene 2, though the power this imbues a woman is uncharacteristic for a work of Shakespeare and changes the relationship to one which highlights the gender differences. As a mother, Prospera is inherently protective of her daughter, though so was Prospero, giving the only real change of motivation behind Prospera’s choice for Miranda to marry Ferdinand to be to give her daughter the life she herself was intended to have. Prospera mentions that when her husband dies he gives the throne to her instead of his brother, though she is soon exiled after being accused to be a witch. The denial of prominency and power that Prospera underwent gives her separate motivation to arrange marriage for Miranda with a man of royalty as a way to give her the life she never had, but should, while Prospera’s act of arranging a marriage with a man of royal blood would bee seen as a way of ensuring his daughter’s welfare since he was never denied power because of the loss of his spouse, but instead because of his brother’s lust for power. The updated version of this play allows for a more accessible way to understand Shakespeare and the substitution of a woman for a traditionally  male part allows the female audience to relate with a work of Shakespeare who usually gives all the power to the male leads.

Anomalies in The Tropic of Orange

During my reading of the Tropic of Orange the question that kept arising within me and had me most interested in, is why was their one singular orange tree which grew out of season? What does that symbolize?
Does this have anything to do with the other anomalies which overtake the novel?

Does this have any relation to multiculturalism? In my head I was able to link the two different kinds of oranges with the different ways to deal with different cultures and ways to deal with multiculturalism, with the orange that kills being a symbol of intolerant people who do not accept anyone outside of the norm or their own ethnic background/culture and the orange that heals being the people who mend the broken bonds between cultures that are created by those who are intolerant.

What do you think? How do the anomalies and magical happenings relate to the idea of multiculturalism?

What does the phrase “Crystal Frontier” mean?

As a huge motivator behind this novel, Carlos Fuentes used his political career and the North American Free Trade Agreement as a catapult into this novel, The Crystal Frontier. The stereotype for Mexico encompassed all things negative; polluted, cheap, and lazy, among other unfavorable characteristics, which lead to Americans widely unsupportive of NAFTA. The general consensus, was ‘how could the Mexican people help Americans?’ So to get support for the NAFTA pact the media began to use the negative stereotypes against the American public. For instance they would say, “Don’t you think you can compete with the Mexicans?’ who were paid extremely low wages for hard work. American’s responded with yes we could and most of the public opinion changed to be in favor of the pact or at last to not oppose it so harshly. So now knowing the context surrounding the NAFTA pact and how opposed Americans were to this agreement with Mexico, how do you think this shapes the phrase and name of this novel, ‘The Crystal Frontier’? Do you think the word crystal means to suggest an ability to see through the political jargon surrounding Mexican and American relations, or being able to see into the political goings on, but being deceived through reflections of the media perceptions which educated the public. Like a crystal which refracts many different distracting colors, did the media play a part in convoluting the NAFTA pact and in doing so, convoluting the relations between Mexico and America as countries and as individual people. Is the name satiric? What do you think?