Give up fishing, and I will make you a fisher of Man

I know this was briefly mentioned in a reply here on the blog, but after reading the last part of the Passion Play, I really stopped to think more about this idea of the “Fish” and what they might represent. As I was pondering over this idea, I remembered a brilliant clip from the Bible series on the history channel.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx_GqIIkKOY[/youtube]

As I was reading the third part in the play when P had killed a fish I started thinking about the disciples and how most of them would die for what they believed in and for spreading the Gospel. The fish in the three plays come in at strange and abnormal times, but I started to think about how each of the three parts want the play to mean something specific for that time period. Part 1 is more religiously focused on the story line, part two is more focused on the political agenda of the time period and part three is focused one war and a psychological look into the main character (P). Of course there is more going on underneath those three points, but there are a few added ideas meant to stand out in, possibly, abnormal ways, such as the “red sky,” “fish,” and “wind.”
But maybe, when P does kill the fish and all of a sudden more fish puppets appear, that would mean that the slaying of one “fish” gives rise to more. Kind of like how when Jesus dies, there are more converts because of His resurrection. Or how disciples die, but their spreading of the Gospel provided more converts so they did not die in vain.

Could it be that the red sky represents the sacrifice of Jesus, could it be that the fish represent the disciples/followers of Christ, could it be the wind represents the holy spirit?
Considering the frequency these three ideas are mentioned, I can’t help but wonder if they denote a biblical connotation.

Role Playing

When I was younger (and just finished reading the above book), I was in the middle of an argument with my mother and I told her how she was just playing a “maternal role” and she naturally was upset with me and this idea of her emotions are just part of her and linked to her ‘role’ in life.

I can’t help but wonder how significant “roles” are in the Passion Play and how the roles affect the character’s real lives. In Part 1, the characters are heavily drawn to the characters they play, however in Part two we see some separation for most of the characters between who they are as individuals and the characters they play.

However, I am curious about “roles” in general, even in daily life. I read a book called New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and here is a little excerpt to what I am referencing in this post:
“What really matters is not what function you fulfill in this world, but whether you identify with your function to such an extent that it takes you over and becomes a role that you play. When you play roles you are unconscious. When you catch yourself playing a role, that recognition creates a space between you and the role” (p. 90).
In Part 2, when Eric is told that a soldiers boots are real and the play is not real, could this be the recognition that is mentioned in the above quote that is enough to separate Eric from the play and prompt him to join the Nazi’s?

And so, can we separate ourselves from what identifies us as “Sarah” or “John,” or are we always connected to a certain identity, a certain “role”?

Sarah’s Bridge to the blog

Today in class, we broke down four essential pieces to thinking critically about a literary text: Text, Author, Context, and Reader. After looking at the Alice in Wonderland text as well as reading background information about the author, we began to dissect these four points pertaining to Alice in Wonderland.
For Text, we understand that it intended to be nonsense, there was a struggling with the title, the story was originally an oral story, the Alice illustration in the book is different than the real Alice, and lastly, the production was in the afternoon.
Next, we moved on to the Reader(s) which were the Liddell family (and Carroll’s separation from them), religious schools, hospitals, and children.
We then examined the Context of Alice and with the help of our assigned readings of letters sent to and from Dodgson, we develop a deeper meaning of the text. To name a few, we discussed that Dodgson studied at Oxford where he was a professor/tutor. Two big things we noted was the Cult of the Child, Dodgson’s sexuality, and his interest in photography.
Lastly, we looked at the Author (and this did tie quite a bit in with the context). To name a few, we looked at the fact he was humorous, religiously trained, eccentric, proper/stiff, perfect memory, OCD, and has difficulty with faces. Most importantly, we noted his relations with women/girls/children as friends.
Once we separated the facts into these four categories, I felt that I was able to then look at Alice in Wonderland in a slightly different way. On page 253, Dodgson states, “the tutor should be dignified, and at the distance from the pupil, and the pupil should be as much as possible degraded- otherwise, you know, they are not humble enough.” Carroll doesn’t believe in rote institutions and degradation and so we see in Alice in Wonderland that the central character stands up against these ‘institutions.’ Alice defiantly goes against the Queen in the courtroom when she says “Stuff and nonsense!” when the Queen declares a sentence before the verdict. And when the Queen tells Alice to “Hold her tongue,” Alice shouts, “who cares for you? You’re nothing but a pack of cards (95).” I enjoyed the insights through Dodgson’s letters and saw how they weaved themselves into the text at hand. However, I personally don’t feel insights such as questionable pedophile behavior by Dodgson provides a connection, or insight, with the Alice in Wonderland text. I enjoyed this child-like, nonsense book just the way it was and didn’t feel the need to look at the text through the lens of what people said about the author. Having said that, I did think that the information provided in one of the letters by Stuart Dodgson Collingwood did provide useful information when looking at the text. For example, his eccentric (101), OCD like behavior,
In considering all that was discussed in today’s lecture and all the new information about the author’s background, what I felt was most interesting was the hypothetical question that Dr. Scanlon provided today: “if an author was a murderer or shot at school children, would we be able to look at their text with unbiased eyes. In other words, can we ‘separate the art?’”
Alice Liddell
Dodgson and Alice
Some may say that they could not look at the text the same way, but others argue that for some reason, they will always enjoy the text.
I would like to venture out to examples even outside Charles Dodgson and literature and look to celebrities such as Miley Cyrus. Can we look at her the same after her ‘twerking’ fiasco with the foam finger, or will we always remember her in that way and associate her with the memory?
Miley Cyrus
All in all, does the information we are provided about an author, or a celebrity, taint the lens from which we view either literature or them as a performer? Where do we draw the line of what we accept and not accept?

Sarah’s psychoanalyitic analysis of Good Will Hunting

I chose to write my psychoanalytic reading on the film Good Will Hunting. This is one of my favorite films and it shows how much repression can affect one’s life and damage relationships in the future.
The main character, Will Hunting, is a 20 year old janitor who works at MIT. Will went to jail for physically attacking someone who had beaten him up many years earlier. He is an orphan who grew up in various foster homes, where he had been physically abused as a child.

With the help of a professor at MIT, Will is required to meet with a therapist every week to receive psychological help. Will is a very difficult a patient for the various psychologists that the professor asks to help, but eventually the professor goes to his old friend Sean MaGuire, who is teaching psychology at a local community college.

Tyson states that “each [person] has a psychological history that begins in childhood experiences in the family and each with patterns of adolescence and adult behavior that are a direct result of that early experience (12).” The psychoanalytic approach would indicate that Will’s behavior was from his subconscious mind and were impulses from childhood experiences. For example, Will was beaten up in kindergarten by a bully, later on in his life he sees the bully and starts a fight with him. His decision to fight was made subconsciously from an impulse from a childhood experience. When he was a child he was also abused by his parents, but was too young to fight back. Furthermore, Will learned that he could go to court and talk his way out of his situations which did not give him any reason to stop doing what he was doing or confront his issues, thereby only re-enforcing the problems at hand.

Will also experiences fear of intimacy, although he is not able to realize this until he has become in a somewhat “committed relationship” with a woman. Will has always had one time flings, but one particular woman he sees multiple times and becomes head over heels for her. It is not until he breaks off this relationship and confides in his therapist, Sean, about how he has broken up with her and he realizes he is afraid of becoming serious with her. Will only wants someone who is perfect and will never leave him, unlike all of the people who had left him in his past. In being with someone who is “perfect,” which is obviously impossible, he creates a barrier between himself and every other woman, never letting her get too close to him. Will’s fear of abandonment further separates himself from relationships and loved ones because the people who were supposed to unconditionally love him, left him and hurt him (emotionally and physically) at a very young age.

Arguably, I would say that Will experiences displacement when it comes to his romantic life. For example, with the woman that he has fallen head over heels for could be a representative of his mother who had abandoned him at a young age which is another reason for why Will does not want to get seriously involved with her.

The comedy in this film is numerously displayed with the initial therapists professor Lambeau tries to set Will up with. Will, cleverly, reads each of the therapists’ biographies so that he knows exactly what the therapists want to hear in his sessions. This approach allows Will to get away from talking about his underlying feelings. One therapist even tries hypnosis to tap into Will’s subconscious, however, Will does not fall for this trick and won’t be put in a vulnerable position. It is not until the very end when Will is with Sean that the repressed memories come flooding out until they can’t stop. Sean shows Will the pictures of him after he was beaten up by his parents and taken into protective services. Will has never seen these pictures before and this puts him in a very vulnerable place and there is no place he can hide. Sean is different from other therapists and people in his life because he forces Will to either talk, or remain silent for their therapy sessions. Sean is a therapist and a person who cares about Will’s well-being and shows him that he isn’t going anywhere. Finally, once Will has seen the pictures and can no longer deny all the emotions he has bottled up, the tears come out and the healing begins.

‘Great’ Gatsby, or not so ‘Great’?

I wanted to create a new post separate from my previous post talking about the Great Gatsby film.

In the last scene of the movie, we see Nick just finished writing his novel titled “Gatsby.” However, as he looks back at it, he adds in “The Great Gatsby.”

My question to you all is, was Gatsby really considered “Great” in your eyes? Why or why not…

It is interesting how Nick states that he can’t stand “these people” and was sick of everyone, yet he also tells Gatsby that he is better than the whole bunch. Could it possibly be that Gatsby is so great to Nick because he does have romantic feelings got Gatsby or is he great for other concrete reasons? Maybe even consider what makes someone Great…

Just a thought…let me know what you all think!

Great Gatsby Movie

I just watched the Great Gatsby film and I thought I would share my thoughts here tonight!

I absolutely loved all the colors shown in the film, everything was so bright and extravagant. I also thought the actor choices were wonderful and everyone fit their part.

What is so interesting about seeing a film after reading the book the film is based on, is to see if the director chooses to follow the story line, or make the film his own. I felt that this film was very closely followed to the book. The addition to how Nick tells the story about Gatsby was a very smart move by the director. Not only does it make sense to have Nick see a psychiatrist and re-tell this story, it also makes sense after all the traumatic experiences he witnessed and was a part of.

While it is phenomenal to see a film after reading the novel, this is where a lot of people tend to either be overly critical if similarities or differences. This might result in someone completely discarding a great film (in my opinion) or even a good film because of preconceived opinions about how something should be. And I know we have discussed on our class about letting our emotions or our stories affect the way we read or interpret a novel (or in this case a film).

I, personally, agreed with all the decisions taken to produce this film. I especially felt that Dr. Eckelburg surpassed my expectations for how the author would bring this into the film. Furthermore, the portrayal of the valley of ashes and how clear it is that this is a complete wasteland through the use of the gray and smoke shown all through the land. The only color is the poster or Dr. Eckelburg and the colorful cars that pass through.

The main thing I don’t agree with is how Nick appears so casual in getting involved in helping Daisy and Gatsby and also being involved its Mrytle and Tom. It is one thing to read about his thoughts and feelings and observations, but it is another thing to actually see how he reacts and feels to this lifestyle and the secrets.

All in all, great film. I enjoyed it very much, even though I am sad Leo had to die in the end..

Themes/Symbols

I would like to argue that Fitzgerald  intends for Gatsby’s dream to be a symbol of the American Dream which pursues for a wealthy lifestyle. In this pursuit for wealth, the characters also fight for eternal youth. Gatsby believes that if a person makes enough money that he can buy anything. He thinks his wealth can erase the last five years of his and Daisy’s life and reunite them at the point at which he left her before he went away to the war. This fantasy shows how Gatsby is not only in constant pursuit of wealth, but once acquired, he is now in the pursuit of youth from the time when him and Daisy were young and in love. Similarly, Americans have a tendency to believe that if we have enough money, we can buy our happiness.

When I read this book for my 9th grade English class, we discussed at length how Fitzgerald places in between the New York City and the Egg Islands, the Valley of Ashes. The Valley of Ashes represents the corruption, whereas New York and the Egg Islands represent wealth. T.J. Eckelberg, representing the omniscience of God, is numerously referenced in this novel, particularly over the Valley of Ashes. I interpret that he is ashamed of mankind’s corrupt morals and pursuance of wealth which ultimately causes the ashheaps/wasteland below (as a representation for his visible disappointment).

When Gatsby’s dream is crushed by Daisy’s refusal to forget the past or deny that she has ever loved Tom, Fitzgerald is stating that the American Dream of wealth ultimately ends in destruction. One concrete historical example of this is lifestyle of the wealthy during the 1920s filled with eternal youth and parties, closely followed by the stock market crash and the Great Depression of the 1930s.