Author: allene

The Hamlet and representation

I thought it was interesting, and the narrator pointed this out, that while the nameless extras could be played by Vietnamese people, as they all scream “AIEYAAHHH!!!” (157) but for the Vietnamese characters within the movie The Hamlet that “we could not represent ourselves; we must be represented, in this case by other Asians” (158). I thought this was an interesting parallel to the narrator, as he is a spy and therefore cannot represent his actual feelings, even in the course of the movie, and that people perceive him by the representations of others. It’s said that the Asian actors cast do not even look like who they are supposed to be portraying, and the excuse for acting is just that: an excuse. They would not hire the Vietnamese amateur actors and claimed the professional ones overacted, but the actors like Danny Boy were both amateurs and later commented as having overacted, so they could have easily chosen the Vietnamese actors instead but didn’t. The narrator signed up for the film because he wanted to add his voice but they wouldn’t let him, and denying these actors opportunities is another way in making sure their perspective is not heard.

Physical Development and it’s Impact on Character Development

In the first section of the Autumn chapter, the narrator Claudia describes the incident of her sister experiencing her first period and as a result is now different than them, as “a real person who was ministratin’ was somehow sacred. She was different from us now- grown-up-like.” (32). While Pecola might have achieved physical development before her sisters, her personality does not seem any more “grown up like” in the later chapters for today than it did prior ti that experience, nor does she seem much more “grown up” than her sisters, despite them claiming that she now is. Oftentimes in novels it feels like markers of physical development: reaching puberty or getting a first grey hair etc. correspond with some sort of personal development, but here it does not feel that way, at least not too much.

Image in the novel

The medium by which Fun Home is told is a strange one. It is a self entitled comic, or “tragicomic” on the front cover, and the back cover refers to it as a “graphic memoir”. There are certain elements of the story that change when presented as images with sparse text captions than the bricks of text that typically compose a novel. Some things are gained by adding visuals, for example Bechdel could describe her father’s indifferent and cavalier attitude towards the cadavers, which she does mention, but with the cartoons she can demonstrate how his face and body language is no different expression over a dead body than he does with his family. She could spend chapters upon chapters, if it were written as a text , to describe things: like the house can be represented in a single panel which would’ve taken pages upon pages of writing to get all the specific details of her dad’s excessive collective and restorative efforts, However things are also lost by transferring over to this visual relationship, such as the concept of movement and physical senses besides sight. It’s much harder to express dialogue but easier to demonstrate non verbal cues. I think one important aspect of character then, would be the physical form in which it was created

A play within a plot

When reading the section in Chapter Three on “The Courier’s Tragedy”, I found myself being split on its interpretation. They spend almost 10 whole pages on just retelling the plot with an occasional comment from Oedipa about how it reminds her of her life, so it would seem like it either reflects the plot or is otherwise significant; however, the director of the play rants against trying to find significance in the story, especially against analyzing the written version of it. The plot prior to this point felt convoluted, however the play within the story was seemingly designed to be extremely convoluted, and once again it brings up the question of relevance. Is it’s extremely complex and convoluted plot an indicator of deeper themes or does its parody like feel and needlessly deliberate confusion indicate that it shouldn’t be deeply analyzed as it is intentionally vague. In terms of character, are the characters within the play supposed to be merely characters, or are they supposed to be people in that universe, since Driblette’s reaction to the mere mention of Trystero’s name is extreme and the reaction to the name, the “aura of ritual reluctance here, offstage, as he had on” (62) mean that he has significance for the characters in the book and not just the characters within the play within the book?

Blindness and Anger

The buildup to the Brother’s story about sacrificing his eye is present throughout Chapter 22, culminating in the narrator’s proclamation starting on page 475 “he doesn’t see me. He doesn’t even see me. Am I about to strangle him? […] See! Discipline is sacrifice. Yes and blindness. Yes. And me sitting here while he tries to intimidate me. That’s it, with his goddam blind glass eye”. But before the eye or the notion of not being physically seen is even mentioned in the chapter, the narration is constantly littered with referenced to sight. They have “penetrating eyes” “eyes that were meant to reveal nothing” “eyes narrow” with suspicion and during the sarcastic rant Brother Jack “rubs his eyes”. The various characters language focuses on seeing or not seeing the crowd, and looking at each other’s reactions such as seeing Tobitt enjoy himself with the cigarette, but one recurring way they refer to sight is in knowledge and anger. Phrases like “there you see”, “didn’t you see” “now see here” etc., refer to understanding and knowledge, not literal sight, and they are frequently uttered when the characters are angry. The moments where they have more emotional, angry outbursts are filled with references to sight until the actual sight story is mentioned. The speech about not being able to physically see the narrator when they can’t see his point of view, and ending the argument and chapter with “I looked into his eye. So he knows how I feel. Which eye is really the blind one?” all pointed refer to these themes that were brought up in the prologue. It seems as though commenting on not seeing the other’s perspective is not enough to spark these feelings of invisibility in the narrator, they also always accompany scenes with anger, and the response isn’t just angry but violent. Here he thinks about strangling the brother and in the prologue he actually does strangle someone. Wherever there seems to be feelings of anger or violence, more emphasis is placed on “sight”

“Primacy of Attention” in regards to perspective and character

From the very beginning of the prologue of the Invisible Man, there is a strange dichotomy presented in that, as both the protagonist and first person point of view character, he is the center of our attention as readers, yet within the world of the novel the complete lack of attention people give him renders him effectively invisible, since “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me” (pg 3). This reaches the point that “you doubt if you really exist. You wonder whether you aren’t simply a phantom in other people’s minds” (pg 4). He doesn’t cease to exist when he “becomes” invisible, he can still attack the man on the street or listen to the music of other invisible people, yet this lack of attention or deliberate acts of ignorance makes him doubt his own personhood. When he’s first called invisible it’s because he’s “learned to repress not only his emotions but his humanity. He’s invisible, a walking personification of the Negative” (pg 94). From this view of invisibility, if someone does not recognize your personhood you start lose your personhood. I find this point of view problematic that from this perspective a person is defined by the perceptions of other people and can even become invisible if you are someone deemed by society to not be worth paying attention to, but it is an interesting argument.