While reading Hayles, the same kinds of concepts were reinforced that we studied at the beginning of the semester. Hayles is obviously for Digital Media and supports her claims with scientific evidence but also experiences that are relateable by readers. Specifically I enjoyed the comparison between parents and children on pages 93-94, which suggested that parents are concerned with the amount of time that their children are on the computer, however in the long run what they don’t realize is it will benefit them. Hayles states “Interactive text stimulates, at the same moment, the language centers of the brain and other cortical functions not usually mobilized in conventional print reading, including fine motor movements, involved in controlling the mouse, keyboard or joystick, haptic feedback through the hands and fingers, and complex hand eye coordination in a real-time dynamic environment”(Hayles, 93). Hayles goes on to suggest that children who engage in computer activity at a young age, affects the neurological structures of the brain differently than those who have not had experience with the computer at an early age. She goes on to further suggest that studies indicate that children who have had this experience including long hours on the computer show “different cognitive styles” than their parents who have experience with mostly print (Hayles, 93). Hayles brings up a good point when she suggests that young children become more familiar with computers and have a complex understanding of the computer and the way that it works. In fact they often have an easier time than the older generations (Hayles, 94).
I really related to this idea because I can remember in elementary, middle and high school taking computer classes that would teach different things to do on the computer. My parents had no experience in school with computers and often reference that the only thing close to a computer that they had experience with was a type writer, which in no way is similar to a computer. In addition, I find that I know way more about computers and programs on computers than my parents do because they are on the computer for email or search Google quickly and then there off, while I read on the computer and search databases and many different complex tasks that would blow their mind. I think Hayles is moving in the direction of a digital media age and supports this shift. Technology is the way of the future, it seems as though she encourages individuals to join the cause and accept this idea instead of throwing it out the window. Hayles also suggests that in today’s society adolescents prefer internet, and mp 3 data instead of reading books. I also agree with this idea, however I think that more and more individuals are reading books just not in print, they are engaging in reading through kindles or online, which is the way of the future.
While I was reading Chronic City, I found myself questioning the reliability of the narrator. Was this really Chase? There are many times throughout the book that it seems as though there is a shift. At one point Chase narrators in the first person and other times it is questionably, Chase narrating in the third person or perhaps a switch and the voice of the actual narrator is revealed, or maybe both. I first encountered this idea on page 76, which says, “These were the offices of Starbo Blandiana, the celebrated master of European medicine, who catered almost exclusively to the starts—Chase Insteadman had been in his care since that time, ten years past, when he had qualified as something of a star himself” (76). This quote suggests that this Eastern medicine specialist has cared for Chase; however, the use of Chases’s name makes this feel like a switch in narration. Unless perhaps Chase is addressing himself as the third person, which in this case does not really make sense. If this is a switch in narration, this idea also caters to the fact that Chase was previously qualified as a star and is not currently. When Chase is narrating in the first person he does somewhat question is star like qualities and attribute most of them to his fiancée, this could support the idea that Chase is addressing himself in the third person.
The second instance is on page 80. After the shift on page 79 it seems as though Chase has taken over narration again, or at least I thought so. But in the middle of page 80 it reads “How had it come to this? How had I been allowed to persuade him? Puttylike Chase Insteadman, so eagerly enlisted in absurd causes — Chase had talked Perkus into this”(80). This particular section really enhances the idea that reliability is not present throughout the text. First when Chase is addressed in the third person, it seems like it is himself narrating. He is questioning himself like Puttylike Chase (me) actually talked him into this, almost like he is shocked with himself. Then I thought this had to be Chase narrating in the third person because above it says “ How had I been allowed to persuade him” which he heard about in the very beginning of the book when Chase actually wants to persuade Perkus to visit this Doctor. However at the end is where the shift takes place, it reads “Chase had talked Perkus into this.” This right here blew my mind. Is Chase actually narrating in the third person, which makes it seem like a shift, or is he narrating in the third and first person at times but is there another narrator present? This made me question the reliability of the narrator (whoever that may be). In addition, the shift (if there are separate narrators) occurs within the same sentence, rather than shifting from section to section, which is confusing and annoying at the same time.
Random thoughts: Tiger symbolizes something bigger. Everyone has a Tiger present in his or her lives that represents something personal. For example, Perkus’s headaches are his Tiger. In addition, this idea that Chase’s girlfriend is lost in space seems unrealistic. I was unable to connect with this idea.
Through my process of drafting, I am still trying to decide what exactly to use. I have some interesting (or at least I think there interesting), ideas about the tableaux in Melancholia as well as many different scenes throughout the film. I am working with Freud’s Mourning and Melancholia in which he suggests that the primary feelings of Melancholia are “painful dejection, cessation of interest in the outside world, loss of the capacity to love, inhibition of all activity, and a lowering of the self-regarding feelings to a degree that finds utterance in self-reproaches, and self-revilings, and culminates in a delusional aspect of punishment.” I am also looking at the idea that mourning and melancholia are somewhat the same idea and when undergoing feelings of either the patient cannot “consciously” acknowledge what they have lost either.
Along with this theory I have made connections to Melancholia in the sense that Justine is suffering from depression and in this case Melancholia. She has lost interest in the outside world pertaining to society, unable to be “happy” at her wedding because she is well aware of the events to come, does not partake in any activities and is unable to partake in basic activities (needs instructions on how to get into the cab), along with this she also partakes in a view of the world that would prove opposite of Freud’s suggestion of a “delusional aspect of punishment.” This idea suggests that the patient suffering from depression is forming unrealistic expectations of punishment, however Justine is realistic in this sense. The definition of realism that I am working with is as follows ““ based on an accuracy of description and to a more general attitude that rejects idealization, escapism, and other extravagant qualities of romance in favor of recognizing soberly the actual problems of life”( Oxford Literary Terms, 212). I think this specifically applies to Justine because she is seeing the world for what it actually occurring even though everything is morbid and everyone else may think she is delusional. Claire actually fits the description for delusional act of punishment in regards to her thinking because Justine views her as being punished since she is unable to cope with this idea that the world is ending.
I am also looking at Shaviro’s piece on the Romantic Anit- Sublime, he makes points about depression suggesting that by bringing attention to Justine’s emotions the audience can treat her depression as the proper state of being, or the right state of mind for this situation. I am looking at Matts and Tynan’s idea that Melancholia the film is Environmental, focusing on Justine’s depression and supports the idea that Justine is going through this situation properly. They examine the film and discuss ideas that are as follows, we do not see Justine in a “normal” state and her comments about Earth itself, suggesting its evil. I am also considering Figlerowicz’s piece, which explains Melancholia is a “Comedy of Abandonment,” in which the audience reads too much into the film and no analysis should be made. Von Trier is playing tricks on his audience, evoking the feeling of analysis, however when you take part in the analysis you are reading too much into the events.
I am arguing that the Tableaux serve as a different point at which Justine had the realization that the world was ending and focus on her ideas of rejecting survival and embracing Melancholia. I am also looking at the following scenes… The scene where Justine and everyone are finally going in to her own reception and she stops to look at the “Red Star,” (Melancholia), The scene where she is going to the bathroom on the golf course and first sits in the golf cart and stares at the sky in appreciation and then proceeds to go to the bathroom in which she engages in the same activity, the scene where she is lying naked embracing Melancholia and the three things these scenes have in common is the shift from Justine’s face to the planet showing their intense connection. I am looking at a few more scenes but I need to narrow them down. Should I focus on the Tableaux in addition to three scenes or just the tableaux? Suggestions welcomed.
While watching Beginners I saw many different elements in relationships with different characters. Oliver and his father, Oliver’s Parents, Oliver and his mother, Oliver and Anna and the dog. Oliver’s father preoccupies most of his memory. Although his father has passed Oliver, looks back on many different occasions that he has with his father. It seems like Oliver has accepted his father no matter what. Oliver’s father tells Oliver that he is gay and brings around his boyfriend. One image that sticks out in my mind is when Oliver is at the hospital with his father and Andy walks in. Andy kisses his father and Oliver is just staring. I think Oliver is realizing that his father is truly happy, finally able to be himself. Oliver’s mother and him seemed to have an interesting relationship as well. Specifically when she tells Oliver that he can go into his room and scream as loudly as he can and it will make him feel better, and the scene where she looks into his room and pretends to shoot him, saying bang your dead or something along those lines. Oliver and his mother seem to have a playful bond together. It was also interesting that the idea of you point ill drive followed Oliver into his relationship with Anna. It was almost like he saw some of his mothers qualities in Anna.
Anna and Oliver is the relationship that rather boggles my mind a little bit. The two of them meet at a party and Anna is not speaking. She calls Oliver and without talking Oliver manages to meet up with her. It seemed kind of weird that no matter what Anna was “saying” without verbally speaking, Oliver knew exactly what she was talking about, or appeared to know anyways. I thought for the longest time that she was unable to speak. I thought it was interesting through the role playing exercise when Anna and Oliver are on the phone and Anna is her dad and Oliver is Anna, Anna felt comfortable to open up about personal things affecting her life. Another interesting element was the dog. He had his own thoughts and feelings throughout the whole movie. It was also an interesting dynamic that Oliver seemed to understand the dogs thoughts, even though no actual talking was heard. The audience was given subtitles as a way into the mind of the dog, which he seemed to have an opinion about many things.
Oliver was a very melancholic character, which I think is because he is mourning. He rarely showed any emotion. When thinking of anything, even Anna. When thinking about his parents he started to write the “History of Sadness” which I thought was weird. Another interesting parallel was that his mother found out she was Jewish at the age of 13 and his father realized he was gay at the age of 13. For both of Oliver’s parents the age of 13 was an unforgettable time. Each one had their own negative experiences with their characteristics. His father for example had to hide the fact that he was gay because Homosexuality was considered a mental illness, and his mother was kicked off the swim team for being Jewish. It seemed like throughout the whole film Oliver has these flash backs to remember the times he had with both of his parents who were now dead, I think Anna was someone who could help fill a void inside of him.
Throughout the whole book, I found it important to recall information from previous sections to make sense of the information that was being thrown at me. I find it was pointless to really include background information about Joe and Mitch. I feel as though they each played a little role within the whole novel. At the end of Mitch’s chapter, we realize that he has the money that Angelique needs to get Simon out of jail. However, the whole point of his 50 something page chapter was pointless until the very last sentence when he explains that he has the money. Joe’s chapter as well was interesting. I could see the link more with Joe, I guess than I can with Mitch. I think the point is somewhat suggesting that although not everyone had a major role in the Simon situation each person is linked somehow. Joe is Sam’s dad, Anna’s husband. Simon has been unhealthy thinking about Anna when he hasn’t seen her for at least 10 years. Joe is the one who was supposed to pick up Sam and is seeing Angelique, Mitch works with Joe and also sees Angelique and now has money that she needs to help Simon. Angelique is seeing Joe, Mitch, and Simon she is somewhat responsible for Simon’s kidnapping. She didn’t question his reasoning for wanting to know all the personal details about Anna’s life. Alex I cannot stand. He is supposed to be the psychiatrist however; he is going through problems of his own but cannot seem to maintain a professional relationship with anyone. He drinks with Simon and later sleeps with his lawyer. I think it is very interesting that Alex, Simon and Angelique are hopeful that Anna will spin a story that suggests that she was having an affair with Simon, that could potentially end her already ruined marriage. Nevertheless I don’t think as a mother she believes Simon is mentally stable and would be willing to risk the safety of her child again when she had no idea that he would be the one to steal Sam after all these years.
Throw up: Simon’s parents do not really seem to want to help Simon. They have let him go for some time now. Instead of letting him get worse they should have intervened they knew he was living by himself unemployed. Alex as Simon’s psychiatrist should have seen warning signs and took actions to prevent and treat these symptoms instead of trying to fabricate a story that will set Simon free and not even allow him to understand what he did was wrong. I still have a hard time believing that Simon thinks he was wrong because he suggests more than once that he knew it would save Anna and Joe’s marriage. I also found it very disturbing that when Simon’s father finally visited him in prison and was telling the story of when Simon’s mother went to visit Anna all the unanswered questions that his Mother and Father had about Anna and Joe’s personal life Simon was able to answer for them without a sweat. I think Anna and Joe do need to pay more attention to Sam because Simon is right in only one instance, he did save Sam when he fell into the pool and the housekeeper was not watching. If Simon were not there then Sam would have died. While reading Angelique’s story I found her father very creepy. The way he was portrayed and described around young girls was eerie. I also have a problem with Alex because in the first chapter of the book where he is talking to Anna he is basically tearing apart her whole life and shoving it in front of her face, while he is trying to manipulate her into saving Simon. Trying to somehow make her believe that this could be her fault and Simon does not deserve this.
While watching Melancholia I began to feel dizzy from all of the camera shifting and face close-ups, it was awkward. The music was the same throughout the whole film. I find that whenever the music plays, it is symbolizing the Melancholia of different situations. Towards the end of the film it seemed as though when the music played it was during the rejection of the reality that the planet was going to hit. The rejection of the Melancholy state that Justine had lived in for her whole life, which is why she was content with the end of Earth into nothing. Specifically, when Claire realizes the planet is going to hit she tries to “escape” on the golf cart and the music starts playing. I am thinking that Earth symbolizes reality (Logic) and Melancholia symbolizes depression (illusion). Justine’s idea of reality is perceived as an illusion. Justine actually had the correct perception of reality while everyone else was living in denial.
This film seems to suggest that Melancholia is not only a state of depression, but also a planet. Symbolically the planet represents depression… (I think) Anyways in the first half of the film entitled Justine, we learned that she shows up late to her own reception, while everyone begs her to be happy. She pretends but ultimately cannot shake her Melancholy feelings that consume her life. It is not until the second half of the film that I thought Justine was psychic. She was able to “see things” that others could not. For example when she tells her sister how many beads were in the bottle that no one guessed. In addition, when Claire lies about where John is the look on Justine’s face suggests that she knows the truth. I think Justine’s depression consumed her for the simple fact that she was able to see what was actually going to happen. She knew that this planet was going to collide with Earth all along, I think she may have felt that she should not endure the stress in her life nonetheless add to it by being married, which caused her to end her marriage on the night of her reception. Claire played an interesting role throughout the film as well. It seems as though the sisters had no relationship with each of their parents, and Claire takes on the mother role. She cares for Justine the same way a mother would her daughter. The relationship between Justine and her sister is most interesting to me. They fight like sisters, except Claire has to be the bigger person at all times and keep Justine in check. At the end of the film, the roles seem to reverse and Justine is now comforting Claire.
Playing around with ideas…
The idea of the planet crashing into Earth symbolizes what happens when depression takes over your life. Melancholia symbolizes depression and is referenced to as the planet that hides behind the sun, or darkness, when you have depression you are in the dark. John takes his life and leaves his wife and child to die without him. John is optimistic at first and calms everyone down, it seems as though Justine knows this all along and instead of ruining everyone’s ideas she keeps her comments to herself,, knowing that eventually the truth will be revealed and in the meantime she can just prepare herself.
While reading this text I could not help but think at some points if I was sold or still unsure about different things presented to me. I think personally for me as a reader I was somewhat isolated at first due to all of the Spanish embedded within the text. I have not taken Spanish in a long time so it took time and broke my “flow” to use a translator to get a better understanding of the dialogue. I think there are different ways to consider the aspects of the text when deciding what to believe. Primarily the idea of the Fuku, which is revisited throughout the whole text. I think that each culture has their own “Fuku” that they believe in. While reading the text I got the feeling that this was a sort of superstition, present within their culture. It seems as though the author (Yunior) is going to sell us on this idea by providing us with examples dated back to great grandparents showing the readers that this curse is real and ruined a family.
Second, there is the actual accounts that are given to prove this curse to be true. I guess that pertains to the readers themselves. How superstitious are you? Is the story somewhat believable? I can only speak for myself, so in regards to learning about the great grandparents I believe that the government controlled everyone and the people feared what could come from the government. I believe in the idea that Abelard was taken from his family and it was all a misunderstanding however, he was never given the chance to clear his name. The foreign government is no joke. I also think the believable comes from how the author portrays the real. Is it something we can believe? Could it be true? Alternatively, is it completely impossible? Wood I am revisiting you again. It is believable that family members were killed and a girl was orphaned, however it is the individual stories of each family member that require the reader to make the decision of whether or not to decide if the raw truth is unbelievable but true, or if it is just not possible. Again I think it goes back to whole idea of this curse and whether or not you believe in such things.
I am still questioning the authenticity of the story in which one of the sisters died from a bullet in her head while she was praying, it seems a little bit ironic. As well as the one sister who died from suicide in a pool, that was only two feet deep. I think that Oscar had it hard for most of his life being an outcast and would embed his fantasy world into the actual reality but imagining himself as one of the heroes from his video games saving the recent girl he had fallen in love with. I am unsure if I like Yunior or not. As much as he used Oscar to get to Lola and because he was not going to have a place to live it seemed as though he ended up caring for him as a true friend. I think also that possibly the idea of the Fuku was a way to shift the blame from himself on something else, for the reason why he was fat and “got no girls”. Instead of trying to fix the problem, it was easier to assume that his family was cursed and there was no possibly way of overcoming this. The ending of the book is where I really question realism. Oscar has died and the author then tells everyone that he did lose his virginity. I feel like that should have been a major part of the book since it was brought up in almost every chapter. It deserved a little more than a mention and a quick story. In addition, it was mentioned after the author reveals to the reader he died, as a reassurance that he did not die a virgin. Kind of fishy I do not know. It also seems like Lola and her mother had a lot more in common than her mother would like to admit.