Focus on the basics of film analysis and the defining qualities of German Expressionist Cinema. There will, of course, be some stylistic variations between the different directors Roberts discusses.
Revisit the paper prompts and our readings on the gothic. These will likely help you to forge links between otherwise disparate concepts and texts.
Did you read chapter 4 of DOC? What’s the difference between colonialism and neocolonialism?
Sorry, this isn’t a very elegant review. I’ll add further details as time permits.
Since the midterm we’ve covered a fair bit of territory, from postwar “domestic suspense” and film noir to the ghosts haunting American Empire to the struggle to build Paradise (or find asylum) in a fallen and violent world. Each of these focal points serves as an opportunity to see US American history and culture through a dark lens. The ground we inhabit has bones in it. Society’s benign surfaces conceal destructive forces and irrational appetites. The obverse of the Dream is a nightmare, and any effort to understand this nation and its people must confront the chiaroscuro character of US American life.
I meant to put these up weeks ago. Needless to say not all of them are full 10s.
The following paragraphs are responses to the prompt:
The Vegetarian is mainly about the consumption and violence of the earth by humans and Yeong-Hye’s quest to avoid it at all costs, even if it means her demise. You need to consume to survive whether it’s trees for your home, cows for meat, and vegetables for your salad. The Vegetarian plays on the inability to comprehend the unquenchable thirst of humans and to ultimately remove one’s self from the process, but even as consumers, we need to benefit from it to survive day to day. Yeong-Hye decides to stop eating meat, which to the dismay of her husband, and her family, sets forth a motion to anger or offend those close to her; indirectly from her decision. Yeong-Hye suddenly starts eating less and less the more frequent the nightmares of blood and animal violence she dreams appear. Her decision is her own, but are they really if her social circle disapproves of it by forcing her to eat? Like humans who live on this planet, we are coaxed to consume outside of our means as a planet. Humans are forcing others to consume more in the quest for monetary self-worth, but how we break this cycle without breaking ourselves?
I have to admit I’m not entirely satisfied with this prompt. I’ll probably tweak it. If you have any questions please email me or respond to the comments section of this post.
485 essay prompts
The Sorrow of War and/or Ravenous
Both The Sorrow of War and Ravenous address the issue of US imperialism by using supernatural story elements such as ghostly or monstrous characters, eerie atmospherics, and strange events.
Research concepts such as Manifest Destiny, American Exceptionalism, and/or anti-communism in order to explore how one (or both) of these texts dramatize ideologies and consequences of imperialism.
How are specific formal techniques (of film/ prose fiction) used to narrate the violence of empire? What social content– i.e., explicit or implicit judgements, values, critiques, etc.– emerges from these stories?
The Vegetarian essay
Explore the themes of consumption and violence in The Vegetarian. How might this strange novella function as an ad hoc allegory for the forces characterizing contemporary capitalism? What specific elements of the narrative– character, plot event, imagery, motif, etc.– work to produce dramatic effects which, in turn, assert a particular social content? Is this text gothic or does it merely borrow gothic materials? Be sure to consult some of our assigned secondary readings (the Manifesto, Baldick’s introduction, etc.).
Vandover and the Brute essay
Explore the ways that VATB dramatizes turn-of-the-century cultural anxieties concerning racial degeneration, masculinity, and the loss of social (class) position. What specific elements of narrative discourse (ex. distance, action, types) does Norris employ in order to render Vandover’s decline? In what senses might the novel be regarded as an exemplar of dark modernity? How do other characters (Geary, Dummy, Flossie, et al) function to confirm or contrast the significance of his decline? Consult relevant secondary readings such as “Degeneration” from the Encyclopedia of the Gothic AND undertake research beyond our assigned readings.