Category Archives: Contemporary Culture

Simba (303/415)

It’s strange to see Dirk Bogarde– generally more well-known for the films he did with Harold Pinter and Joseph Losey or even The Night Porter— in this late imperial romance. Though there’s room here for a soft liberal critique of British colonialism in Africa– Bogarde’s Alan Howard is poisoned by his hatred of all black Kenyans in the aftermath of his brother’s murder by the Mau-Mau– the film argues for a kind of enlightened paternalism. There were a whole string of films devoted to this version of the Empire as an ultimately beneficent if sporadically violent enterprise (Zulu, Something of Value, etc.) during the era of decolonization.

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Veggie (415)

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?

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The Vegetarian Essay (415)

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.).