Sunday, September 7, 2008

Battle of the Blanches

Personally, I believe that Vivien Leigh does a better job of portraying Blanche on screen. The majority of the better portrayal may be due to the directing of the two movies. I feel like Leigh fits the part much more with her clothing, appearance, emotions, and dramatic acting. Her acting pertains more to who Tennessee Williams describes in his quote. It is easy to see that Leigh plays Blanche as she is on the verge of hysteria and that Blanche is very codependent. Also, the fact that Leigh's Blanche has more interaction with Stanley, the 1951 film allows us to perceive Blanche's character from the "looking-glass self" perspective; Blanche seems to care, worry, and even accept what others think of her, and in turn, she becomes that person. All in all, I believe the best way of comparing these two films is to view them on mute. Without sound, Jessica Lange just sits and all we can see is her lips moving. With the sound, it's just as if she were reading straight from the playwright, with no actions. Contrastingly, Vivien Leigh moves all around in the 1951 film. We see the expression of fear and apprehensiveness in her face, and we can tell that she's very frantic as she moves rapidly throwing her arms up and spinning around as she moves about the room. We don't have to hear what she's saying to know that she is indeed Blanche. However, without the sound of the words in he first clip, it is quite confusing to know the character Jessica Lange plays as she simply sits and speaks.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Modernism vs. Postmodernism

I would have to say that out of all of the works we have discussed this far in English 215, the character that best helps me understand the differences between modernism and postmodernism is Christine in "The Man from Mars." Almost throughout the whole story Christine's mind is very stereotypical and very much influenced by her family and American culture as what has been established as right or wrong and good or bad. This state of mind that Christine lives in throughout the majority of the story is clearly modernist. A piece from the beginning of the story when Christine first encounters the Asian man displays her modernist reaction: "He was also what was referred to in their family as 'a person from another culture;' oriental without a doubt. Christine judged he must be a foreign student and gave him her official welcoming smile." This particular quote demonstrates how much Christine is influenced by her family because she uses their judgment as her own and does what any kind American would do to a stranger from another country.

Later on, "Christine had to admit he'd been following her around. She was relieved he'd been discovered, relieved also that she hadn't been the one to tell, though if he'd been a citizen of the country, she would have called the police a long time ago." This quote shows how part of our culture is still modern today in the sense that it is considered very wrong and weird for someone (especially a man) to follow someone else (particularly a woman) around everywhere she goes. However, this may just be a normal way of making friends in the Asian man's culture. Not knowing the Asian man's intentions, Christine didn't want to seem like a "tattle tell," or for anyone to think she was in the wrong by accusing this man, which are also careful and cautious modernist feelings.

It isn't until the end of the story that Christine progresses to more of a postmodernist way of thinking as she stops being stereotypical. The last paragraph of the story greatly portrays Christine's postmodern growth: "When, despite herself, she would think about him, she would tell herself that he had been crafty and agile minded enough to survive, more or less, in her country, so surely he would be able to do it in his own, where he knew the language." This quote shows that Christine cares for the Asian man and that she puts her faith in him rather than her judgments on him.

Christine's story and her encounter with a man from another culture allows her to go from modernist thinking (thinking she knows the truth, accepting things as they are, judging others based on what's right or wrong within her culture) to gain a more open-minded, postmodernist perspective (refraining from stereotyping, realizing that what's considered good or bad is defined differently based on one's culture, and how one behaves is directly derived from his or her own society and culture).

This image comes from the Institute of Mediterranean Humanities and Social Studies' website. I added it to this particular blog post because I think it's a great representation of today's postmodern world and it fits well with "The Man from Mars" and its issue about separate cultures. The image shows two different hands: one black, one white, one young, the other older, holding up the world together. This image seems to say that we all live on this one earth together and we all have different perspectives, cultures, and ways of life, but just because we're different doesn't mean that some are right or wrong. It just means we're different; we're unique; we're not all the same and boring. Therefore, we should respect and learn from each others differences and share our world in peace.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So special : )

Well, I tried to download this video from youtube. Then, I discovered that youtube doesn't allow you to download but only upload videos. So, here's the link if you would like to watch!


My full name is Lauren Elizabeth Evans. I am 18 years old, but I will be 19 on September 21st! I'm from Mauldin, SC, which is a little town right by Greenville. I'm here at Clemson majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Spanish. Some things I love are dancing (I've been doing it all of my life), church, watching sports, Greenville (my hometown), Charleston (SC), kids, dogs, Christmas, shopping, being with my family and friends, the beach, the mountains, just relaxing, smiling, laughing, and much much more...but if I listed all of the things I love about life then you might get tired of reading!