Sitting here on Christmas(or whatever holiday you celebrate) break, I’m bored.
Here’s something to lift your spirits.
It’s tough to choose what we could have done without, but I’m going to go with Robert and Elizabeth Browning. I didn’t find them as interesting as the rest of the material we covered, although learning about them was okay. Creep factor? Check. Parallel drawn between Robert Browning and Poe? Check. Bored by Elizabeth? Double-Check.
On second thought, I may have disliked Lewis Carroll slightly more because his stories sucked and I bet if he were alive today that he’d have a thin mustache and a windowless van because he was OBVIOUSLY a creeper.
Now, on to the good stuff….
Under NO circumstances should Tennyson EVER be dropped. The Lady of Shallot and The Charge of the Light Brigade are far too important to literature to be ignored or not talked about. Tennyson put feelings to paper like no one else during the era.
Also, Never (EVER-EVER-EVER!!!) get rid of Scandal in Bohemia! I would go as far as to completely dismiss The Red Headed League in order to discuss Scandal in Bohemia at greater length.
I will close on this…
Ms Vance, thank you for a wonderful semester. Do NOT sell this class short as “useless knowledge” as you have helped link history to our modern society, taught the greater and deeper meanings of remarkable stories, but most importantly……you have been teaching us to think critically and, that, is a remarkable feat. Well done, ma’am.
I can’t believe I have to revisit Great Expectations ; but I must. Estella was a great example of a non stereotypical gender role monster. We expect women to want to love and be loved, have the perfect wedding day that they’ve dreamed of since they were little girls and fragile beings. Estella wanted none of this and she was far from fragile. Besides being raised to reek havoc upon the male species, she rejected Pip’s love for her (or anyone else for that matter) and was a generally callous person. Though not a liar, she was unable to reciprocate that love which is almost mind blowing. It’s not a far reach to see that there are currently women like this. Typically, we label them as “gold-diggers” and other such lovely terms while, in reality, they’re probably hardened by a scorned lover, relationship problems or “Daddy issues”. Despite the reason, there are some modern day Estella’s out there, but we don’t call them “monsters”.
Dracula continues to inspire and bring about popular and unpopular features in pop culture. I like to think that the reason the story is still so prominent is due to a few things. The first is immortality. We subject ourselves to invasive procedures in an effort to satisfy that vanity. The fact that Dracula will never die means he must never really age. This plays into the second reason we remain fascinated; many people are afraid of death. We do whatever we can to relieve the anxiety of death such as clinging to religion or something that helps calm our fears of the unknown. Personally, I don’t require such assurance, but understand why some do. As far as why we changed him, it boils down to Hollywood needing to sell tickets. The early silent film Nosferatu featured Max Shrek as a ghastly monster which shocked and fascinated audiences, but you can only tell the same story over and over so many times. In the 60’s and 70’s Dracula movies once more captured American audiences with a suave, debonair version of this elegant Count who could charm and woo those around him, lightening the “monster” image that Stoker worked so hard to show. This snowballed into the lovable Grandpa on The Munsters and further softened our view of the vampire. Now, let’s talk about Twilight ….
That’s enough about that catastrophe where we cheer on a young girl to commit either necrophilia or bestiality.
Seriously, what’s wrong with people? Stoker would roll over in his grave if he saw the monstrosity that his work had inspired because he placed such an emphasis on insuring that the Vampire was not loved nor revered. Great, now my heart rate is up.
The most disturbing part of the movie that coincided with the movie was when Harker observed the Count making his was down the castle wall like a lizard. The book’s description and the movie’s portrayal of it was nearly identical. Certainly it was also the most shocking part of the film that captured the “creep factor” pretty well. The major difference was the initial meeting of Count. The movie missed out on his obvious animal-like features that the book describes and definitely skipped Dracula’s cool Foo-Man-Chu mustache. This was actually kind of important because that type of mustache is associated with wisdom; wisdom Dracula would have amassed during his extended period of existence. I did like the combining of some scenes for the purpose of brevity and clarity of the narrative. Although we didn’t see it in class, Dracula’s attack on Lucy in the movie showed him in a wolf man form making love to her atop a bench which was where the film REALLY highlighted the monster that Dracula was.
After being formally introduced to both Dracula and Harker, they really different differ from what I’d expected. I’ve previously read the book (but definitely walked away with a new perspective), seen many versions of the movie, so nothing took me by surprised. Based on our discussions, I do see a lot more of the monster than I had previously. Likewise, Harker was as I expected, however, I never thought about why it HAD to be him to destroy Dracula. Sharing ideas made me realize that Ms. Vance was spot on in the fact that he had been cuckolded and this was his way of regaining his masculinity. So, in that aspect, I walked away with a new overall view of the stories, not the characters within.
It is said that Stoker based his Dracula upon Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes who was a ruler in Romania. He earned the name “Son of the Dragon”, which translates into “Dracul”, because he would impale invading armies, spies, etc on large pikes and let them writhe in agony until they were dead. Some of the impaling began by placing the victim’s rectum at the tip of the pike and……well….you can guess what happened from there.
Based on what I’ve read, seen, and been exposed to via Hollywood and the book itself; Dracula is a suave, charming, deadly, and misunderstood undead guy. Highly sexual, he’s also a romantic- the dude wants his only love back. Legend tells that his wife committed suicide after receiving a fake letter that her husband had been killed in battle. Upon learning this, Vlad turns his anger towards God and is cursed to become a vampire.
Obviously, I’ll walk away with a different opinion after today’s class.