Cartoons, Silent Films, Plot Tropes, Oh My!
The similarities of "Dudley Do Right" and the collection of silent films depicting the typical damsel in distress are fairly obvious, but cartoon chooses to highlight similarities to the film clips in a way that brings out somewhat unexpected qualities of an overused plot device. In the introduction of the cast of "Dudley Do Right" the narrator specifies that male protagonist's love interest is not interested in him but his horse. Prior to this scene-setting Dudley....Read More
The Melodramatic Villain
The typical villain of melodrama ruthlessly chases and abuses the virtuous protagonist. The villains of melodrama are rather imposing, since they must have a sphere of influence and power strong enough to allow them the resources they need to discourage the protagonist accordingly. In Singer's piece, he uses The Woman in Gray to demonstrate this. The two villains in that particular plot line are Gordon, who has enough money to hire a henchman to go after Ruth, and Hunter, who has the abilities and intelligence to track Ruth down via her boyfriend, Tom. These same characteristics of the villain are used by Marx and Engel in the dramatic writing of The Communist Manifesto.
The language of this famous political work is inherently melodramatic. The tone when talking about the bourgeoisie -- the assumed villain -- is accusatory and exaggerated...Read More
1) In the first chapter of her book, Linda Williams identifies three characteristics of popular American film that indicates important ties to the melodramatic genre. Briefly recount each point she makes, then choose a recent popular film (1980-present) and explain how it fits Williams' criteria of melodramatic film. Provide a brief plot summary of the chosen movie, but focus on its melodramatic aspects first and foremost...Read More
U.S. and and U.S.!
Chris Bachelder's novel, U.S.!, is both means of praise and pity for Upon Sinclair. While Bachelder recognizes Sinclair's passion and determination by making him a character capable of enduring multiple assassinations and resurrections--a process that Sinclair becomes so used to he lists it on a course syllabus like a simple leave of absence--he also acknowledges the futility of his efforts. Sinclair's activities, though sincere, are met in the novel with similar reactions of his original time...Read More
Melodrama in Personal Narratives
"At the age of fifteen, I was maybe not the expert I made myself out to be, but I did own a copy of The History of Art and knew that eastern North Carolina was no hotbed of artistic expression. I was also fairly certain that no serious painter would devote half the canvas to his signature, or stick an exclamation point at the end of his name.'That shows what you know,' my mother said. 'Art isn't about following the rules. It's about breaking them. Right, Lou?'
And my father said, 'You got it' " (Sedaris 133-134).
David Sedaris is a humorist writer who has released several books based on his own experiences, flavored with his unique sense of sarcasm and dry irony. He employs melodrama on a smaller scale in his short chapter narratives. The above excerpt comes from his book...Read More
The People's Lawyer and The Poor of New York
We chose this passage from The People's Lawyer because it displays a classic melodramatic struggle, and how justice inevitably prevails. This short play, to summarize, is about how an uneducated farmer, a Country Teamster, Solon Shingle, who is on trial for being accused of stealing a watch, Mr. Winslow, the "People's Lawyer," proves his innocence. This passage is the whole defense of Mr. Winslow. The defendant can be seen as the oppressed working class, and the lawyer is that inevitable force that draws him to justice...Read More
Many children's media employs melodramatic techniques. Harry Potter is one prime example. Another representation of melodrama in childhood would be the influential Disney, specifically Disney Animation. One of the most recent examples, a movie that enchanted and disenchanted the international public in a span of six months, is Frozen. This widely popular movie fits Williams' criteria of a melodramtic work. It begins in a "space of innocence," the comfortable and loving dynamic shared by the two sisters, Elsa and Anna, when they were younger (Williams 28). This setting of "home" promptly deteriorates at the beginning of the movie and remains so until the end, when the sisters finally find each other again...Read More