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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Does the Happy Ending of Slumdog Millionaire is a Mere Reality?

         "In a society dedicated to capitalism and the maxim that, “the one who dies with the most toys wins,” the ability to purchase a big house and a nice car separates those who are considered successful from those who are not. Yet the question remains, how does one achieve this success?  How is the Dream realized?  For many Americans the formula is one of instant, albeit elusive, gratification.  Rather than adhering to a traditional work ethic, far too many Americans are pinning their hopes on what they perceive as “easy” money." (Matthew Warshauer)

          In the article "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Changing Conceptions of the American Dream," Matthew Washauer, Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, examines why the majority of Americans have been trapped with pursuit of happiness through materialistic success as their mere dream. The impact on the world perspective of the notion of "American Dream" could be perfectly examined through British movie, Slumdog Millionaire based on the adaptation of the novel "Q & A" of the Indian author Vikas Sarup which released the notion of "American Dream" as a global pursuit of prosperous life as a reflection of happiness.
        Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British romantic drama, directed by Danny Boyle, is based on the story of the Indian author and filmed in India, where the film tells the story of Jamal Malik, a young boy from the Indian slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of British TV Show: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and wins the highest award. Due to his lower class background, where the intelligent individuals are unexpected, the protagonist faces a great number of suspicions which leads to a constant prosecution by Indian law enforcement. The suspicion and constant prosecution of Jamal develops the multiple thematic scenes associated with flashbacks to his past. As most of Hollywood based blockbusters, the the conflict has been resolved with happy ending of a boy coming from the slums. Throughout the story, we can examine how the the desire for a successful life and prosperity is inside our society who are trapped with world economic base superstructure. In this perspective, Matthew Warshauer perfectly examines the idea of the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire as not just simply the TV show, but as a broader reflection of our social construct strongly oriented towards Materialism:

        "Little reveals the shift in the quest for the American Dream more than the insanely popular television game show, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," hosted by Regis Philbin.  With an average two hundred and forty thousand people per calling in on  "Contest Day" attempting to become contestants, and a twenty-nine million per show viewing audience, it is safe to say that Americans are captivated by what many consider to be an easy avenue to achieving financial success.  The fact that “Millionaire” was originally a British television show merely emphasizes the extent to which the quest for cash transcends national borders.  It is no surprise, however, that the show achieved its greatest success in America" (1).

         Based on the perspective of the Western imperialism, the protagonist perpetuates a broader perspective of those who are lacking the privileges and trapped in class struggle of economic superstructure of our modern world of power inequalities on the way to successful life. His struggles to obtain the award perfectly reflects on power differentiation of Capitalism where the most powerful become successful and the poorest keep floating in poverty. Even though, the majority of our society are in search of pursuing the "American Dream," the capitalist objective reality of class struggle, exploitation and discrimination pushing them back from achieving the success, '"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire's" success is directly related to the belief that anyone with a little knowledge and lot of luck can be a millionaire.  Such a message resonates with the mass of people specifically because it seems to make the American Dream so easily accessible.  In the process, the most basic, traditional means of achieving the Dream, industry, has been eradicated.  Poor Richard's counsel to engage in "industry" is unnecessary in such a schema.  Nowhere in Franklin's writings did it say, "early to bed, early to rise, hope for some luck and you might win a prize"'(2). The plot of the movie perfectly depicts the notion of easy money comes easy and goes easy. Basically, through protagonist's struggle on the way to achieve the award, the audience may pursue the more realistic scheme of a successful life. 
        The winner of eight out of ten Academy Awards in 2009, Slumdog Millionaire achieved a high recognition for a very unique plot and a good romantic ending. To my mind, the movie could be a good reflection on our capitalist society of class struggle not only in the slums of India, but also as a broader image of our imperialistic world of inequality. The western style happy ending as always left the audience with a glimpse of hope for pursuing their "American Dream" and overcome the obstacles of our harsh life, however, the reality is not always as happy as the ending of Slumdog Millionaire.

Works Cited:

Warshauer Matthew, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Changing Conceptions of the American Dream."

Media Education

Our class lecture today was composed out of students presentation on Media Education. My group member and I were focused on comparison of Media Education and Traditional Education in incorporating Moby Dick in Educational System. In this perspective the following video of well known movie Gods' Father might perfectly incorporate depiction of imagery for analysis of Moby Dick. In this perspective, God's Father movie depicts lot of dark imagery, scene begins late in the evening which makes the reader aware of death related imagery.

Further, we incorporated some important chapters from Media Education text to emphasize the importance of media education today:

"In this chapter, I have argued that production should be a central component of media education" (Chapter 8, 137).

"This implies that production should be both frequent and recursive- and with the growing accessibility of the technology, this is increasingly becoming a realistic possibility. Rather than leading up to the Big Production Number (as is the case in some Media Studies syllabuses), students should be engaging in practical work on a regular basis, both in the form of longer projects and in frequent, small-scale activities" (137).

Based on our text and personal experience with the media education, I believe the most helpful aspects of media education are as following:

Blog reflections before and after the class
• Comment on other classmates' reflections on a Blog
• Finding modern videos, images, or cartoons associated with a particular theme

"Equally, it is important that students have the opportunity to work across a range of media forms and technologies- photography, video, desk-top publishing and so on"(138).

I believe traditional and media education should be always incorporated. For instance, when you introduce Moby Dick to the class, give a little summery of the text with the images which will help to create a specific themes:
As Ishmael tries, in the opening pages of Moby-Dick, to offer a simple collection of literary excerpts mentioning whales, he discovers that, throughout history, the whale has taken on an incredible multiplicity of meanings. The multiplicity of approaches that Ishmael takes, coupled with his compulsive need to assert his authority as a narrator and the frequent references to the limits of observation (men cannot see the depths of the ocean, for example), suggest that human knowledge is always limited and insufficient. In this perspective, present a certain images to develop the themes of the limits of knowledge:

 "Limits of Knowledge"

What is Whale?

In Mythology: "In China, Yu-kiang, a whale with the hands and feet of a man was said to rule the ocean"

Mythology: Male Divine

Our presentation today was on Mythology depicting Male Divine. From the beginning of the civilization we can distinguish how Male Divine was developing with its' patriarchal superiority and power.
My part of the presentation was focused on Saviors and Sages vs. Tricksters and Shamans as a part of Male Divine:

Saviors: eternal exile from the Father's presence over helpless humanity. They play a role of a bridge or a gulf between father-god and  his human children  defeat demonic forces help powerless humanity  sacrifice their life  communicate with people sacred knowledge or saving vision  purity practices offering salvation, divine savior.
Sages: human exemplar of a particular spiritual path or wisdom tradition acquire followers and disciples much-caricaturized arhat: guru or yogi meditation saints, great teachers a complete submission to his God knowledge and profound understanding of: love, mature judgment, patience deep spiritual attainment is charismatic wisdom and discipline through teaching and interaction personal piety and the keenness of their minds humility, submission, charity, faith.

Tricksters and Shamans: a human being capable traveling between the natural and supernatural
Tricksters: an imaginary god-like jokester may represent the shaman in humorous folktale form.
 Shamans: are an actual, serious religious practitioner.
Tricksters and Shamans: "loosely affiliated gods under the archetype, for they traverse the secret roads that, connected the Great Above, the Great Below, and the material world that lies between them"   (199). Both considered as mediators between natural and supernatural through journey between spiritual world and the material world stories of their journeys spiritual wisdom and power contact with supernatural and natural forces control supernatural form for human benefits: take animals form or accept visionary ecstasy: experience of the universe as energy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Poems about Death

What do we really strive in our life?
The life for a better action; or
The life for the sake of someone’s love
Do we really strive for love or simply lust?
Is it mortality a better life?
Is it love a real purpose of our human’s life?
Is it a tempting lust the elevating part of our human guts?

It is the strive and also fortune of our chaotic life
Universal purpose of the life is not just simply love
But love causes our disastrous fears rise
Love makes us cry but also laugh
It’s laugh evokes the immortality of our devil’s lights
Does it love that play between an angel’s and devil’s eyes?

We simply catch the purpose of an anxiety and ash
We simply fight the mean of immortality and love
But what do we get as our aiming path?
We get the result of life’s bitching crack
We stuck in misery of stunning fuck
We stuck with proven karma’s reality of life

What does the truth of life might simply guide?
Don’t strive for elevating pleasure in your life
Simply follow the mere mortal paths
Guide with your human kind parts
The actions for the sake of a better life:
Might be a better choice than stunning reality of love.

I am a lonely bird
The bird and may be spirit
Both admirable and free
Free? What is to be free?
Are we really free?

I am a lonely bird- without freedom
Sorrowful and sad?
Lonely and distressed?
I am a lonely bird- without signs for life

Am I alive?
Do I exist? 
Do I really breath?

I am a wonderer in life
I am a stranger in the sky
Oh Lord, Please lift me high
Don't let me die!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Close Relationship between Human Psychology and the Powerful Nature.

            According to Sigmund Fraud in his work “Interpretation of Dreams,” unconscious mind examined as desires which seeking gratification or fulfillment in relation to the pleasure principles of imagination and dreaming where the natural instincts take part in development of imagination. The origin of Freud’s wish fulfillment is initial phase of imagination where the reality is frustrating, and the human mind starts fantasizing (Freud 921). Relying on Freudian theory of poet’s work as unconscious wish fulfillment, we can examine the relationship between the unconscious mind of the poet to the nature in ”Kubla Khan,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Inspired by a dream, Coleridge establishes the connection between unconscious representation of the nature as seen to an eye of the poet, and subconscious interpretation of unknown supernatural.
            Generally speaking, an unattainable nature to a human eye often triggers human perception of Mother Nature. In this perspective, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” perfectly portrays poet’s creative mind in a search of the relationship between unconscious and subconscious minds through unconventional mix of meter and rhyme along with strong imagery of nature. Inspired by “a profound sleep” Coleridge sensed that he composed a poem in a vivid response to a vision seen during a dream.  As Fred Milne stated in South Atlantic Review  “In other words, not only the content (“all the images”), but also the form (“the correspondent expressions”) for the extended poem were simultaneously given during the vision. Together they presented themselves as a fully realized creation in the mind of the sleeping or entranced Coleridge”(17). He presents Coleridge’s vision in connection to the poem as creative process of the poet where human mind can reveal supernatural cycles only through his imagination of the “the sacred rivers” and “caverns” hidden to a human eye. Through examining the writing of the mixed tetrameter and pentameter along with rhyme schemes, the poem creates a sense of fragmentation of unconscious voice of the speaker. The fragmentation leading to further examining of extraordinary set of human perception clearly revealed in lines 1-7 with 8 syllables each, and lines 8-11 with 10 syllables each. The speaker vividly connects the man-made nature to unattained supernatural forces through representation of organic cycles of “sunless sea,” “sunny spots,” “bright “gardens” with “blossomed” trees. In the first two stanzas the speaker associates the pleasure of Oriental peace of Xanadu with “savage” (Line 14) nature that is in his imagination “holy and inchanted.” Similarly Fred Milne examines poet’s extraordinary perception of nature as, “the act of transferring the “composition” from mind to paper been completed, it would have represented the final but all-important step in the creating process…” (Milne 18).
            In addition to the imaginative voice of the speaker, the poem depicts unattained nature in connection to the supernatural metaphors associated with God and Devil.  In his vision the supernatural has religious connotations to “holy and enchanted” world of God fighting with a human search for Devil, “woman waling for her demon-lover” (Line 15). Further, the “sacred river” (Line 3) that expresses holy life, as multiple repetitions of “river” references to the sacred water as a major symbol of life. In first stanza, the speaker explains his exploration of pleasure in, “sacred river” (Line 3) of uncivilized Asian World, “Through caverns measureless to man” (Line 4), the speaker finds, “sacred river” and “Enfolding sunny spots of greenery” (Line 11) which evoke sensory emotions in human minds of natural beauty in connection to unknown holiness.  Further, the speaker examines the world near “Xanadu” of “Kubla Khan,” the world of Asian uncivilized and untouched by civilization nature which connects nature to the supernatural. Fred Milne explicates speaker’s vision of Xanadu: “As the basic structure pattern of the Xanadu mind-landscape…” (Milne 20), which allows the depiction of  “the conscious and unconscious, the measured and measureless aspects co-existing in the mind’s process”(Milne 20).  The speaker develops Milne’s connection of the landscape to the imagination of conscious and unconscious holiness of the East in the stanza followed by a reference to a pleasure world of “savage place”(Line 14) being trapped by “fountain” which symbolizes the work of Devil associated with “Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail”(Line 21). Relying on speaker’s imaginative “vision” of “caverns measureless to man” (Line 4) the supernatural is only within human imagination. The pleasure world of nature refers to the holiness of supernatural while “deep romantic chasm” (Line 12) connects with human perception of the Hell as “lifeless ocean” of “chasm” in the broken world of “fragments.”
            The constant shift within “pleasure-dome” of  “Xanadu” and “chasm” of “shadow” of the “pleasure-dome” of the unconventional style of writing connects “savage” Orientalism to nature. The speaker depicts chaotic part of supernatural through his perception of female sexual desires to the work of demon, “By woman wailing for her demon-lover”(Line 16) The speaker addresses “demon-lover” not only to the patriarchic dominance of our reality, but also as religious perception of female sexual desires as Devil’s supernatural force. Towards the end of the poem, the speaker creates a “vision” of self-realization the peaceful mind for himself hidden in unconscious representation of pure female object, “Abyssinian maid” as supernatural force of associated with  the beauty of a music where “her symphony and song” (Line 43) pleasing to “such deep delight” (Line 44) that the speaker can find his own pleasure, “I would build that dome on air,” (Line 46) The speaker presents a gradual move between heaven and supernatural places of Oriental ”sacred rivers” of Xanadu towards his own peace where he concludes his unconscious vision of the pure female beauty and her singing as the symbol of the peace. The last stanza represents another fragment of the speaker’s reference to the pleasure of Paradise near the Mount of Abora with “Abyssinian maid” who connects the speaker’s understanding of sacred pleasure place of supernatural heaven. The speaker portrays a human perception of concurring the pleasure dome of “Paradise” through the voice of untouched nature of the East “Ancestral voices prophesying war!” (Line 30) Through the speaker’s vision on a future prediction of upcoming chaos in nature, “In a vision once I saw:”(Line 38) Coleridge perfectly examined human unconscious perception of the beauty and peace in connection to a deeply delightful nature of female portrayal of “Abyssinian maid.”
            In “Kubla Khan” the speaker expresses the human imagination that connects the nature to the supernatural. The speaker’s abstract vision and powerful imagination gives a room for examination of a human psychology associated with a powerful subconscious and unconscious mind. Coleridge perfectly portrays his creative writing where the power of nature and human mind play a key role throughout the poem as two vital and cooperating processes of interpreting supernatural.

Works Cited
Coleridge, “Kubla Khan,” 100 Best-Loved Poems, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 30-31
Freud Sigmund, “The Interpretation of Dreams,” The Norton Anthology of Theory Criticism, New York, 2001, 919-929
Milne L. Fred, Coleridge's "Kubla Khan": A Metaphor for the Creative Process, South Atlantic Review, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Nov., 1986), pp. 17-29.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hi Everybody, 

        I believe, a new generation of computerized education opens up new opportunities for wider range of people from different backgrounds and social classes. For instance, the massive development of distance education encouraged a lot of full-time workers either to get a higher education or advance their current education without income constrains.
Moreover, media technology simplified schools as well as students educational path towards successful education. Today, all schools' organizational and financial planners are managed through the use of computers.
        Innovation and development of advanced technology keep moving the generation after generation towards more demand for knowledge and education. Therefore, today, the innovative technology can not only simplify the education system, but also promote education by making it more vivid and interesting.

"This implies that production should be both frequent and recursive- and with the growing accessibility of the technology, this is increasingly becoming a realistic possibility. Rather than leading up to the Big Production Number (as is the case in some Media Studies syllabuses), students should be engaging in practical work on a regular basis, both in the form of longer projects and in frequent, small-scale activities" (137).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome to my Blog!

Hi everybody,

       My name is Svetlana Li. I am a Senior student at CSUN graduating in Spring 2011. English is my second language which was my main reason to switch into English major from Political Science. I truly love English language, the way it sounds, the way the grammar is structured. It was a huge challenge for me to go into English major as a non-native speaker. Often, I truly felt like I did a mistake switching the majors, however, taking English course one after another, I realized my passion to writing and reading. It is still an obstacle for me to organize my ideas before start writing, however, the outcome is usually worth the efforts. Moreover, I have never been a big lover of poems. I believe, this course will be my first course where I will have to create my own poem. Recently, I realized that my problem with composing is Russian set of composing the poems which is completely different perspective where and different rhyme scheme. I hope this course will help to produce some discent work of literature.