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Tuesday, April 14

April 14, 2015

Spongebob: If you need to see the film for the midterm:

Today we talked about how to approach your midterms. I gave you a sample character analysis of Mulan, which I will reproduce here. (Does it have to be this long? Not necessarily — nor does it need to have the archetypes/subarchetypes in all caps. But it does have to address these points. What is the archetype/subarchetype? What examples (and I do mean multiple examples) are you using from the film to back up your point? And is the character a core, evolving, layered and/or adopted archetype?)

Mulan is an evolving archetype who goes through two different transformations in the course of Mulan. She begins as an OUTSDIDER/MISFIT, which we understand almost from the beginning of the film. Mulan fails miserably trying to conform to the demands of society – her disastrous stint at the matchmaker’s shows she is incapable of assuming the traditional feminine role. (There’s even a song about it, “Reflection.”)

Mulan’s fortunes do not change until she decides to adopt the SHAPESHIFTER/TRICKSTER archetype, and enlists in the Chinese army disguised as a man, called Ping. She is joined by another MISFIT, the dragon, Mushu, who is also seeking redemption. (In this scenario, however, Mushu is best characterized as a PLEASER/BEST FRIEND, since his own quest is completely sublimated to Mulan’s. If she fails, he fails. There is no possibility that Mushu can regain his honor independently.)

With the help of Mushu (and a good-luck charm of sorts, a cricket named Cri-kee, who is really best characterized as a single-use character, since he has no independent existence), Mulan is able to fool everyone – even the brave Captain Shang. In the process, however, she is not merely deceiving her colleagues – she is also discovering her true identity. The montage sequence “I’ll Make a Man Out Of You” is not just a clever play on gender tropes: it reflects Mulan’s growth as well.

Mulan’s trickery is eventually discovered, and she once again becomes an outcast, far from home and shunned by all her former army friends. There is a difference, however: Mulan has evolved into a FREE SPIRIT/TRAILBLAZER, and is unwilling to merely resume her life as an OUTSIDER. Using the confidence and skills she has developed masquerading as a man, Mulan comes up with an audacious plot to foil the Huns and save China from Khan (who is, of course, a BAD BOSS). We know that Mulan is a FREE SPIRIT because unlike before, she is celebrated as a heroine and therefore valued, where once she was derided. The final comment on this is provided by the Emperor, who remarks caustically to Shang, “You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty!”

Thus, Mulan’s evolution passes through three stages before we reach the final destination: she has become perhaps Disney’s best example of the FREE SPIRIT/TRAILBLAZER archetype.

Finally, we talked about some of your suggestions for archetypes that we perhaps haven’t covered. I attempted to suggest that many of them we have, in fact, seen — for example, that Shaggy is really a Village Idiot, and that King Bumi from Avatar actually adopts the archetype of the Village Idiot to disguise the fact that he is, in fact, a Sage — a Wise Old Man. (Or at least, a Good Boss.) We will discuss this more Thursday, as we turn our attention to Shakespearean archetypes.

I also gave out information about the final, which is due on Tuesday, May 5. See me if you need the handout, or click here.

Hitchcock: Today I talked you through some information about the studio system, the production code, and why the mid-fifties is a turning point not only for Hitchcock, but for the film industry in the US. Here’s a picture of the board:


Here’s the nutshell version: in the 1920s, films were becoming increasingly popular and were unregulated. Some people had a problem with this lack of regulation and objected to the rising popularity of a medium that depicted “immoral” acts of lifestyles. By 1930, The Production Code (aka The Hays Code) was enacted and enforced – it was a series of rules and regulations when it came to what filmmakers could and could not show in a film (for example, no lustful kissing, no kisses longer than 3 seconds, no toilets, etc – you can find the whole code here). Films would be presented to a board and if them deemed something in the film to violate the code, the filmmaker/studio would have to fix it before the film would be “approved” for the viewing public.

Hitchcock had to deal with code compliance for most of his career, but there is a distinct shift in the 1950s, and it has a lot to do with the studio system itself. Up to this point in time, studios were vertically integrated (which basically means they owned all aspects of the filmmaking process, from the physical studio space, to exclusive contacts with actors and actresses, to the theaters themselves). This is something referred to as “the golden age of Hollywood.” In the ’50s, anti-trust laws were put into place that took apart the studio system, and this caused a lot of disruption. Theaters could also now show films from overseas – films that were not subject to approval from the PCA/MPPDA. Generally, everyone was pretty sick of the production code and standards began shifting.

As we watch the last 5 films on the list (board pic), starting with Vertigo, keep all of the above in mind and pay attention to what might be different from his earlier films. We will have  brief discussion of Vertigo upon its finish centered on these ideas.

Siren: May stuff. The last roundup. And in case you didn’t see this:



Daily Prompt: Notebooks were checked, then we had a class reading. Weird stuff today – it was fun. We’ll be doing a thing on Thursday.

Bookbinding: We’ll start a new project on Thursday.

7th Grade:

Survey: CNF: Today we took a quiz on CNF ethics — you will need to make it up Thursday if you were absent.

Then we brainstormed lists of strong opinions that we each hold. We shared a few and I asked you to choose one for Thursday, and write a moment that illustrates it.

For example: say your opinion is that Androids are just as good as iPhones, and that iPhone users are needless snobs about their phones. You might choose a moment you saw at lunch last week, when a table full of iPhone acolytes were harrassing the lone Android user to tears.

What if your opinion has to do with a subject that you don’t have any firsthand experience with? For example, what if your opinion is that the death penalty should be outlawed? Perhaps your moment might involve being younger and seeing a TV documentary that influenced your opinion on this issue. Or maybe you had an intense argument with someone who is very pro-death penalty. If that’s what you’ve got, then use it.

On the notecard I provided you, write down your moment on one side, and the opinion on the back. Please have these ready to turn in Thursday at the beginning of class.

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