Category Archives: Homework
Prompt 3-What if anything is different in your appraisal of the play after watching (part of) the film adaptation?
I think the film adaptation of the play seems to move much more quickly than the written text. Many of the philosophical moments throughout the text are almost unnoticeable in the film. The actors are speeding through the lines and don’t allow the audience a second to ponder what exactly was said.
On the other hand, the action and business in the film appears much funnier than just reading it as the text. Just the bit alone with Pozzo and Lucky proves that. Their scene in the film was much easier to view than to read. I always prefer to see funny action played out rather than read. Readers have different senses of humor and sometimes don’t realize when a sarcastic remark is indeed sarcastic rather than serious.
All in all, I prefer reading the text in order to understand Beckett’s meaning behind the play. However, I prefer viewing the play to fully appreciate the humor involved in the text.
ENGL 205 – Central European Literature
Gombrowicz, or his character, aspires to be an artist; how do you reconcile that ambition with the book’s non-serious tone? Isn’t art supposed to be serious?
While I do agree that Joey is trying to become a respected artist, I feel like he would not rationally be a serious artist. He is stuck in immaturity and will not create art that could be considered mature. It would repulse him. He is far too embarrassed of his work to show to to anyone. He even goes so far as to think of physically hitting Pimko in order to prevent him from reading further into his novel. While the book proves to have a very satirical, non serious tone, I think Joey is desperate for seriousness. He is just stuck so deeply in immaturity to recognize his own wants and needs. I do not agree that art is necessarily supposed to be serious though. There are several forms of art, writing novels being just one of the many. I prefer art that is not serious because I can generally understand it better anyways. I am in no way an art fanatic. Mainly for the reason I just stated; I do not understand serious art. I can appreciate a drawing or caricature if it is simply or silly. However, if I have to look at an abstract Picasso painting, I will be lost for hours. Overall, although Joey does wants to be taken seriously as an artist, that will not happen because of his own insecurities and immaturity.
ENGL 205 – Central European Literature
The Emperor’s Tomb has many unfamiliar place names and historical events, along with character names, and feels rich in detail. The Trial, by contrast, is very thin in detail, and could be set almost anywhere. How does this difference affect how you respond to the book?
Because The Emperor’s Tomb is so descriptive, I had difficulty getting to the main point of the novel. I generally do not enjoy overly descriptive books. I like to imagine the locations in my own mind, rather than struggle to understand what exactly it is that the author is referring to. In addition, because I am so unfamiliar with the location of this novel, I had difficulty with those details as well. Furthermore, the inclusion of foreign language only made it more difficult for me to understand what it was that was going on throughout the novel. I would have much preferred if there were footnotes, or parenthetical citations defining the foreign words during The Emperor’s Tomb.
In contrast, The Trial, is very non descriptive. Had the novel been less ambiguous, I would have preferred reading this to The Emperor’s Tomb, which I found quite boring. The Trial just annoys me because I have no idea why K is on trial in the first place. Had Kafka described that more, I would have been more apt to enjoy reading this book. In general, I do not mind reading a novel that has little detail. I prefer to create the set and scene in my mind anyways. But, due to the extreme disconnectedness throughout the story, I struggled to understand the underlying reason for K’s crime and punishment.
So, yes, due to the varied levels of detail, it does indeed affect my reading and response to the book. While I usually prefer novels to have far less description than The Emperor’s Tomb, I could at least know what was going on in the novel. The Trial was so far past my understanding, I dreaded reading it.
ENGL 205 – Central European Literature
There are several unfamiliar terms within The Emperor’s Tomb. We are supposed to locate at least ten unfamiliar terms, define them, and them give a summary of how we go about understanding new words or phrases while we read.
Here is my response for this particular question.
New Terms in The Emperor’s Tomb
- A parish is an ecclesiastical district having its own church and member of the clergy.
- The verb ennobled means to elevate in degree, excellence, or respect; dignify; exalt.
- The German word Habsburg in English means a German princely family, prominent since the 13th century, that has furnished sovereigns to the Holy Roman Empire, Austria, Spain, etc.
- Makhorka is a course tobacco grown especially in the Ukraine.
- Samogonka is the German word that is akin to moonshine.
- The adjective superfluous means being more than is sufficient or required; excessive.
- A yeomanry is a group of yeomen, or British volunteer cavalry forces, formed in 1761 that became part of the British Territorial Army in 1907.
- A haversack is a soldier’s bag for rations, extra clothing and other items.
- A progeny is something that originates or results from something else; offspring.
- A harbinger is a person that announces something; somebody that foreshadows or anticipates a future event.
- The 9th Dragoons were a cavalry regiment of the British Army. They are known best for their roles in the Indian mutiny of 1857 and for their part in the North American campaign of WWII including the retreat to and the battle of El Alamein in 1942.
- An assize is a criminal court session.
In high school, my A.P. Language and Composition class required us to learn all of the 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know. Shockingly, those 100 words I have actually seen since high school. At the time they were obscure, but knowing them has helped me in some more complex readings I’ve done since I graduated. Generally, I try to discover the meanings of words through context clues before looking them up. If I can look around the paragraph the unfamiliar term in written in, I can usually figure out what it means. However, as in this novel, foreign words will never cease to confuse me. Therefore, I lmost always have to look up the definitions of words of other languages. If I can figure out the part of speech the word is by looking at the sentence it is in, that also aids me in discovering the meaning of the word. Overall, I rather dislike having to look up the exact definition of a word, when I can usually figure it out on my own.
ENGL 338 – Modern Drama
The Homecoming- Live Performance
The major difference in seeing the play live versus reading the play was the central focus on characters. While reading The Homecoming, I felt as though the main plot was surrounding Ruth and Teddy’s relationship and arrival at Max’s house. It seemed as though Ruth was this flirtatious individual who everyone was focused on. However, in the live performance, Max stole the show. He was a very rough character in that he was nearly cruel to Lenny, Sam, and Joey. Max was the driving force behind each movement on the stage. Obviously, Max was fairly important in the text, due to his relationship to his sons, but in the performance, he was much more involved in the business on stage. His movements were directly that of an unloved elderly man. It was much easier to sympathize with Max’s character when seeing how desperate he was live.
As far as the director’s interpretation goes, I felt as though his depiction of Sam was spot on. I was always more on Sam’s side when it came to any argument or point he had made toward his brother or nephew’s. I felt as though Sam’s character was very passive, yet he clearly had the strongest sense of morals among the family.
Joey’s character was rather needy in the live performance, in the same way as the written text. Joey was almost a background character, without much to do with the plot at all. Except of course, his uncomfortable love scene with Ruth on stage. That was the most exciting part of the play for me.
Lenny’s character was very interesting; he did a fine job of displaying his interest in Ruth as well as in Teddy’s academic achievements. On stage, he was much more forceful than he was in the text. His mannerisms on stage were harsh at times. And the way he interacted with Max’s character was more violent and disdainful than I imagined while reading the play.
Teddy’s character was passive as well; he didn’t much mind that his wife was leaving him to stay with his mentally abusive family. The cheese roll incident was funnier on stage than it was when I was reading it.
For the live performance, the actress who played Ruth was an African American woman. I would have assumed reading the play that she was white. It added a level to the play in the sense that because she was an African American, she may have been more apt to delve into the live of prostitution given the year the play was written. It was not common at the time for white men to marry black women. Perhaps due to that uncommon nature, Ruth’s behavior would not be as harshly judged.
Overall, the actors stayed pretty true to their characters. Max, again, was the main focus of the live performance, rather than Ruth and Teddy’s relationship.
ENGL 338 – Modern Drama
With Pinter, we jump ahead 60 years and, of course, west to England (with America as part of the context). How does Pinter’s play treat social class, in comparison with how class affects either Hedda Gabler or The Cherry Orchard?
Pinter’s play treats social class differently than Hedda Gabler in the sense that most of the characters, apart from Teddy, are in the working/middle class. The family does not have enormous amounts of money at their disposal, but they seem to be getting along fine in the house together. Considering there are four grown men, all related living together in a single home, it may signify that they are not wealthy enough to live separately. However, it seems to me that the characters almost enjoy picking on each other throughout the play, especially Max and Lenny. I would consider the Homecoming characters to be more concerned with women and power among themselves in the house, rather than social class. Until Teddy arrives. Then it seems like the rest of the family is very aware of his academic accomplishments compared to his other brothers.
In Hedda Gabler, if you were not of the high social class, like Hedda, Tesmen, or Judge Brack, then you were to be looked down upon, like Thea was. Even if her husband had some money, she did not come from a wealthy family to begin with. While it was very clear that Hedda father was a General while he was alive.
In The Homecoming we see Max often criticizing his brother Sam, for being a chauffeur. Max was a butcher when he was younger, and he clearly views that position more highly than his brother’s. I see the main difference of social classes between The Homecoming and Hedda Gabler lies in the meaning on what makes someone superior. In The Homecoming, social class is based on what type of job you have, i.e.butcher versus chauffeur. In Hedda Gabler, social class is based on what you own, i.e. the piano, a big house, etc.
For those of you that routinely read my blog, feel free to skip over these posts. For one of my English class, ENGL 338-Modern Drama, we have to post responses to questions from class on a blog. I’ve decided just to make another page and do it on here rather than go through the trouble of trying to figure out a whole other blogging system. By all means, check out my newest Tune In Tuesday though! 🙂
In what ways does Chekhov’s play resemble Ibsen’s?
Chekhov’s play is similar to Ibsen’s in two distinct ways. Primarily, the main characters, Hedda and Lyuba are both very foolish with their money. Hedda goes on a very expensive honeymoon with George that they cannot afford, simply because they wanted to at the time. She also is always prompting George to spend more money on her and their home. She complains about how the piano is too old, and they therefore ought to purchase a new one. Lyuba, while albeit generous, is giving away money she does not have. She knows the cherry orchard is not doing well, and yet she continues to just give away outrageous amounts of money.
Another way that these two plays are similar is the unnecessary characters. In Hedda Gabler, the maid is very pointless towards the play. She doesn’t really have a meaning, other than the one sentence per act. In the same way, Donyasha, Yasha, and Yephikodov are fairly useless characters. Yes, they do have their own little love triangle going on, but really, they are needed for the message of the play to get across to the reader.
Overall, these two plays are fairly similar. They both have main characters that needlessly spend money they do not have, and both plays have characters that aren’t wholly necessary to the plot line.
For those of you that routinely read my blog, feel free to skip over these posts. For one of my English class, ENGL 338-Modern Drama, we have to post responses to questions from class on a blog. I’ve decided just to make another page and do it on here rather than go through the trouble of trying to figure out a whole other blogging system. By all means, check out my latest Life Lesson, or newest Tune In Tuesday though! 🙂
Hedda Gabler is considered a modern play in the sense that presently we still deal with boredom and the sense of settling. Hedda was thoroughly bored with her life throughout the play. She married George Tesman, not out of true love, but because he was the most acceptable suitor at the time. It seemed as though Tesman and his aunts rather annoyed Hedda instead of her accepting them as her new family. She even claimed that Julie should be happy with Hedda referring to her as “Aunt” even if Hedda doesn’t act kind towards her. Hedda also “settles” for Tesman by marrying someone that doesn’t exactly thrill or entice her. If she would have chosen someone that she was really interested in, she probably would have ended up with Eilert Lovborg.
This play still speaks to us now because things can change at a moment’s notice. Just as Tesman was confident that the appointment or post for his book was 100% his. And before he knew it, he had competition with Lovborg. Mrs. Elvsted was pretty sure that she would end up with Lovborg, since they worked so closely together on their manuscript. Out of no where, Lovborg died. Therefore, Mrs. Elvsted had to re-group, rather quickly I thought, and offered her assistance to Tesman in completing Lovborg’s book.
All three of those aspects can be found in contemporary society; boredom, settling, and turns of events that we cannot foresee changing our lives around.
Changes would need to be made if a play was written similar to this one in contemporary society. First of all, technology would have to be included into the plot line. In addition, maybe the plot could change to reflect a politician’s life instead of an author’s life. Authors these days are not regarded as highly as they were back in the late 1800s. I would also suggest a change in climactic activity. Hedda Gabler was a slow moving play, in my opinion. If a similar play were written today, I would imagine there would be more intense action leading up to and following the climax.