Author Archives: carissa

Carissa’s Tartuffe Extra-Credit

Words: 570

This past Thursday I got to go see Tartuffe, which takes place during the French Renaissance. It is a story about a wealthy family who has taken in Tartuffe, a holy man of God. Tartuffe turns out to be a poverty stricken con-artist and liar who almost gets away with taking all of the family’s possessions, having sex with Orgon’s wife, marrying Orgon’s daughter Mariane, and ruining the marriages of two other people (Mariane and Valere and Damis and Valere’s sister). I am going to look at Tartuffe in three different ways; from a post-colonial, a LGBTQ, and a psychoanalytic perspective.

Looking at Tartuffe from a post-colonial lens, what stands out to me is the distribution of power and how the class system was portrayed. Orgon is a well respected man in his community, respected by his family, friends, neighbors, and those in authority: the court and the king. His wealth not only makes him a respected man in the community, but also in the household. It is interesting to see how wealth made him an important respected figure in his household and society. As a father, Orgon also has authority over his grown daughter. Even though Mariane is an adult and is engaged to Valere, Orgon has the power to change his mind and set up a different marriage that he approves of. A situation like this would never happen in 21st century America.

Looking at Tartuffe from a LGBTQ lens, it could be possible that Orgon is secretly gay. In the very beginning of the show, Orgon comes home from a trip and talks to Dorine and Cleante. Orgon reveals that he does not care about the decreasing health of his wife, or the fact that his daughter is upset about her marriage circumstances, or that his whole entire household is upset at all the changes that Tartuffe has made. Orgon’s sole focus and worry is about Tartuffe, and how wonderful it is that he has been eating all his food, taking advantage of all he had to offer, and making himself more than comfortable during his extended stay. Orgon is one of Tartuffe’s “followers” and is not only taking all of Tartuffe’s advice, but also later gives him all his money and the deed to his estate along with several other important documents. Orgon’s lack of love for his wife and family (he did say that he felt no love for them earlier and that if anything bad happened to them he would not feel anything) could be interpreted to mean that he is gay, because all of his energy, efforts, and emotions revolve around Tartuffe.

Another interpretation of Tartuffe would be to look at it from a psychoanalytic viewpoint in regard to Mariane. Mariane’s id has a strong desire to marry Valere. She shows this by fighting with him and sobbing after the fight when they each think that their relationship is over. She also makes plans with Dorine to prevent her father’s plan for her to marry Tartffe from working out. Mariane’s (super) ego behaves very differently, however. During a chat with her father, she agrees to marry Tartuffe because he is in charge and it is her moral duty to obey her father. It would make her look bad in society as a daughter to not listen to her father, especially since her father is such an important public figure.

Postcolonial Thoughts

In class the other day when we were talking about Postcolonialism, I was reminded of a Twilight Zone episode I saw several years ago: To Serve Man. (It’s been a while since I’ve seen this episode, so forgive any false details here. My goal is to just get the main idea.)

Just a brief synopsis (AND SPOILER) these aliens come to earth with this magic book titled “How To Serve Man.” This book supposedly contained information on how to make the earth better, how to stop all wars, how to make sure there was the utmost amount of comfort, enough food, no labor, ect. These aliens were taking people away to their home in waves (as many that would fit on their space shuttle as possible). It turns out, that instead of service, the aliens were planning to eat the people.

The colonizer (the aliens) came to earth for a reason: To Serve Man (on a plate). Their motive was to gain free (and willing lol) food for their colony. They had power and control handed to them by the humans who they convinced to trust them. Once the humans were taken, they were locked in a private room, told to eat to get fat, and they became completely powerless (subaltern).

So then the story ends with the main character trapped in this room and about to be eaten. There is no happy ending or heroic rescue. The bad guys win and the good guys die. Ha. Ha. Ha.

to serve man postcolonialism

Ramblings about Passion Play Part 1

I have several random thoughts about Part 1 of the Passion Play. I want to know what you guys think so far.

  1. The play has several weird stage cues. We briefly mentioned the red sky in class today. What do you all think it means? From a Biblical standpoint, we know that the sky turned BLACK (not red) and the earth was covered in darkness when Christ was crucified. The red could be a symbol for the blood Christ shed, maybe. Maybe it is a symbol that something bad is going to happen, and it is a cue for the audience (just like in horror films you can predict when something bad is going to happen because of the music). Another weird stage “cue” is “strange watery noises.” One example is on page 40, end of scene 1. I believe this direction is given more than once throughout part 1. Do you all think this is referring to sex noises? Or is it possible that maybe it refers to the fact that (from a Christian standpoint), the act Mary 1 and Pontius is sinful and they are falling deeper and deeper (hence the water) into their act of sin?
  2. Also, I can’t go without saying something about the mockery of the Christian faith. The way the characters behave in this play, how the actors represent the God-fearing righteous characters as sluts is disrespectful to the Christian faith and value systems, and more importantly it disfigures the story of Jesus.

Carissa’s Bridge to the Blog

The question “who am I?” is a big and scary one for Alice. She doesn’t know who she is anymore, and tries desperately to figure it out (using her knowledge and observations regarding hair, intelligence, and money). She then talks about asking her family and friends who she is, and if she likes their response, then she will come up out of the hole. Everyone’s memories are different, even if you record the past you still are the only one who can see it like you can. Memories are unique. I’m not so sure Alice’s family and friends are as good of a source as she thinks. What if they remember a different Alice than she does? That is not highly probable, but possible. If that happened are there any other ways that Alice could figure out who she is?

Author Tyler Shores had some interesting thoughts about memory and identity (big themes throughout Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). He writes, “Are we the same person if we can’t remember who we were yesterday? Are we a different person if we cannot remember what we thought we knew yesterday? (…) If Alice cannot remember who she is, she assumes that she must be some other person.” He raises a good point. If Alice lost all memory of her former self, then she must recreate a whole new self. Who is to say the second self is going to be exactly the same as the first one?

Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said that it is impossible to live without forgetting. Henri Bergson said that there are two types of memory: remembering how and remembering when. So how do you know when you have forgotten something important? A scary thought is that everything is destined to become memory! So be careful not to forget anything important!

Carissa’s Psychoanalytic Analysis of Mulan

In my psychoanalytic analysis of Mulan, I will be focusing on looking at the id, the ego, and the super ego for these three characters: Mushu, Mulan, and Shang.

The id represents the part of the personality that controls the desire for personal needs. In Mulan, Mushu is a fake. He only helped Mulan in order to gain his worth back in the ancestor temple. The motivation for his actions were based on a need to be accepted. Mushu’s id was controlling his “selfless” actions to gain self glory.

Mulan has a need in her life for a father figure. She is overly attached to her father and is afraid of what might happen to him if he goes to war. (He is old and incapable of fighting. He has a limp and is very out of practice, although clearly a respected soldier.) This is what drives her to take his place in the army. Mulan’s id inspires her to take charge and keep her father from going to war so that she has a chance to bring honor to her family and take charge to keep her father in her life.

Shang needs acceptance from his father. He has a need to prove his worth by his personal skills and also his ability to train soldiers and carry responsibility. Shang’s id is what enables him to be a good captain and to train the new soldiers.

The Ego represents the part of the personality that controls/processes the state of reality for that person. Mulan was very self acceptant in the beginning. She was over confident in her ability to make the matchmaker happy and secure a good husband. This was demonstrated by her obvious lack of studying and her being late in the beginning of the movie. When this plan goes wrong and her time with the matchmaker is a disaster, Mulan feels like she has failed to gain the respect from her family as well as failing to bring honor to her family, which was her duty. These too, are reasons why she takes her father’s place in the war – to prove she can do something impressive and be worthy. Mulan has a moment of doubt and realizes how crazy her idea is and how hard it would be to achieve. Our unconscious wants us to keep old habits that are comfortable, but the ego soon takes over control. Mulan thinks it is a good idea to pretend to be a male soldier until she arrives and sees what the soldiers are like. She mutters, “I don’t think I can do this!” Mulan is not comfortable in this unusual situation and is worried that she can no longer survive in that environment. This was quite the reality check.

Shang is slightly prideful when we first see him in the movie. He mutters to himself, “Captain Lee Shang. Leader of China’s finest troops. No, the greatest troops of all time. ” Here, his state of reality is that he is able to accept the position his father has trusted him with, and will be able to successfully prove his worth to his father and to Chi Fu. Later, when Mulan is revealed to be a girl, no matter his feelings towards Mulan (he likes her, she is the best soldier and has not only defeated the whole entire army, but has also saved everybody’s life including his own…not to mention he is indebted to her…) he must punish her (by death) for her actions (which he does not do, due to paying off his debt.) This is clearly not something he wants to do, but he must because it is the rule of his culture. At the end, when Mulan warns everyone that the Huns are still alive, he ignores her because she is a girl “again.” Again, not something he wanted to do (as shown on his hurt face expression since she deceived him) but this was standard protocol for the situation. This was the reality of the situation and Shang took the necessary and acceptable actions according to Chinese law, despite his personal feelings.

The Super Ego is the part of the personality that controls the way you think others feel about you. This is the “public self” and the social standards and morality. Fears have a hidden cause. Once Mulan is exposed and kicked out of the army, Mushu confesses that he is a fake. His repressed fear of not feeling important is revealed, the cause being his failure to help Mulan succeed.

Mulan has a fear that she is not a good daughter because of her poor meeting with the matchmaker. The importance of honor in society is the cause of Mulan’s stress. Mulan’s public self as a girl is dishonorable. Her family is important because it give her a role and a purpose. The Chinese culture has strict family structure/roles. The role of a Chinese daughter is to marry a respected and wealthy man to “uphold the family honor.” A woman is also responsible/expected to bear children. Mulan is under pressure to marry a man who comes from an important family but her meeting with the matchmaker is disastrous, and so she feels like she has brought shame on the family and is worth nothing as a daughter.

Son’s are to go to war in their father’s place. It there are no sons, the first immediate male will go to war for that family. In Mulan, it is Mulan’s father who must go to war since she does not have a brother. Mulan’s other public self (as Ping) is honorable, impressive, and able to defeat the Huns and save everyone (much unlike her other self). She make a decision about the cannon, tried to comfort Shang when he was grieving the death of his father, and boldly told everyone that the Huns were still alive despite her not being believed due to cultural tendencies. None of these actions would have been appropriate for a lowly soldier. She was able to complete them because she was the best and most respected soldier. She asks Shang, ” You said you’d trust Ping. Why is Mulan any different?” Mulan’s public self (when she is Ping) is clearly more respectable when she is Mulan the girl.

Shang is seen as “Mr. Tough Guy.” He makes the soldiers pick up every grain of rice to pay for their bad behavior. He is very tough and hard on them in order to make them into decent fighters. Despite Shang’s anxieties about being a good captain, he plays the role perfectly and impresses the men with his physical abilities and gains their respect by his stick attitude. Shang’s public self is respected by the men.


Meaning of Names in Gatsby

I have always loved names. I don’t know why. They interest me. My mom chose names for her kids based on meanings. Many authors take a lot of care in choosing the names for their characters, and sometimes even look up the meanings. (For example, “Simba” means “lion” in Swahili.)

When I first read The Great Gatsby, (and then when I read it again) what really stood out to me was Daisy’s name. I have heard people name their daughters things like “Holly” and “Lilly” and “Rose,” but never “Daisy.” In Harry Potter, the two sisters Lilly and Petunia, are examples of this. (Petunia is a very odd name to me. I have only heard it once, and that was in Harry Potter.)

No offense to anyone named Daisy, or anyone who might really like that name, but I don’t like it. Not for a human. Maybe a dog…I don’t know. But the weird thing is that I find it very fitting for Daisy Buchanan. She is a very worldly, surface focused character. Daisy is a rather ditsy name. It fits.

I find that Jay Gatsby is a very British and sophisticated name, fitting for the character. And Nick, is a short, plain, and common name, which is basically just how be acts. (No offense to anyone named Nick. I don’t dislike the name.)

Any thoughts? What do you all think of the names Fitzgerald chose? Do you think they add meaning to help describe the characters?