Tag: Works Cited

Jean Renoir’s film ‘A Day in the Country’ and Guy de Maupassant’s story ‘A Country Excursion’: A comparative analysis in the context of Dudley Andrews’ three adaptation strategies


A Day in the Country is one of Renoir’s early forays into narrative story telling.  One can see the tentativeness of a filmmaker finding his feet in the new medium which was only a few years past the silent films era. A characteristic of the fledgling days of cinema was its seeking of ideas and stories from classic literature and theatre.  In the context of French cinema, works of such iconic writers as Victor Hugo, Emile Zola and Alexander Dumas were heavily drawn upon.  Guy de Maupassant’s short story A Country Excursion is one among many instances of early cinema embracing literature.  But there are numerous challenges in adapting a work of art to a radically different medium.  Theatre and cinema can be said to share some affinity in terms of principles of mise-en-scene, accepted rules of screen-play, shared exploration of genres, etc.  But literature to film is a big leap and film theorist Dudley Andrew identifies three basic types . . . Read More

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Asian American Woman before 1950s

It is fair to state that the status of Asian American women before 1950s was not any better than that suffered by minorities from any racial-ethnic group during this period.  This is amply attested by first-hand accounts of discrimination and maltreatment by early immigrants. We also have copious legal indictments handing penalties, jail sentences and deportations to early wave of Asian immigrants to the ‘land of the free’. Considering that it was beginning from the second half of the 19th century that steady streams of Asian immigration poured into America, it is apt to claim that their struggle spanned a century, ending with the Civil Rights movement of 1960s.  Prior to this the community endured a century of hardships that mitigated their integration into mainstream American socio-culture.  If racial prejudice was a sizeable challenge on its own, the issues were compounded for womenfolk.  The rest of this essay is an overview of the Asian American experience . . . Read More

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A Hanging by George Orwell: An analysis

The short story is based on the author’s first hand experiences as an imperial police officer in Burma.  It has all of the trademark Orwellian touches, including the futility and the dehumanization that the imperial project entails. Moreover the story is a strong indictment of the practice of capital punishment.  There are numerous clues that this is the author’s moral stance.  First the dog that strays into the gallows obviously does not find the prisoner guilty. It is a mark of its love for its master and loyalty the dog jumps on the prisoner and licks his face.  Here Orwell is hinting that guilt is a morally relative judgment.

Another point Orwell implies is the shared common humanity between the unfortunate prisoner and his persecutors. This insight comes through at the moment when the prisoner steps aside from a puddle of water. It was a powerful moment that revealed his capacity for rational thinking and action.  The other instances of hangings narrated by . . . Read More

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What have been the prevailing creationist/intelligent design explanations for the origin and development of organic beings and how have these views been challenged by Darwin’s theory of evolution?

Charles Darwin’s publication of the theory of evolution through natural selection is one of the pivotal moments in the history of science. But the theory was unveiled only in the middle of 19th century, by when great strides have already been made in other fields of science. Yet, when compared to the complexity and cumbersomeness of theories in the fields of astronomy, quantum physics or discrete mathematics, Darwin’s theory is remarkable for its simplicity.  Despite this fact the theory has generated a lot of controversy – both among the general public and among intellectuals. Leading the aggression are the religiously orthodox, who see a threat to the tenets of their faith. To overcome their insecurities they adopt one of two approaches. First, they try to reject evolution as valid scientific theory for want of adequate evidence supporting it. When this fails, they co-opt the theory into a religious understanding and project the process of evolution as God’s . . . Read More

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Hauss and Dahl’s definition of democracy vis-à-vis ‘American exceptionalism’

Various leading political scientists of the twentieth century have understood, defined and interpreted ‘democracy’ in a variety of ways.  Robert Dahl, arguably the most influential American political scientist of the 20th century reckons that democracy is a utopian concept that is not found anywhere in contemporary geo-politics.  In its stead, leading industrial societies of the world, including the United States have a ‘Plutocracy’, where power is shared and wielded by various major public institutions. Plutocracy is less idealistic than democracy in that it is not the people’s voice but the will of the institutions that holds sway over policy.  But plutocracy is still better than a totalitarian society where power is concentrated in the hands of small ruling elite with no accountability. Dahl classifies political systems under a spectrum of five gradations. At the top of the scale are the fairest systems that employ ‘rational persuasion’ for gathering . . . Read More

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How does the worldview presented in the movie ‘The Golden Compass’ converge or differ from a Christian worldview?

The Golden Compass is a bold movie in the sense that it tackles a major social malaise – namely religious authority.  Although references to Christianity in particular and God in general have been removed from the film version, there is no doubt that the sweeping authority of the Magisterium includes these two sources of authority.  The clue that religion, especially Christianity is being criticized is evident from the original novel by Philip Pullman that goes on to claims that “‘The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake… Every church is the same: control, destroy, and obliterate every good feeling…. For all its history [religion] has tried to suppress and control every natural impulse” (Pullman as quoted in Burke 2007).

The worldview espoused or promoted by the movie is very different to the Christian worldview.  The former suggests application of rationality and equitable humanism whereas the latter promotes dogma . . . Read More

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Gender Bias: ‘Cat in the Rain’ by Ernest Hemingway and ‘Sweat’ by Zora Neale Hurston

Both short stories contain abundant instances of gender bias. To be more accurate, the gender bias witnessed in these stories is so pronounced and persistent that it is fair to call them misogyny. In Cat in the Rain, the victim is an American girl who is married to a man indifferent to her wishes and needs. In the case of Sweat, Sykes is the abusive husband of Delia who pushes her to dire desperation. Though these two short stories carry the themes of gender bias and misogyny, they are conveyed through different literary devices. This essay will explain how gender bias is expressed in these two stories and will briefly analyze their socio-historical implications.

Cat in the Rain by Ernest Hemingway is a compact story that packs a punch. Known for his concise prose, each word of this 500-word story is weighted with significance. The story is about an outwardly casual conversation between an American and his wife vacationing in Italy. The girl is discontent about something in . . . Read More

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy: An analysis

One of the later works of Leo Tolstoy, the novella is preoccupied with the meaning of death, and by extension the meaning of life.  The main character, Ivan Ilyich, is a sort of a symbol for common man in the industrial age.   Outwardly, he has all the trappings of a successful life, but there is a persistent feeling of hollowness and ennui.  As Tolstoy writes, his life had been “the most simple, the most ordinary and therefore most terrible”.  This sentiment is all too common in the capitalist age, the rise which Tolstoy witnessed firsthand.

It is basic human individual psychology to ward off the idea of their own death although everyone understands death in the abstract.  The Death of Ivan Ilyich is not so much a work about death in the abstract, but death as a personal confrontation.  It is ironic to note that even as he is terminally ill, Ivan cannot come round to grasp his own extinction.  To the contrary he still believes that death is something that happens . . . Read More

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How do the themes, elements and issues found in Candide resonate with contemporary audiences?

There are many themes in Candide which resonate with a contemporary audience.  One of the recurrent attacks in the book has been against religious institutions and the politico-cultural power wielded by them.  Although Voltaire was a deist, he did not espouse the view of the Optimists who believed that we inhabit a perfect world in which all events happen for the good.  Voltaire found this precept highly problematic, especially viewed in light of major catastrophes to have hit Europe in the decade preceding the conception of Candide.  It is fair to claim that religious superstition is rife in many parts of the world even today.  Indeed, and ironically, much of conflict between groups of humans has religion at its base.  Currently, the ongoing War on Terror operation between the West and the Islamic fundamentalist groups can be studied as a continuation of the ancient Crusades.  To this extent the military-militant confrontation can be interpreted as a veiled . . . Read More

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Response to Critical Essays/Books on Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

There are strengths and weaknesses to the book by Kimnach et al.  Its strength is its comprehensiveness and its utility in the classroom environment.  The background essays included in the compilation help dispel some of the myths and simplistic caricatures surrounding the personal of Jonathan Edwards.  The book’s attempt to link the Sermon with the socio-historical phenomenon of the Great Awakening is of immeasurable value to students and lay readers.  It also traces Edwards’ opinions on conversion, as well as his take on Puritan methods for Christian propaganda. The book succeeds in making 18th century theology intelligible to twenty-first century minds, but it accomplishes this with grace and ease and transparency of thought that is the envy of any who have taught American religious history. For example, esoteric concepts like the “sovereignty of God, predestination of the elect, origin of sin, and divine justice” are all neatly explained and weaved . . . Read More

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