Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter: Answering Questions

1) Mario Vargas Llosa tells the story is obviously older than the “Marito” who is living it . . . how would you describe the tone? what is the attitude of the narrator to the young man he was? 

 

2) if every other chapter, basically, represents one of Pedro Camacho’s serials —if they didn’t happen, in other words, what is the point of spending so much time on these characters/events/conflicts?

Given the title, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, the two main characters in the book, Aunt Julia and Pedro Camacho, are expressed individually in the book. In the parts where Mario narrates, we see Aunt Julia’s side of the story but Mario’s relationship with Pedro Camacho is very limited given his closed-off personality. In using half of the chapters for the serials, Mario is allowing Pedro Camacho to be expressed as an important character and the audience begins to understand him through the recurring ideas in his serials. For example, the repetition of the “man with an aquiline nose in the prime of his life” as the centre of the story may portray how Pedro sees himself. As the description is repeated continuously, it indicates that in some ways he is trying to convince himself of this description, ignoring that he is ‘missing out’ on reality. Additionally, as the man in his fifties is the main character in all of the serials, it could portray how Pedro feels he is at the centre of people’s lives and the world revolves around him.

 

3) If a story is basically, “one time, in one place, something happened” then it’s not really literature —it’s journalism or history or maybe even just gossip. Literature is usually thought to express something timeless —something true in a bigger sense. What might this novel be saying about life?

Mario Llosa : Reality and Imagination are in conflict

In Mario Llosa’s book, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, the author uses the characters and the layout of the book to represent the theme and idea that in this book reality and imagination are in conflict. Mario’s aunt claims the radio serials are “mere claptrap” but live “with their ears glued to the radio” establishing a basic premise of reality and imagination being in conflict. In this case, their imagination, that they were cultured and much-preferred books to serials conflicts reality, which is that they are very invested in the serials. As they believe that serials are “mere claptrap” the author is displaying how the aunts are in a state of denial about their own reality, establishing a conflict between reality and imagination. In contrast, Mario uses Pedro’s character who lives on the line of separation between reality and imagination and rather prefers his imagination. Pedro believes that dressing up as his characters allows the “day’s work to become more tolerable” and the author is thus demonstrating that Pedro uses his imagination to make reality more bearable. This is another portrayal of the conflict between imagination and reality as although Pedro has accepted the two but must suffer through reality to enjoy his imagination. Lastly, another aspect of this theme is the difference between the author of the book and the character Mario. This two-sided expression of Mario represents another time where reality and imagination are in conflict as Mario uses his reality, as an author, to write and portray his imagination through his book to represent his life.

Nike Ad Analysis

In the series of ads labelled, “the Kobe System” Nike uses Kobe Bryant, among other famous people, to establish a premium brand of Nike. On a surface level, the ads do not appear to make sense as they are short in length and are edited in a way so that they appear incomplete and cut off. The first point to make about the ads is that they promote the audience to think and research the shoe after watching the ad as the actual information about the shoe is limited. Nike’s production of the ad means that is intriguing and encourages customers to research more and its unusual style encourages people to research it more. Additionally, given the ad, was theoretically advertising the shoe, but gave no information about it, which may imply that the shoe is about more than just playing basketball, but about the customer reaching “success” at a level similar to that of Kobe Bryant. This ad achieves the level of superiority and success in associating the Nike brand with famous people. In using celebrities of both genders and people from a variety of countries, Nike attempt to paint themselves as the elite sports brand all over the world. Even if the audience decides that the shoes are too expensive, Nike has created a superior brand for themselves which is associated with famous people, often those that the audience loves and admires, meaning regardless of whether or not the viewer purchases the shoe, they buy into the brand. Moreover, the setting of the ad takes place in a setting where Kobe acts as the motivational speaker, further contributing to the dominant and superior brand of Nike.

Football Reflection 2

In order to address learning outcome 1 and 2, we must reflect on our areas for growth and development as a team. One of the things I feel that we should improve on is how we start our games and our attitude towards our opponent. Often in football, a good mindset at the beginning of the game enables the team to work together and play their own style of football throughout the game. In the past, we were too fixed on the score which prevented us from playing the game to the best of our ability. As captain, I feel it is my responsibility to ensure that we start well and give ourselves the best opportunity to win games and perform well at SEASAC.

Coates vs Stockett

As Coates explains in his essay, Why do so few Blacks Study the Civil War, the Civil War was “a story for white people—acted out by white people, on white people’s terms”. The idea that black people merely featured as “stock characters and props” in their own war for liberation allows us to understand the question better. How can a black man succeed equally to a white man when a black man’s fight for freedom was not his own? With so few black people in positions of power, it is difficult to argue against the lack of equal opportunity for blacks and whites. With this basis for an economy, although the intent may not be to continue a legacy of colonialism, does intent really matter if the behaviour exhibited in our society demonstrates minimal regard for equal opportunity in life?

That being said, I also feel that it is important to recognise behaviour with good intention when it is being displayed. For example, I felt that Coates’ critique of the Obama years of the presidency was quite unfairly cynical. He argued that Obama wasn’t truly a “black man’s” president, however, it is important to understand what it meant to be president. Obama was elected to be president by a majority of the population, not all of whom were black. As president, he must appeal to the entire population, not isolate black people in an attempt to benefit them. Even if he did want to do change laws and policies to benefit the black population, the presidency does not give absolute rule over a country, meaning unless there was a majority vote from both black and white senators, he would be unable to do so.

When comparing the Stockett and Coates passages, it is important to take into account their audience and the similarities that can be drawn from the two texts. In Stockett’s book, The Help, the maids are almost enslaved to the words they shared as even though they allowed to tell their stories, it was still under the rule of a white person. A comparison can be drawn to Coates’ essay, Why do so few Blacks Study the Civil War, as during the civil war black people could “never to truly join the narrative” but to “speak as the slave would” indicating a similar idea of white rule despite their intentions. In ‘The Help” the intention of the Skeeter (the white protagonist) was to tell their stories and in the civil war, it was to free the slaves. Despite the best of intentions, in both these scenarios, the white people ultimately gained the most. In the book, even though Minny got revenge on Ms Hilly, the readers never truly had the sense that it was enough. Additionaly, Skeeter, a white character, gained the most from the book. Similarly, in the civil war even though it was slavery was outlawed, the segregation following the war was so prominent that its racist effects are still seen today.

 

Lighthouse Motor Skills Reflection 2

After our first two visits with the children, I feel it is important to highlight the challenges have been undertaken and identify ways in which we can develop new skills to improve them. One of the main barriers that we have faced is our barriers in communication, as we can only speak and understand English we cannot communicate with the students with a hearing impairment without an interpreter. In the next seven sessions, the children are unable to visit us, and as such we will be learning Singapore sign language through the use of online videos, in order to be able to make an effort to be able to interact with all students.

Another piece of information that we discovered was that the visually impaired and hearing-impaired children could perform activities alongside each other. Initially, we had developed separate activities for the VI and HI children, however, through trial and error, we discovered that the children prefer to choose their own activities rather than to be assigned ones, and can often interact with all kinds of students. This allowed us to see the students working collaboratively on different art pieces, no matter the disability.

Representation

Something that we discussed in class was the differences in races and how they identify themselves. The example that was brought up was how Indian people may move to Australia for example and identify as Australian however it is completely different the other way around. Part of the reason I believe that this happens is that the nationality of many Asian countries can be identified by appearance however this is not the case for white people. Someone from Australia, America or England may look the exact same but have a different identity. This has pushed me to think about how we identify ourselves and our race and what may be the reasons that someone might identify as a different race? That being said, I also recognise my bias in this subject, being from two privileged countries as a white female so may not understand their background/ reasoning for preferring a different race.

Advertisement Analysis

This is an advertisement for a diamond company with the words ‘and she thought these things only happened in movies’. In this ad, the phrase is meant to express the excitement she experiences from receiving a diamond, as it ‘only happen[s] in the movies’. The phrase does, however, has an unintended meaning. The use of the word ‘she’ belittles the woman in this scenario and the plain background with the diamonds on top provides the impression that ‘she’ is only interested in diamonds. Additionally, the comparison to a movie fantasy demonstrates the importance of a diamond in this woman’s life, implying that it is the role of the woman to love jewellery and appreciate gifts from their husbands. The company that makes these advertisements, develops their ads to strictly male audiences in order to convince them to buy their wives a diamond. In that case, by referring to the woman as ‘she’ and implying they are to solely love diamonds, the company is creating a culture of men that believe they must buy diamonds for their little wife.

The use of the word ‘she’ can also influence one’s interpretation of the phrase. It could be understood that the ‘things’ that ‘only happen in movies’ could refer to the belittlement of women. Unintentionally, it has the meaning that she thought a woman being treated this way only happened in movies, however in receiving the gift of the diamond she understands that it is a reality.

Ta Nehisi Coates Words

Ta Nehisi Coates argues that there are certain words that belong to certain groups and shouldn’t necessarily be used openly or freely by those that are not associated with that group. One of the references he made was to the n-word and how it is not appropriate for a white person to use it in order to mock or associate themselves with the black community. I agree with this statement as it is a relationship and community that white people have no connection to this, they should not be allowed to use that word. Additionally, it is part of a mentality that certain white people believe they are entitled to what they wish, for example, they are entitled to the use of such a word. In a way, the fact that this word is taboo to those that are not black, it creates a social divide in which black people have the power over white people, contradicting history, and potentially the reason so many racist white people misuse this word.

The comparison of such is not extended to solely race, but many different groups have words that are ‘off-limits’ to those not within the group. For example, Coates mentioned that his wife and her friends refer to each other as ‘bitch’ but that it would not be correct for him to do the same. Historically, derogatory words such as ‘bitch’ were more widely accepted but it is interesting how people cannot grasp that the same avoidance of words such as ‘bitch’ should be extended to the n-word.

Reception of the Help

In the New York Times article, Stockett recalls how she got the original idea for the book. Although the book sheds light on the perspective of the maids, the way Stockett talks about her characters provides an interesting question on the representation of identity. “She worried that readers wouldn’t trust her if she only wrote about black characters” and “felt better” once having written Skeeters perspective as well. Given the racism and prejudice black people already face, it is quite naive of Stockett to “feel better” about showing the white perspective. Even though Skeeter was more liberal than her childhood friends, she did not necessarily think of blacks and whites as equal. As she is a white woman writing the book, by feeling the need to include a white person she is reinforcing the racial stereotypes already in place. It can be argued that it is her novel and is fiction thus she may write in any perspective she wishes, however, it is important to recognise the irony of a white woman writing about a black woman’s experiences from imagination. That being said, if it encourages people to talk about the problems taking place in society, is the potential inaccuracy of the black characters cancelled out by the public attention to the black community received?

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