Monday, 29 February 2016

Crimes and sin

Crimes and sin 
Although crime and sin not being at the forefront of the novel they are both depicted interestingly. Crime is not directly focused upon, it is only implied. Meyer Wolfsheim and Gatsby are the representatives of crime within the novel. Wolfsheim and Gatsby have most likely in the past been involved in illegal activities in the past such as bootlegging although this was never actually confirmed. His relationship with Wolfsheim makes Tom especially, doubt his background and his honesty. Other depictions of crime in the novel are shown by the hit and run where Myrtle is killed. Her husband assumes the killer and lover to be Gatsby so fatally shoots him before killing himself.  
The Great Gatsby is a story filled with sins but perhaps most prominently would be lust and greed. These are frequently shown by the affairs and by not being satisfied with one another. Although having sinned frequently Gatsby was the one who was different as he had hope unlike the others. As Nick said he had an " extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which is not likely I shall ever find again." 
A recent example for this topic could be shown in the 2015 film Focus. The character here Nicky is a con artist so therefore making his money in a dubious fashion similar to Gatsby. Nicky has a sketchy relationship with Jess similar of a sort to Gatsby and Daisy's. Although seemingly well off they are in the film aiming for the bigger score, perhaps showing signs of greediness.  

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Prosperity and money (old and new)

Prosperity and money (old and new)

During the whole of the movie prosperity and money are a main features which are prominent. The concept of new money and old money can be seen in the form of Gatsby and Tom. Gatsby a self made man, is seen as new money. He wasn't born with money and it can be seen throughout the movie, even with the great wealth he accumulates, because he is new money he doesn't have the same respect that Tom does. This is also because he obtains this wealth through illegal activities. Whereas Tom comes from a wealthy and well respected family who lives in East Egg which is seen as a more respectable and civilized area than that of West Egg which is where Gatsby lives. Also, Tom doesn't actually work at all and all he does is play polo, this shows the extent of his families wealth.

A modern example of prosperity and money in the new sense is Bill Gates. Even though Gates didn't have as bad of a background as Gatsby, they can still be compared with one another as they both make themselves and make their own fortunes. Gates can be seen as a better more successful modern version of Gatsby with him being the richest man in the world. But the way in which he got there is one which is similar to Gatsby.

An example of prosperity and money in the old sense can be seen in the Du Pont family. The family has a long line of wealth with blood lines connecting to a minor royal family, but the family gained excessive wealth when they moved to America in 1800 and founded Eleuthere Irenee, a company that manufactured gunpowder. 

Great Gatsby, American And Self Absorption.

Though out the book, everyone is worried about how they are viewed. 

Gatsby wanted to look like a "made man" who had it all, and didn't really care how he got there, so he could get Daisy. Even once he had Daisy he had to have it his way, with the Self-Absorption. 

Daisy was very much self-absorption, she wanted Gatsby on her terms and didn't want to have to leave Tom. Even though Tom is fooling around with Myrtle Wilson, and he spent a lot of money and time her.
Everyone in the book was focused on themselves and it was because they just wanted to make sure they had the best of everything life had to offer and didn't care in the stepped on anyone to get there.

So the modern example for this American and self-absorption, has to be depicted by Jordan Belfort.  Also known as The Wolf on Wall Street. His greed took million off of others to make a life for himself. He has said that he just got wrapped up it in all, that this kind of thing couldn't happen anywhere else in the world besides in America because you're meant to make sure that you fight to tooth and nail to ensure you get everything you want in life.

The Searcher

I've chosen the last scene film because it stuck with me the most.

They come back as the heroes they got her back safely. Its very bitter sweet. It feels like theres a serious chachter devoplment, or maybe just a realizion on the behave of Ethan. As he hands over the he over to her parents they run inside they do this as a possblie sign that they only feel safe inside there homes, due the kidnaping. But theres no, thank you for sign of greatfulness towards Ethan. Also the way he step on the deck just to look in though the door as Martin and Laurie run inside, they look are holding hands, it's the momment when Martin closes the chartper of his life where he was a wanarder with Ethan. I don't think he leaving Ethan behind he's just moving on in his life, his way to move from being in Ethan shadow, and hope that Ethan follows him in to the house to be part of a world that he hasn't known for years. And if Debbie had lived I think Ethan would have joined or walked though that dooor. But without her I don't think thought there was anything for him when he walked though that, that why he didn't look back as he walked way and back to his horse.

The film really helpped me understand the settlers time.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Reinventing the self : Gatsby and Blakely

 An integral part of Gatsby’s narrative is the reinvention of the self. We learn from Nick’s anecdotes that James Gatz had unsuccessful, farming parents whom raised a son that disconnected himself from them. His young years amounted to trawling the south shore of Lake Superior clam-digging and salmon fishing to buy merely food and rent. For James Gatz, America was not delivering an endless possibility of self improvement.

However, James Gatz meets Dan Cody and presents himself as the, ‘quick and extravagantly ambitious’ (chap.6, p91) Jay Gatsby. Cody is a man made filthy rich by the business of precious metals and so represents an embodiment of the American Dream that Jay Gatsby wishes to replicate.

Gatsby goes on to pursue money and material wealth. He successfully reinvents himself as a rich ‘business’ man with high social standing and popularity. Part of Gatsby’s American Dream is to become a ‘somebody’, a person that people want to emulate. A characteristic his parents never had.

Although, Gatsby’s reinvention is somewhat problematic - It is via illegal acts of bootlegging that he enhances his wealth and similarly, social class. Also, it can be said that the reinvention of his self is just a function of his quest to retain the love of Daisy which rather contradicts the typical American Dream of self-improvement.

In 1998, Sara Blakely was a fax machine sales trainer and stand up comic in Georgia. Dissatisfied with the way she looked in a new pair of trousers she cut the feet off of some pantyhose and wore them underneath instead of regular underwear. Today you can find ‘Spanx’ almost anywhere in the world and Blakely is now a billionaire. But it wasn't easy for Blakely to become an advocate of the American Dream.

Making the $5000 prototype almost bankrupt her and she was turned away by numerous investors. But her self-determinism and unrelenting want to progress and succeed piloted her eventual success. She told one buyer at Niemen Marcus that if he gave her 10 minutes of his time she would fly to Dallas and she was even her own model!

The journeys of Blakely and Gatsby have some distinct similarities. Both unhappy with their lot they knew that they had the ability, via hard work and determination, to reinvent themselves. And so they did. Their stories are indicative of the strength of the American Dream narrative in both literature and film ect. but more also reality.

Despite the notion of the American Dream dying out, it is clear that some Americans still rate its validity to the extent that they will risk their livelihood for something much greater. In both the case of Blakely and Gatsby, the something greater is wealth and I think for a lot of Americans money and material wealth is a great indicator of success. Moreover, the something greater incorporates the ascent to celebrity which can be just as - if not more - appealing to the modern American. Whether it be a party at the Kardashian's house or one at Gatsby’s mansion, an arena in which someone might climb the societal ladder is the appealing pot of gold at the end of the American Dream rainbow.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Scene from The Searchers

Scene from The Searchers 

The scene where Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) finds Debbie and rescues her. This scene is of importance in the film, obviously as the whole film leads to this moment of Ethan and Martin finally finding Debbie and returning her home but also because it sees Ethan, the lonely uncivilised wanderer, change his mind on saving Debbie. It can be seen in a previous scene that as soon as he finds out Debbie was one of the Comanche and she said that she was one of them Ethan was prepared to shoot his niece but Martin, a one eighth cherokee which his brother Ethan and Martha adopted, steps in front of him.

The scene presents the ideas of how the classic western rugged individual with no place in the community or civilised life, as he is a disruptive figure, suddenly gains a sense of community and compassion setting aside his hatred towards the indians and once again accepting Debbie as one of his own, “Let’s go home Debbie.”. However, we do not know if he has this same view towards all indians, most probably not considering his comments towards native americans throughout the movie.

This beloved scene also portrays the classic masculine western hero. He has wandered the wilderness and finds the girl abducted by the ‘savages’. Even with a lot of his wrong doing through the movie and his racial prejudice, this one act of greatness is in a way his redemption in the film.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Scene of the Edwards home set on fire by the Comanche's.

The Searchers 
Scene of the Edwards home set on fire by the Comanche's. 
This scene depicts the brutality of the Native people, who killed the Edwards family and took the young girls as hostages. The scene only shows you the savagery of the Comanche's and does not identify the real reason for this attack until later on in the film, where Scar reveals that his two sons were killed by white men. This was an act of revenge and Ethan is strongly alike to Scar as he wants nothing more than to kill whoever is responsible. He even has the funeral cut short to begin the search.  
The scene and the film have similar contrasts with the book Little House on the Prairie. Where the Native's were seemingly the enemy and depicted as bad people when in reality it was different. The Ingalls family moved to their Indian territory without asking permission, stole from them and were racist in their comments about them. The Native's were rightly aggravated by having random strangers move into their own territory without even asking them. Although different in the scale of the aggression similarities can be seen in the film, the Native's are shown as being the savages, (as well as Ethan somewhat) when it was the 'Whites' who started this of by killing Scar's two sons in a massacre. The Comanche' then retaliated back by setting the house on fire and killing Aaron, Martha and Ben. 
These two depictions of the Native's and the White settlers both highlight the myth of the American West. That being the Native people are constantly undermined and the 'White' people are shown in a more favourable light than perhaps they should be. When really in both cases the 'White' people provoked reactions from the Native's. The only person who does not fit this criteria is Ethan who is shown as being a similar figure to those of the Comanche, qualities like being brutal and ruthless, which are shown in many scenes throughout the film.