February 24, 2005

Rice's Play More than a Big Fat Zero

After reading “Machinal,” I had a new understanding of Rice’s “The Adding Machine.” Rice’s play centers around the character of Zero, whose life is shown expressionistically in short scenes, involving short, choppy sentences. The audience gains a entrance into the mind of the characters a great deal, accessing the intimate thoughts, revealing their depth or sometimes lack of depth. While Machinal’s Young Woman seems to illicit sympathy for the character which is slowly going mad due to the pressures of a nagging mother, a loveless marriage to a clueless oaf, an unwanted pregnancy which leaves her choiceless, and finally an unfulfilling adultery, Zero is a character who the audience cannot easily fall in love with. His somewhat humorous ramblings and spontaneous additions get annoying fast and the jury scene, where he offends virtually everyone, leaves the audience with a bad taste in their mouths. Zero’s life eventually ends after he murders his jerk of a boss and he ends up in the afterlife. A incredibly strange place, Rice is making a deeper point than what his personal image of heaven is. I am left wanting to see this play worked out on stage, with all of the crazy lights and sounds. I think I would understand this work much better put into that format. The dryness of reading a script is not terribly appealing naturally, but the experience of this play acted out in front of me would be great.

Posted by JohnHaddad at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

The Adding Machinal ?

Okay, I realize that the introduction to Machinal related the Adding Machine to this play thematically, that is expressionistically, but sheesh! it's the same play except written by a woman (and therefore undertakes the multi-task of examining numerous bothersome issues). The more through examination of issues is the great difference between these plays in my opinion. We see how women have to deal with the issues of their body as a sexual object and then of course in the Hemingwayesque bar scene of a man trying to convince his hesitant lover to have an abortion. (Machinal was written a year after “Hills Like White Elephants” by the way). Like Rice, Treadwell shows us the protagonist being overwhelmed and resorting to murder, but it is such an interesting ‘twist’ to see this from the female perspective.


Posted by JohnHaddad at 04:42 PM | Comments (3)

February 17, 2005

The Illusion of Greatness

Jesus wasn't kidding when he told his disciples, "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known..." Mat. 10:26. As Wilson says, “God sees everything.”


Illusion of Popularity….


It is a pity that it took the man's death to show the level of friendship he had in his life, but it was shown either way. No one came to the funeral, apparently no one cared. His business buddies cared more about themselves then their former friend and all the partiers, of whom a great number of which probably couldn't even have picked him out in a crowd, forsook his forlorn decaying body. Where was Jordan, who at the very least conspired with Gatsby concerning Daisy? Only Nick and Mr. Gatz and Owl Eyes and a few servants showed up to the man's funeral, dispelling the myth of his popularity...of his greatness. Even Tom pointed out this idea, saying, "I know I'm not very popular. I don't give big parties. I suppose you've got to make your house into a pigsty in order to have any friends..." Not just that, you have to pay off your friends, and evidently this level of friendship ends with the passing of your life.


Illusion of Love…


Where was the woman who had kissed him full on the mouth and professed her love? Daisy left with the man she claimed she had no love left for. Without Daisy, Nick pointed out, Gatsby was left with nothing. He felt married to her, that was all.


Illusion of Morality…


He took what he could get, ravenously and unscrupulously… His profession, at least initially is bootlegging, and currently, is probably much worse, at least if we can believe Tom. We do know for sure that he’s attempting to cheat with another man’s wife. That should stand for something.


Illusion of Greatness…


Gatsby led people to believe that he was, as Meyer said, an Oggsford man. He didn’t mind the fact that the truth was a little less impressive, that he had been their only as a visiting soldier. Gatsby's own father, could only lament, "if he'd of lived, he'd of been a great man." All of the suits and fancy cars and an incredible house, none of it meant anything in the end. None of it could travel into eternity with the man, all of it stayed to rot. The greatness of the man, if there was any truth to the line, died with the man.

Still, I was sad to see him go. Really, I had to put the book down! I kind of liked the old sport, if you know what I mean. In his own way, he was great. He had risen from the challenge of a penniless man, done “extraordinarily well in the war” and then, morality aside, became great in the world of wealth. And then finally, we still study the man, still try to get inside his head, the memory and legacy of the Great Gatsby still stays with us yet.

Posted by JohnHaddad at 06:03 PM | Comments (2)

February 08, 2005

The Great Gabber

Okay, I realize that the title of this blog just offended the Great Fitzgerald, err... rather it would if he were still alive, but I must say that what irks me about this work so far is one the same lines as the bone I picked when reading Henry James' "The Beast in the Jungle." The verbosity! Come on and say what you wanna say much quicker and remove the beating-around-the-bush lines such as "I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made the victim of not a few veteran bores." Or how about this beauty, "Frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions." Wow, what a mouth full. Perhaps, if the loquacious Fitzgerald had got a copy editor from contemporary time, we would have met the Great Gatsby a little earlier in the book! More in class...


Posted by JohnHaddad at 10:22 PM | Comments (7)

February 03, 2005

Sacrifice Your Morals on the Altar of POPULARITY: Turn Into a Little Tramp Viper Like Marjorie

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Fitzgerald's "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" is a snapshot of a scene from the 1920's that has a pretty significant point even in contemporary times. Marjorie is the ultimate female chauvinistic pig, except of course, for the fact that she's female. She collects boytoys like some girls collect Barbies and switches boyfriends like some guys change underwear. I'm not exactly sure if that made sense or not... but you get the point. And then here comes sweet, feminine, innocent Bernice and the little tramp viper cousin of hers injects poison into her mind, seducing her to the dark side of femininity, getting all the attention she desires, but sacrificing every feminine and moral virtue that she holds dear on the altar of POPULARITY. Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but look at it. Marjorie is an airhead, simply telling the guys what they want to hear, reduced to a shell of a woman by relying on 'lines' to protect her popularity, and in style foreshadowing the antics of Britney Spears and co. she has to keep doing more extreme things for attention, the latest in this case being turning five cart-wheels in succession during the last pump-and-slipper dance (Which in the twenties was naturally scandalous).

Under her cousin's watchful eye, Bernice starts down the slippery slope of immorality. She even says at one point, "I think it's unmoral... but, of course, you've either got to amuse people or feed 'em or shock 'em." Now, the issue in this case is bobbed hair, big deal unless you're my beloved relatives and take a literal interpretation of 1 Cor. 11. The bigger deal is of course, that Bernice is compromising her morals. And for what?!? So she can be accepted by a crowd of people that will soon forget her or at least reject her again as soon as she can no longer titillate them... When she comes back again, will she have to do 6 cartwheels to one up Marjorie? The fleeting nature of being 'in' is not worth what Bernice goes through or what we do today in order to be popular.

Posted by JohnHaddad at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

Wahoooooo! We're off and blogging, getting er done!

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At first, I must attempt, blogging was a little intimidating. But... that was in the past, so all you bloganators or whatever look out! Oh by the way bloganators, any tips or anything that could transform this plain Jane ugly duckling pre-fairy Godmother Cinderalla penquin look (I think you get the point) are very much welcomed. I am in awe at what some of you can do... help me too!

Posted by JohnHaddad at 08:44 PM | Comments (5)