Monday, March 20, 2017

Marxism and (Kids) Movies

And no, I'm not a communist.

So...turns out you can't be an English major and not have movies ruined for you in some way. Seriously. Ask any of us. Especially at the point in time when we're studying Marxist criticism. What we do is study the way text and language is affected by Marxist theology (along with a hundred other criticisms, like psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and feminism). Language is everywhere, even in the movies.

Which means that while watching Ice Age over the beautiful sunny weekend, a light bulb clicked on while I watched the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat try to get that acorn. The acorn might represent the American Dream and the squirrel could represent any person (or thing) under the upper class (the one percent). Do you see where I'm going with this? What used to be just a hilarious movie is now a platform for Marxist criticism.


One of my favorite movies, Anastasia, is riddled with this kind of stuff. The setting does start out in Red Russia, after all. You have Anastasia, who is unsatisfied with being a poor orphan and wants to find out if she can have a better life (beautiful girl means happily ever after). Demetri, who grew up a servant in the castle and has always been poor, sees his con of training girls to look and act like princesses an opportunity to get out of the lower class and "be happy." You see where I'm going with this. Things I like about this movie? One, Anastasia does not need to be saved by Demetri; they work together and it is Anastasia who ultimately defeats Rasputin. Two, that Demetri realizes that he doesn't need the money to be happy, but that it's Anastasia that he loves. Some might argue that he only wants Anastasia because of the status she holds, but 1) he starts to fall in in love with her before he realizes who she really is, and 2) he takes off with her, even though she decides not to stay with all the money either.

Wow. That was tiring.

Okay, so I did promise some book reviews. The latest book I read was Blackmoore, which also offers a good Marxist or feminist reading. This book is an entertaining visit to the past with a Jane Austen romantic feel. I gave it three stars (this isn't a bad review - I do recommend it, especially if you like romantic escapes). One reason I like it is because it shows how "imprisoned" females were in that era, and she is ready to break rules (like go to India with her aunt - no place for a lady) because of it.

Hope you enjoyed these short, sporadic thoughts for today.

Happy Reading!