Posting ideas for Warm Bodies (movie) and “Monstro”

After the critical articles are posted on Blackboard on 4/1, I will add another prompt that connects the critical articles to the readings as well.
1. In what ways does “Monstro” fit the conventions of either post-apocalyptic literature, as described by Stanton Garner in your 2/23 reading on Angles in America? How does the zombie disease in Monstro parallel notions of the postmodern apocalyptic in literature?

2. Choose 2 key scenes from Warm Bodies the novel that are cut from the film, and explain the impact of these lost scenes on the narrative. Does the film try to convey the values from these cut scenes in other ways? If so, how so?

3. How do either “Monstro” or “Warm Bodies” (the film) challenge or support the models of zombie literature discussed in earlier readings by Pokonowrski and Boluk/Lenz? Use specific scenes to make your case.

Ideas for responding to “Warm Bodies” (the novel)

Here are some thoughts about possible approaches to your posting for Warm Bodies, and for approaching zombie literature as disease literature more generally.

1. Warm Bodies, like most vampire, zombie or other horror literature, can often be read as an allegory (a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one).  Discuss how a specific scene of this novel speaks in allegory about themes that connect other readings we have done on contagion.

2. Steven Pokonowrski argues that zombie films are often metaphors of heavily policed medical, military identities that are driven by conformist mainstream ideology. Pick a passage of Warm Bodies and argue how it supports or challenges Pokonowrski’s argument.

3.Boluk and Lenz also trace narrative patterns, but see zombie literature as part of an overall thread in Early Modern (post-Renaissance) “plague literature” that connects infection and capitalism. Based on your reading of a single scene,  how does Warm Bodies connect capitalist expansion and plague?

4. Look at the two epigraphs that open Warm Bodies, both connecting to Gilgamesh. One is a traditionally articulate lyric quotation from perhaps the oldest text created; the other is a quote of mere ellipses from the same text.  Why do you think Isaac Marion opens his story with these two quotations?

Ideas for HBO Angels in America posting

Whichever approach you choose, I would suggest you focus in on a single scene of the epic film Angels in America and apply a concept from one of the readings for this week to that scene.  Some examples are below, although you should feel free to take another approach if that works for you.

1.) Stigma & sexual behavior: Choose a scene in which sex and stigma intersect, either in practice or in idea. How is stigma portrayed as affecting a character or characters? Does this portrayal match what we’ve seen in clinical studies of stigma as it operates culturally? How or how not?

2.) Metaphors of Contagion, Stigma & Illness: How does progression of time make stigma into a reality–that is Sontag suggests that the time that lapses between suspicion of disease and diagnosis creates feelings of dread, shame, and judgement (whether by oneself or others) that impose stigma. Do you see this process in Angels, or do you see its defiance or reversal?

3.) John Donne pops up in Sontag’s article, but in a very different context from W;t. What do you make of this metaphysical poet’s appearance in two such very different works about illness?

4.) Apocalyptic moments: Find a moment that fits Garner’s concept of the apocalyptic and explain how Kushner either embraces or refutes a millennial anxiety over apocalypse as either a cultural or individual experience.

Angels in America response prompts

You might consider some of these issues in your discussion prompts for this week:

1.)”Death before Dying” studies the way stigma can affect a community’s reaction to AIDS and thus affect treatment and outcome. In what way is Prior “dead before dying”? In what ways does his community react similarly or differently to AIDS than the South African community discussed in the article?

2.) Solomon argues that some images of Judaism dovetail with images of homosexuality in Angels in America. Do you find this to be true, and if so, what scenes seem to compare these images of religion and sexuality? What are some scenes in which other images of non-Jewish religions and sexuality intersect, and how do these convergences of the sacred and the physical affect the reader?

3.) In “Identity and Conversion” Kruger argues that characters in Angels in American undergo messy, violent identity transitions, but that in these “conversions” the “prior self is not left behind–commitments remain, desiring continues, the history of the self travels with us” (166).  Choose one character and talk about a conversion moment that makes clear the the prior self remains after the “conversion.”


MU Commons Postings for Saturday, 2/7

This week you will write two postings of approximately 750-1000 words. Since we are ending our Cancer unit, and starting our contagious disease/AIDS unit, you will post one short essay reflecting on the cancer unit, and another responding to this week’s viewing (And the Band Played On) and readings (see Blackboard).  If you like, you can post the cancer reflection anytime before class on Monday, 2/9, but get the reading response up by 2/7.

Your unit reflection must take two of the performance pieces we studied (Notaro’s “Live” set, W;t, The Fault in Our Stars, or the Cancer blog you located) and compare or contrast how cancer appeared in these two performances relative to some of the ideas about how cancer should appear according to authors we have read in this unit.  Some approaches might include:
-Optimism and survival in W;t and The Fault in Our Stars (or the blog you located).-How Wit and Fault in Our Stars (or the blog you located) challenge military metaphors as described by Lorde and Khalid
-Adult or Young Adult: differences in audience pitch in The Fault in Our Stars and Tig Notaro Live.
-Audience and healing: performance as a coping strategy
You’ll need to cite specific quotes & paraphrases and include a Works Cited list in MLA format at the end of this entry. End of unit entries are a bit more formal than reading responses, although they aren’t any longer.  I would strongly suggest working in a word processing document with a grammar and spell check function, then cutting & pasting your essay into MU Commons.

Reading response ideas for And the Band Played On:
-How does Shilts’ And the Band Played On convey the passage of time in a two-dimensional visual medium? In other words, how does the film make you “see” time and space on the screen, and why is this particularly important for his narrative?
And the Band Played On is part fiction and part journalism. What structural choices does Director Robert Spottiswoode make that blur the boundaires between reality and fiction?
-Ebola is a central image in this film–how is it used to convey our understanding of AIDS? How is this understanding changed by events since 1993? (Blackboard readings will help here)