Class Representation in Modern Fiction and Film by K. Gandal

By K. Gandal

'Rich lady meets terrible boy who liberates her then dies.' Or, 'low-life lady is trashed through lower-life boy.' The modern middle-class fictions of poverty that tell motion pictures comparable to enormous and youngsters are a much cry from the nineteenth-century genres: rags-to-riches tales and seduction stories. Our fictions of sophistication flip the older stories the wrong way up. by means of the miraculous juxtaposition of contemporary motion pictures and the vintage writings and weird lives of Zora Neale Hurston, Stephen Crane, Henry Miller, and Michel Foucault, the booklet shocks the reader right into a reappraisal of those authors' works and lives, our myths approximately category, and poststructural thought.

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Rose, in fact, approvingly mentions Freud near the beginning of Titanic, in mocking one of the Titanic officials who is consumed with its unprecedented size. She implies that he might be suffering from a deficiency in penis size and manliness, and her offhand remark seems to be borne out later in the film, when, in the midst of the disaster, he takes the coward’s way out and sneaks on the lifeboats along with the women Award-Winning Hollywood Blockbusters 33 and children. ” In any case, he hasn’t “scored” in a while.

Carolyn, meanwhile, might be thought of as trapped in a trauma film comedy for which no antidote is provided; this too accounts for some of the darkness of the film. American Beauty makes explicit the cultural function of the sentimental and escapist slumming genre—a temporary escape from the status-driven communities we inhabit, communities of the demeaned that are inescapable in trauma films. ” —Lt. Dan to Forrest in Forrest Gump The indie class trauma film and the Hollywood blockbuster slumming drama movie are at first glance mirror opposites: in class trauma tales, the struggle for status and against demotion is continuous, brutal, and inescapable in communities of the socially degraded; in slumming escapist movies, the upper classes are socially poisonous, but there are 40 Class Representation in Modern Fiction and Film lower social zones where one can escape status and its horrors.

4 Forrest then is a superhero of his sentimental slumming genre. And his benighted success suggests that the slumming drama does not merely overturn the rags-to-riches tale but partakes of its magic as well. 5 The slumming drama and the rags-to-riches tale share a very American logic or ideology that reaches back perhaps all the way to the American Dream of Ben Franklin: The hero of both of these types of tales, because he is honest and pure at heart (whether hard-working or drifting), gets rewarded with financial good luck.

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