Thursday, February 24, 2005

Cranford Ladies

1.) The women of Cranford believe themselves to be aristocrats above the talk of money. Captain Brown was a source of vexation to them when he moved into the district because of his distasteful public talk on his own poverty. They also detested the presence of the captain because of his association with a nearby railroad project, which the ladies of Cranford were opposed. The final strike against Captain Brown however was the only one he could not control, his manhood. The ladies of Cranford thought the male gender to be inferior to that of the female sex. This was evident in the comment made by Mary Smith, she pointed out that the ladies of Cranford rejoiced in their “distaste for mankind.” As time progressed, he began to gain the respect of the women because of his abilities to come up with solutions to their everyday inconveniences. To the ladies of Cranford, Captain Brown signified an annoyance to their perfectly scripted life but after a few months they sculpted him into an image and role in which they could grow accustomed.

2.) Upon the arrival of the conjurer, there were many opinions of magic and its validity in the group of Cranford ladies. Miss Pole was adamantly against the idea of anything uncanny, believing there was always a scientific or logical reason for anything mystifying. Miss Jenkyns also was critical to any ideas of superstition to an extraordinary degree however she was merely content to be under this opinion rather then try to find any evidence to support her views. Mrs. Forrester held the polar opposite view, that magic and all forms of the uncanny were a real phenomenon. The opinions of these ladies represent the rationale of their time. For example Mrs. Forrester represents those people in the era that still held pre-scientific beliefs, while Miss Pole, on the other hand represented the questioners or scientific thinkers of the nineteenth century. Miss Jenkyns mirrored those in the Victorian age who held similar beliefs to the scientific investigators but were content with their views without any research of their own to validate their ideas. As the group of Cranford ladies was divided with Miss Matty in the middle, the nineteenth century too was split on the ideas of magic, with some believing in it without any evidence and others questioning it’s validity with the scientific method.

The Uncanny

1.) The definition given by Freud for the uncanny was “infantile complexes which have been repressed are once more revived” or “primitive beliefs which have been surmounted seem once more seem to be confirmed.” These ideas presented by Freud on the uncanny differ from the way in which we now experience TV shows. For example, in the television show “Charmed”, when one of the witches performs magic, I don’t experience any feeling of the uncanny rather I am more mystified by the special effects of the production then by the idea of magic. I am not able to experience the uncanny in viewing shows like “Charmed” because in today’s society, TV is so saturated with shows dealing with the unknown and unique that as a viewer, I feel isolated from the event. Freud mentioned that the uncanny is accentuated by fiction stories that follow the realm of reality and then abruptly break with an uncanny event which is rarely seen in society. Even the employ of this device in television shows fail to bring out the uncanny effect because for something to be deemed uncanny, at least in my mind, it has to be plausible in our reality. It is impossible to achieve any degree of the uncanny in TV or any kind of fiction by Freud’s definition because of our pre-viewing knowledge of how TV shows are made and that they have an unreal origin.

2.) Society can still experience the uncanny through random chance. Freud alluded to this in his essay with his example of the repetitive number that could be encountered during the day. The uncanny is only experienced in reality for people in the twenty first century because every unreal facet of the culture has been thoroughly understood, and from this knowledge our primitive beliefs remain surmounted.
It is impossible for anyone ever to truly surmount the uncanny because for this to occur one must be omniscient. The uncanny effect regularly experienced in the twenty first century occurs when one is faced with an experience that is beyond his/her knowledge. In order to surmount the uncanny effect defined by Freud, one must have a complete knowledge of his/her setting and since scientific advancement is an on going event, the idea of someone overcoming the uncanny is invalid.
Surmounting the uncanny is correlated with being modern because in the twenty first century there is much that is known about the world that we live in, which in turn limits the amount of mystique experienced. People who live in less advanced societies experience the uncanny on a more regular basis because more things are beyond their conceptual scope of knowledge. For example, when the first man discovered fire he probably experienced a great degree of uncanny but now through advancement in our knowledge, fire ceases to mystify. Societies further advanced in the knowledge of their surroundings experience the uncanny less then the more primitive cultures.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Testing 1, 2, 3