Thursday, December 20, 2018

'Heroes and Villains in Postmodernism Essay\r'

'Postmodernism is a creative exploit that is said to vex originated in the 1950s. As the name suggests, it is the successor of modernism, and the experience custodyt of postmodernistististististististism is overt in non tot entirelyy literature, save overly different creative disciplines often(prenominal) as architecture, music, fashion, dash and painting. Postmodernism was created as a reaction to its predecessor, and its â€Å"rational, scientific, and historical aspects”. This results in postmodernism macrocosmnessness self-conscious, ironic, and experi act upon forcetal, concerned with the instability and unreliability of language, and with epistemology, the con military positionr of what spangledge is.\r\nIn saying this, the aspiration of postmodernism is non to shock the bourgeoisie gentle mankind, as the avant-garde movement arguably does, entirely to ch separately(prenominal)enge it- two by step- bolt down it to its natural state, and by gathering how algid it tail finish be stretched beyond its alert ideas. Postmodernism does this by introducing deconstruction and disintegration to head look our ideas of certainty, identity and the truth; and by the tender function of hyper naive realism, pastiche, bricolage, repeat vitrines, irony, beginningial intrusions, non-linear narrative and self-reflexivity to stimulate more(prenominal) than than than financial aid to the knowledge base foreign of the text as a place of the world inside it.\r\nThere is a true breakdown of what we know to be true, what we expect, and what we argon fitted to count, and this is certainly reflected in the depictions of heroes and baddies in spite of appearance postmodern texts. This investigation looks into the piece of heroic and villainous characters in postmodernist texts, the aspects of the postmodern world that is portrayed by these characters and how they developed, in relation to the societal and policy-makin g changes that were gasoline to the flames of postmodernism.\r\nThe characters that will be apply to investigate this be the superhero Batman, and angiotensin converting enzyme of his arch-nemeses The jokester, development the necessitates Batman Begins and The pertinacious Knight, two(prenominal) directed by Chris coronateher Nolan, and the graphic reinvigorateds bomb pen by Brian Azz bello, and The Killing Joke, written by Alan Moore; Shrek from the film Shrek, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson; he-goat Pilgrim from the falsehood shambles Five by Kurt Vonnegut; and Patrick Bateman from the falsehood Ameri preempt psychotic person by Bret Easton Ellis.\r\nThese texts form the wide-ranging reaches of postmodernism, including two what the great unwashed whitethorn class as â€Å"literature” and â€Å" caboodle refining” as distinctive examples of postmodernism. However, in affairfielding these texts, it is stimulate to render the at se a personality of postmodernism by the creation of the antihero- a sponsor who lacks the traditionalistic heroic qualities, who is flawed, who the interview is ultimately able-bodied to espy themselves in.\r\nHow do the texts themselves reflect postmodernism?\r\nThe literary label of â€Å"postmodernism” keep be applied liberally, and encompasses a thumping number of texts, with differing postmodern qualities prime in each one. However, over the range of texts that is being investigated in this report, on that point argon al closely aspects that stand out more understandably than some others. As this report focuses on heroes and villains within the texts, we will maidenly look at the texts that were used to analyse the characters of Batman and the Joker.\r\nThe texts used to study the Batman include The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Joker, and The Killing Joke. each of these texts are set in the fictitious city of Gotham, New York, which is a postmodern setting that contains us sensible of veneering widespread social meltdown in which it is becoming more and more more baffling to draw a separation in the midst of law and anarchy, resolution and terrorism, and sanity and madness. This shifting, sliding, disintegrating world is clearly portrayed in all of Nolan’s, Moore’s and Azzarello’s maneuver.\r\nThis postmodern setting, an arguably dystopian Gotham, is infested with crime and corruption, and fear and scruple is abound- the people of the city suffer non trust the authorities, nor can they trust any of the social or policy-making institutions that they were brought up to believe in. This reflects the postmodern idea of disintegration- the dissolving of social norms and institutions on which more people based their drop deads, the remotion of the â€Å"absolute”.\r\nThe impressions that the citizens of Gotham face are non just now active right and wrong, or well and evil, they are vicious vir tuous dilemmas presented by psychopathic and unpredictable villains. Also, the hyperrealistic disposition of the violence that is envisioned in both the films and the graphic romances is withal a postmodern aspect of these texts.\r\nFor example, in the graphic new, Joker, when a mob boss who went against the Joker was flayed hot and paraded on to a strip monastic lay stage; or when Harvey cacography’s hired detective/thug is snapshot in the head and hung upside down from a tree on the thou of Dent’s mansion and Dent understands him in the morning, dripping brain subject field over his newspaper. Hyperreality is a deliberate blurring of the boundaries mingled with fantasy and reality, and the portrayal of hyperreal violence in postmodern texts is common, as they distort reality by a trivialization of violence and the set up it has upon gracious beings.\r\nHyperreal violence is as well as found in the brisk American Psycho, in which Patrick Bateman, a yuppie Wall Street banker by day, and psychotic murderer by night, commits ghastly murders and sexual acts everlastingly end-to-end the fabrication, which are divulged with chillingly accurate detail. By the end of the novel, the commentator is numbed to the graphic descriptions of violence and gore, evaluate them as fibre of his e genuinelyday life, skillful as normal as him onlyton to work and engaging in pointless conversation with his accomplices.\r\nHowever, in American Psycho, the roughly obvious, and some often considern, characteristic of postmodernism is its constant annexes to brand names, project culture and the integrated world that Bateman is a opus of. As the novel is written in a watercourse-of-consciousness expression from Bateman’s point of view, the endorser sees his thoughts as he passes shallow, superficial psyche on virtually eitherone he sees. Bateman’s thoughts as he and his girlfriend Evelyn service a somay are a goo d indication of the tone of the novel:\r\nâ€Å"Evelyn and I are by further the best-dressed couple. I’m eroding a lamb’s wool topcoat, a wool jacket with wool washcloth trousers, a cotton dress, a cashmere V-neck perspirer and a silk tie, all from Armani. Evelyn’s eating away a cotton blouse by dolce do Gabbana, suede spot by Yves Saint Laurent, a stenciled calf call up by Adrienne Landau with a suede clap by Jill Stuart, Calvin Klein tights, Venetian-glass earrings by Frances Patiky Stein, and clasped in her clear is a single white rosebush that I bought at a Korean deli before Carruthers’ limousine picked me up.\r\nCarruthers is wearing a lamb’s wool sport coat, a cashmere/vicuña cardigan sweater, sawhorse twill trousers, a cotton shirt and a silk tie, all from Hermès. (â€Å"How tacky,” Evelyn whispered to me; I silently agreed.) Courtney is wearing a triple-layered silk organdy top and a long velvet skirt with a fishta il hem, velvet-ribbon and beautify earrings by José and Maria Barrera, gloves by Portolano and shoes from Gucci.”\r\nThe constant allusions to brand names, fashion trends and collections, make the novel a part of, and a product of, the world external of the text, the consumerist association we acquire today. Un same(p) the fictional, dystopian city that Batman and the Joker do it in, Bateman lodges in a world that we are advantageously able to relate to- our world. We, as the reader, cast our attention called to the accompaniment that the world the characters in the novel are experiencing is the same world that we live and take part in.\r\nThis is unlike most modernist novels, in which the boloney and its characters are intent to the world created in the novel, and the reader is only able to experience them through the windows of the novel. References to pop culture feature prominently across postmodernist texts, as seen clearly in the film Shrek. Although inten ded as a children’s film, the films are a double-dyed(a) example of a postmodern fairytale. The films themselves are extremely intertextual, creating a storey with galore(postnominal), many fairytale characters woven into the one tosh, much(prenominal) as the Wolf from Little release Riding hooligan, the Three Little Pigs, the pansy Godmother and the Gingerbread Man, among many others.\r\nThis intertextuality in itself is a reference to popular culture, citing triplex fairytales, stories, and nursery rhymes for many of the principal(prenominal) characters. Other references to the world outside of the text include Robin Hood and his Merry Men dancing to Riverdance; Princess Fiona retardent down in clock time like Neo in film The intercellular substance time she is fighting; references to the film The Princess Bride; and mimicking the style of game shows and dating shows, for example when the reverberate on the Wall introduces Princess Fiona in a bachelorette-dati ng style.\r\nThe directors besides use irony at the start of the film Shrek, as the spring scene of the film has a storyteller telling the story seriously as a fairytale, when Shrek interrupts this and mocks the author when he says, â€Å" yeah right.” and tears the page out of the book. non only does the use of irony and irritability in this scene make the listening aware that the ogre we are introduced to is non a stereotypical one, we excessively see an interaction between the author and character, a barrier which is broken in postmodern texts to highlight that the text is a work of fiction.\r\nThe earreach is also made aware of this as Shrek acknowledges the camera or audience when he turns to the camera and blocks it before snuggling Fiona. This shows that the film is self-reflexive, the characters of the film are aware of film-making and its tools. The use of much(prenominal) postmodern proficiencys embeds the story of Shrek in a world that the audience is a ware of, and while it may not fully be the reality we live in, it is one that we have grown up with and are comfortable with. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five uses identical techniques to assert its postmodernism.\r\nIt references popular culture, noteing Christmas carols, novels (a character refers to the novel â€Å"The Brothers Karamazov”, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, as â€Å"everything in that respect was to know nigh life”) and history books nearly one of the main events of the novel, the fire-bombing of Dresden. However, despite these links to the outside world, the reader gets constant reminders of the fact that this book is fictional.\r\nThe author, Vonnegut is present as a character in the book, as a soldier, a POW taken to Dresden along with he-goat, making occasional comments, and then informing the reader that â€Å"That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book.” The intrusion of the author into the narrative is also shown t hrough the recurring vocalize â€Å"So it goes”, which follows each mention of death:\r\nâ€Å"The plane crashed on top of Sugarbush Mountain, in Vermont. Everyone was killed that Billy. So it goes. composition Billy was recuperating in a infirmary in Vermont, his wife died accidentally of carbon-monoxide poisoning. So it goes.”\r\nThe use of the non-linear narrative bodily structure is also a postmodern aspect of the text- the main protagonist travels randomly through time, experiencing the events in non-chronological order. For example, his death is merely four sentences in the middle of the novel, described as merely being â€Å"violet light and a hum.”\r\nSimilar to American Psycho, the usual logical implication of death is not present in the novel. However, while in American Psycho the reader was slowly desensitized towards death, in Slaughterhouse-Five, death apparently does not matter, which challenges all the readers’ conceive notions abo ut death, and the sanctity of it.\r\nThe temporal structure of the novel reflects what the alien Tralfamadorians teach Billy of their beliefs about time, that it is an â€Å"assemblage” of moments quite a than a linear progression. This means that they are able to accept death as a perpetually occurring event, hence their use of the phrase â€Å"So it goes”.\r\nAnother postmodern technique is the use of recurring characters: the character of Kilgore Trout, a science fiction writer, appears in Vonnegut’s other novels; Eliot Rosewater appears in God invoke You, Mr. Rosewater; Howard W. Campbell, the American-turned-Nazi, in Mother Night; and Bertram Copeland Rumfoord is a relative of Winston Niles Rumfoord, who appears in The Sirens of Titan.\r\nThese characters that appear over a number of books connects the discrete novels as being part of a great whole; as being part of a world outside its pages. Vonnegut also blurs the lines of genre in the novel in order t o deconstruct the idea of a â€Å"war novel”. The novel swings between the genres of science fiction and a biography, and Vonnegut mixes the fantasy of aliens and the planet Tralfamadore with the reality of war, and the author’s presence and experiences of it.\r\nThe term â€Å"postmodernism” sweeps many diverse, and ostensibly unrelated, texts under its wide reaches, precisely most such texts use like postmodern techniques to achieve the ultimate effect- of making the reader aware of the text as a work of fiction, and as an entity that exists as a part of a greater whole, earlier than an object existing in a world defined by itself.\r\nIn what ways are the heroes or villains of these texts postmodern?\r\nWith the ideological, cultural, and social upheaval that was present during the time of the birth of postmodernism, a new protagonist was born, which redefined our existing notions and stereotypes about the nature of these protagonists- the antihero. del ineate as being the main character of a text, who does not possess the qualities of a traditional â€Å"hero”, the character appears in postmodern texts regularly.\r\nWith the movement of heroes away from the pass judgment â€Å"good”, we are also able to see changes in the villains of texts, and these revolutionary changes in the idea of heroes and villains, which comes down to the primal, instinctive battle between good and evil, can be seen through postmodern texts.\r\nThe character of Batman is an fantastically complex one, having heroic qualities yet not conforming to the stereotype of â€Å"superheroes”, the strong, powerful men or women with a heart of gold, using their powers for the good of mankind. Batman is postmodern in that he breaks the mold for a traditional â€Å"superhero”, and rejects the story arc for one.\r\nHis whole journey started not from a need of his to create good, but a twisted sense of strike back for his parents’ de ath, and in order to become develop his fighting skills. After his parents’ murderer is killed, Bruce Wayne transmits Gotham and disappears for 7 years, â€Å"exploring the criminal fraternity”, and training with the compact of Shadows. He obviously has a different set of morals than what is expect, when asked by Henri Ducard whether he pitied the criminals while he lived with them, he says, â€Å"The first time I stole so I wouldn’t starve, yes, I wooly many assumptions about the simple nature of right and wrong.”\r\nThe recurring idea throughout the texts containing Batman is that he is not a hero, but he is â€Å"whatever Gotham needs him to be”, he is a symbol for good, a symbol for the hope of a new, operating(a) Gotham. â€Å"As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed, but as a symbol… precisely as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting…” In this way, he is astoundingly si milar to Patrick Bateman. Patrick Bateman exists not as a person, but as a blame of the smart set that he is a part of.\r\nHe is an image created to fit the standards and ideologies of the friendship he lives in. â€Å"…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my make pass and feel flesh gripping yours and mayhap you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there.”\r\nthrough and through the texts, we also see that the Joker is very similar to Batman, and this is what makes their relationship so psychologically complex. They are, in a way, similar to the two sides of a coin. As the Joker says to Batman, â€Å"I staring(a) you.” The relationship between the hero and the villain is subverted and made incredibly ambiguous.\r\nJust as the Joker is a villain who does not observe even the basic rule s of misdeed by which confederacy might depict and punish him, Batman is a hero who does not observe even the basic rules of heroism so that society might recognise and glorify him. The Killing Joke ends with Batman capturing the Joker, but deciding not to kill him, and crack to help rehabilitate him, because he â€Å"needn’t be out there on the edge anymore. You needn’t be solo… peradventure I’ve been there too.\r\nMaybe I can help.” And they laugh in concert at a joke that the Joker tells him, which only rein soldierss their similarities, and the fact that they can both understand each other. The Joker, at one point in the Dark Knight, also says to Batman that they are both â€Å"freaks”. And they are, both characters being outcasts of society. But while the Joker is there willingly because of his own calculating inhumanity, Batman is the scapegoat, the reluctant outcast who takes upon himself the violence of society and its devalue d institutions, in order that its illusions of law and order might be preserved, because he rationalizes that he is â€Å"whatever Gotham needs me to be…\r\nBecause that’s what needs to happen. Because sometimes, truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more; sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.” The story of Batman and the Joker is postmodern in that it subverts most of the expected story arcs of both superheroes, and supervillains. It shows that these two need each other to be effective. The Joker we see simultaneously seduces and repels, fascinates and horrifies, and he provides the inescapable force which Batman’s own persona is symbiotic upon.\r\nThe character of the Joker is also very similar to Patrick Bateman, both displaying hyperreal violence in their villainy, and being incredibly unreliable narrators. In the Killing Joke, The Joker says, â€Å"”Something like that happened to me, you know. I… Iâ⠂¬â„¢m not on the dot trustworthy what it was. Sometimes I call up it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice! Ha ha ha!” Similarly, in American Psycho, we are unable to trust the memories of a psychopath, shown by his blank shell â€Å"But I don’t remember…” statements when recounting his murders and sexual exploits.\r\nAlso, when we find that one of Bateman’s victims, a colleague of his named Paul Owen, is genuinely alive at the end of the book, we find ourselves being sure of the entire story- his character, the plot and definitely his low-spirited tales of murder and torture. Bateman and the Joker are both psychopaths- and in some ways, they are both forces of anarchy in their societies, the Joker being an elemental force unconstrained by any glimmer of humanity, fear or vulnerability. As he claims in the Dark Knight, â€Å"The only sensible way to live in this world is witho ut rules.”\r\nMeanwhile, Bateman has no go out for people as everything in his world is purely material- he does not perplexity when he kills, as all he feels he is killing is an â€Å"Armani pantsuit”. Neither of these characters have an object nor a goal towards which they work, as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler says, â€Å"Some men aren’t feeling for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought or bullied, profound or negotiated with. Some men wish to watch the world burn.” However, while the Joker is invincible due to his absolute emancipation from pain and any other human attachment, Bateman is confined to the expectations of his status and social culture.\r\nBateman severely refers to popular culture throughout Psycho, safekeeping up a steady stream of superficial commentary on all aspects of his life. In this way, the character of Shrek is similar to Bateman, as he also lives in a world where advertising, brand names, and so cial stand up play a major part in one’s life. However, looking at the characters, they are clear opposites- while Bateman has embraced the shallow culture of his time, and practices it dutifully, the society of Shrek’s time has turned him into a hard-bitten cynic, one who would rolls his eyes whenever his companions would make a frivolous comment.\r\nThis is related to the fact that Shrek is an ogre, and the film subverts the stereotype of the ogre as a villain, by molding him as the hero, and the actual Prince Charming as the whiny, cowardly villain of the film. This challenges conventional saying, since we, the audience, have been springed to think of ogres as â€Å"evil” creatures who eat people and have no mercy. Through this film, we see that this is actually not the case; traditional villains can also become undismayed heroes, given the right setting and sidekick.\r\nBilly Pilgrim, a cowardly, weak, time-travelling optometrist who is the protagonist of the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, is an unlikely war hero. He is weak, less-traveled and distressing to the audience, and becomes a laughable soldier. level as a time traveler, he is described as a â€Å" fitful in time”. He is postmodern in the development of his character as an â€Å"anti-hero”, an ordinary, if slightly on the pathetic side of ordinary, man.\r\nThe story is driven the other the events more than the protagonist, since he is unable to be resolved and strong-minded enough to change the world, or even his social world, neither positively nor negatively. He is another unreliable narrator, when he tells the world of his tales about the Tralfamadorians, he is taken to be insane, and not believed.\r\nBecause he is such a weak character, he does not contradict the fact, but neither does he support it, and so the reader is in time unsure at the end of the novel whether his tales of Tralfamadore were true, or whether they were merely an elaborate manage m echanism to help deal with the loathsome experiences he suffered during the war.\r\nBilly Pilgrim is the ultimate postmodern hero- he is an ordinary person, who is thrust into a rocky situation, and similar to large mass of humanity, does nothing heroic or commendable. Through this, we also come to the realization that for every lauded, decorated war hero, there were hundreds of other â€Å"average” ones, and Billy Pilgrim is a improve example of one.\r\nThrough the analysis of these heroes and villains, we are able to see that postmodernism does indeed challenge the traditional notion of a clear cut hero and villain. Just as postmodernism blurs the lines of reality in texts, it also blurs the lines in our mind separating the good and the bad. Postmodernism depicts a much more realistic hero, an progressively more human one, who makes mistakes, is determined by what society makes it, and sometimes, does nothing heroic at all.\r\nHe or she is present in postmodern texts g enerally not to inspire, like a classic hero, but to make the audience realize a truth about their lives, their societies, and the world around them. Villainy is depicted as a result of something, rather than a character trait. Postmodernism claims that villains are created by the expectations of society, and are therefore, an essential part of the heroes they work against.\r\nHow did the external world influence the alternate of postmodernism?\r\nThe birth of postmodernism has been linked back to the political atmosphere of the time, in the atrocities of Stalinism. This, along with the horrors of Nazism, and the Holocaust, wholly undermined the modernist narrative of progress, and the ability of language to describe such an incomprehensible atrocity. Thus, postmodernism was born, an era which looked not to change the world, but to redefine it, to make people look at truths differently.\r\n postmodern authors reveal many of the concerns of the world today, by both realistically an d symbolically representing our world, our societies, through their texts and characters, and making commentary on them. For example, Vonnegut wrote Slaughterhouse Five as a reply to war- â€Å"It is so short and jumbled and jangled, because there is nothing intelligent to say about as massacre.”\r\nThe story is very jumbled, written satirically based on Vonnegut’s own experiences in WWII and being a witness to the firebombing of Dresden, which killed 130,000 people. The use of a pathetic protagonist indicates his anti-war stance- the novel was published in 1969, when USA was in the midst of the Vietnam War. During this time, Vonnegut was an free-spoken pacifist, and critic of the war.\r\nJust like Vonnegut’s novel is social commentary of the issue of his time, Bret Easton Ellis uses American Psycho to explore newer, more disturbing trends in Western culture. He looks at the desensitization of our culture to violence, the increasingly gory films, novels and gra phic novels we are capable to, and how this tendency of the media can find its way back to people who are easily influenced by it, such as Bateman.\r\nHe also criticizes our obsession with popular culture, image and brand names, by portraying his protagonist, a man with the double-dyed(a) face, the perfect clothes, and the perfect image, as a psychopath, a man who kills for the fun of it at night. The popular-culture-mania of our time is also explored in Shrek, as it is a children’s movie, and even children when they watch it, recognize the references to other fairytales and brand names. This reflects how we are conditioned to believe and understand popular culture from a very young age.\r\nThe story of Batman and the Joker, on the other hand, delves a little deeper into the issues of our society. They get out the crisis of values in which America, and most of the occidental world, finds itself at the beginning of the 21st coke.\r\n cultural theorists portrayed the late 20th century in terms of â€Å"the postmodern condition”: an era in which traditional values, identities and social institutions were disintegrating and being replaced by twisted narratives, contrary truth claims and multiple identities. Gotham City reflects what our society may be looking in front to, with the increasing fragmentation of our world into splintered groups and subgroups.\r\nWhere does that leave us?\r\nThe era of postmodernism is one that is difficult to define, but it still heralded as a time of immense cultural change, which redefined the way people look at the world today. This can be especially seen in its portrayal of heroes and villains. Gone are the days macho superheroes, instead we have flawed, sometimes even pathetic protagonists, the â€Å"anti-hero” which is increasingly similar to the ordinary person.\r\nThe villains, on the other hand, are unreliable, and cannot always be expected to do the â€Å"evil” thing, they too are human; th ey too have backstory which elicits humanity from the audience. By subverting the traditional stereotypes about the world today postmodern authors and directors warn us of the dangers of human nature and culture, and the bleak coming(prenominal) we may be looking forrad to, if we let the dangerous behaviour of our culture continue.\r\nBibliography\r\nAdamson, Andrew and Jenson, Vicky. (2001) Shrek, Dreamworks Pictures Accessed 11/07/12\r\nAdamson, Glen, et al. (2011) Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970-1990. capital of the United Kingdom: V&A Publishing. Accessed on 26/07/12\r\nAzzarello, Brian (writer), Bermejo, Lee (artist), Gray, paddy field (illustrator).] (2008) Joker. DC Comics Accessed on 26/07/12\r\nEllis, Bret Easton. (1991) American Psycho. New York: Vintage Books. Accessed 31/08/12\r\nMoore, Alan (writer), Bolland, Brian (artist). (1988) The Killing Joke, DC Comics.\r\nNolan, Christopher. (2005) Batman Begins, Warner Bros. Pictures Accessed 14/07/12\r\nNolan , Christopher. (2008) The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. Pictures Accessed 14/07/12\r\nVonnegut, Kurt. (2003) Slaughterhouse Five. New York: Harper Collins. Accessed 26/7/12\r\nWilcox, Leonard. Programme Coordinator of American Studies at University of Canterbury, interview on 12/09/12.\r\n'

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