Forum 1 – English (Fall 2018)
In a post of 250 words, respond to ONE of the following questions. You must provide concrete examples from the literature and the film to back up your analysis. Make specific, pointed references to the texts to support your argument. (I recommend quoting the readings and film dialogue, where necessary, for specific support). You may also make reference to our class discussion or the reading by Jeffrey Weinstock. Please note that your comment can also be, in part, a reply to someone else's comment, as long as it fulfills the above criteria and answers the question. A word of advice: make your focus specific and small; do not try to give a general overview of the text and/or film. Get into a specific example, and draw that out to a consideration of the texts at large. Please identify at the beginning of your post which question you are answering in parentheses. For example: “(Question #2).”
1) As we discussed, Emily Dickinson’s poem, “One need not be a chamber—to be haunted—” is a way of looking at the mind through the lens of Gothic, where mental and physical spaces collapse and interconnect. Choose a key scene in which Psycho relates to this aspect of Dickinson’s poem. What is the “superior spectre” in Psycho and how, where, or in what situations does it manifest?
2) As we discussed, “The Fall of the House of Usher” can be read as an elaborate, melodramatic staging of the return of the repressed in the form of numerous desires (both wonderful and terrible) and conflicts that the characters feel. Compare this aspect of “Usher” to Psycho. If we read Psycho as a similar staging of the return of the repressed, what specific desires and/or conflicts arise?
3) Both “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “A Rose for Emily” deal with witnesses who narrate the story as an attempt to explain mysterious or even inscrutable events and actions. In both works, the final outcome may raise more questions than it answers. Psycho, too, is constructed as a kind of mystery as it unfolds, with a final explanation at the end. What further questions remain at the conclusion of Psycho, despite the film’s attempt to “wrap up” the mystery? To which of the stories is Psycho more similar in this respect?
4) “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “A Rose for Emily,” and Psycho all feature somewhat peculiar “couples” and couplings. As you watch Psycho, think about the interaction of characters based upon their gender (or the gender traits associated with them). To which of the stories are these interactions more similar in Psycho? Single out specific details for your support.
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