Honors English I Third Six Weeks Extra Credit
We’ve been reading literature this semester and exploring such themes as loss of innocence, good versus evil, duality, obsession, humankind’s tendency to abuse power, and personal responsibility versus societal expectations, among others. The classic literature we read is not the only place you can find these themes. In fact, one reason we study literature is to help us to better understand and interpret our own time and experiences.
Take what you have learned studying the novels we have read to analyze a piece of pop culture. You may choose a modern novel, a movie, or a television show. You may not select anything that is recognized as literature. The point is to see how you can find these universal themes in all modes and genres.
- Although you are analyzing pop culture, you must still maintain a formal writing tone.
- You must reference at least one of the pieces of literature we studied for comparison.
- The depth of your discussion will determine the amount of your extra credit.
- Of course, grammar and mechanics will be figured into your score.
- You must have quotes. How many? Enough to make your point/s.
- Blog posts and comments are single spaced with double spaces between the paragraphs. (Yes, I know.)
- You may add pictures if you know how.
- To italicize text in a comment, put <i> in front of what you want to italicize, and </i> at the end of it.
- Your submission must be in the form of a comment here on Logophiles.
- The last day to submit for credit is December 1, 2017.
- If you do not follow all of these directions, you will get no credit at all.
- When I finished my entry, I noticed that I have about 600 words; you do not have to have this many. If you have between 350 and 500, you will be in good shape.
As always, I will go first.
These past few weeks, I have revisited one of my all time favorite television shows, Pushing Daisies. It’s a fantasy. It’s a mystery. It’s a romance. It’s a fairy tale. It’s a work of art on television. Ned, a piemaker (Lee Pace) can raise the dead with a touch—but only for sixty seconds; after that someone else has to die to take their place. If he touches the resurrected person again, death becomes permanent. One day, Ned raises Charlotte, a.k.a Chuck (Anna Friel), his childhood sweetheart. They discover they still love each other; unfortunately, Ned cannot ever touch Chuck again, or she will die. Ned works with Emerson Cod, a grumpy private eye to solve murders by asking the dead who their murderers were in those sixty seconds and then collecting the often substantial reward for finding the killers.
Pushing Daisies is one of the most literary television shows that has aired in a very long time. Of course, this doomed it to a short run since the American public by and large does not watch television to think; it aired from 2007 to 2009. As Daisies is the story of Chuck, “the dead girl who was not dead” (“Dummy”), viewers are exposed to an exploration of duality. Throughout the series, the witty language exposes the two sides of things. The use of oxymorons calls to mind the use of such language in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when Romeo referred to the duel as “much to do with hate, but more with love” (I i 165). Ned chides Chuck for calling for a fresh start “because starting fresh means something else is ending stale” (Fuller “Circus Circus”). Conversely, in the final episode, “Kerplunk,” the Narrator reminds viewers that the reverse is also true. “At that moment, in the town of Coeur d’Coeurs, events occurred that are not, were not, and should never be considered an ending. For endings, as it is known, are where we begin.”
Duality is not the only theme Pushing Daisies explores. Loss of innocence is a prominent theme throughout the series. Olive Snook has been in love with Ned since before Chuck was reanimated. When Chuck enters their lives, she is puzzled by their lack of any physical contact believing at first that this means that she still has a chance with Ned. She even half-heartedly accepts Chuck as her friend. When she discovers that Ned had been lying to her about everything ever since she had met him, and that Chuck was only remaining separate from Ned because she would literally die if she touched him, her loss of innocence was heartrending. In a tirade to Chuck she says, “You’re not really dead, you’re just pretending to be dead while other people who think you’re dead are heartbroken”(“Girth”). She is so distraught that she leaves Coeur d’Coeurs to join a convent. There, however, she learns that she cannot escape the world because she discovers a murder for which she needs to call on Ned’s and Emerson’s help to solve.
A far more devastating loss of innocence is for Chuck when she discovers that Ned is the cause of her beloved father’s death. When Ned brought his mother back to life and did not observe the sixty-second limit, another life had to be taken–that life was Chuck’s father. chuck refused to look at or talk to Ned for days following that revelation because she could not face the knowledge, mirroring Dr. Lanyon’s reaction to Jekyll’s revelation: “I can not, even in memory, dwell on it without a start of horror” (Stevenson 41). Because neither of these characters was completely innocent, unlike Dr. Lanyon, both eventually recover. The show demonstrates the inherent difficulties in keeping secrets and refusing to accept the reality before one, even when that reality is unpleasant.
Fuller, Bryan, creator. Pushing Daisies. Warner Brothers Studios, 2007-2009. DVD.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dover, 1991.