Monday, December 13, 2010

World Text Analysis Essay.

Emily Schwartzler
English 495ESM
Professor Wexler
13 December 2010

Globalization: Western Influence in “Slumdog Millionaire”

    What is globalization? Globalization “refers to the ways previously distant parts of the world have become connected in a historically unprecedented manner, such that developments in one part of the world are now able to rapidly produce effects on geographically distant localities” (Tomlinson). In Danny Boyle’s 2008 film “Slumdog Millionaire,” the theory of globalization, specifically western influence, is prevalent throughout the film.
    The movie is based on one of the main characters of the film, Jamal Malik, playing as a contestant on “Who Want to Be a Millionaire?” However, Jamal is competing in the Indian version of the American game show. This shows the affect that Western influence has had on something so mundane as television programming. It is also worth noting that the show is entirely in English, not in the official language of Mumbai, Marathi, or even Hindi. The show could have easily been in Marathi or Hindi with English subtitles for viewers, but it goes to show how the west has permeated Indian culture. The game show host, Prem, is also an example of just how much American culture has had an affect on Indian culture. Prem speaks English in an accent very similar to an American accent. Instead of speaking English with an Indian accent, Prem’s persona is reflecting an American game show host to his viewers even though he is in India.
    Not only have American television and language reached India, but products too. When Jamal is recounting his childhood, he remembers the time him and his brother, Salim, first met an exploitive man named Maman. When Maman approaches the two boys sleeping under a makeshift tent in a landfill, he pops open two bottles of Coca-Cola and hands one to each of them. Coca-Cola is undoubtedly a globalized product. However, the bottles of Coca-Cola being handed to the two boys stand for much more than beverages. The product is being used as a symbol of connectedness. Maman is trying to reach out to the boys by extending the product to them. In addition to Coca-Cola, American brand shoes are another product that are featured in the India-based film. When Jamal and Salim find themselves at the Taj Mahal, Salim decides to steal a pair of shoes. Out of all the unattended shoes, Salim chooses to take a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse tennis shoes, another Western product that is featured in the film that has reached the Indian boy’s fancy. Later on, Jamal and Salim sell stolen shoes on the street and market them by yelling out “American brand shoes” in hopes that they will feverishly sell (“Slumdog”). Shortly after, the next scene is of Salim wearing a pair of cowboy boots. What better piece of iconic Western culture is there?
    Western ideology is also evident in the film. When Jamal is being hit incessantly by an officer, an American couple stops the officer. The wife turns to her husband and nudges him to compensate Jamal for being beat by the officer and says, “here is a bit of the real America, son” while her husband hands Jamal an American hundred dollar bill (“Slumdog”). The belief that money can fix anything is sadly an American ideology. So when the American couple sees Jamal being hit, they instinctly reach for their wallets thinking that it will somehow make up for what has happened to Jamal. Towards the end of the movie, Jamal asks his love interest, Latika, why everyone loves to watch “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” She replies, “it’s a chance to escape, isn’t it? Walk into another life” (“Slumdog”). By watching the American television game show, Latika hopes to escape her reality of living in India and transcend into Western life. This illustrates another Western ideology that has unfortunately penetrated Indian culture, the Western ideology that America is the ultimate country. Latika thinking that America is the superior country is a Western way of thinking. Instead of relishing in her native country, she imagines the game show as being an escape into the West.
    Consequently, although “Slumdog Millionaire” is a film that takes place in India, Western influence is evident throughout the film. Through globalization, the West is able to reach the East and vice versa, but Western influence has impacted the East, as is apparent in the film. Ultimately, through the power of globalization, the world is connected and boundaries are erased.

Works Cited
Slumdog Millionaire. Dir. Danny Boyle. Perf. Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor,
     and Irrfan Khan. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 2008.
Tomlinson, John. “Globalization.” The John Hopkins Guide To Literary Theory & Criticism. 2nd ed.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Male Divine.

My group presented on the Male Divine. I didn’t know much about Male Divines until this assignment. When I thought about who would be considered a Male Divine, I thought of the god Zeus from Greek Mythology. Come to find out, yes, Zeus is in fact a Male Divine. My contribution to the group was to describe and identify Lords of Destruction and the Underworld. I learned many interesting things I never knew. For instance, myths may contradict themselves but they do so intentionally to suggest near universal truths that life, decay, death, and renewal of life follow each other in a never-ending cycle. I’ve thought of this cycle of life before, but I never knew that myths revealed it in this way. Something interesting that someone might not know about Lords of Destruction and the Underworld is that they represent or are held responsible for the things humans fear most like: death, disease, misfortune, and supernatural malevolence. This assignment definitely whet my interest in mythology!

Myth & Knowing.

When we talked about myths, I wasn’t sure what exactly to think. The first thing that came to mind were Native American Indians. Yet, I knew they weren’t the only people with myths, but what exactly counts as a myth? Myths are told worldwide and most are told orally because they were uttered way back when. Every culture has their own myths and some are universal but interpreted in variations. Myths hold universal truths that tell us where we came from, where we will be going, what we should do or not do, and how we should act morally and ethically. What I like most about myths is that they all have a message or a moral. It’s amazing to think that these myths were told hundreds or even thousands of years ago and they are most likely responsible for shaping people’s minds, hearts, and lives. It might seem elementary, but when asked to think of a myth I thought of a Simpson’s episode. In this episode, after eating the hottest chili pepper at the chili cook-off, Homer experiences: separation, initiation, and return with the help of a fox as his guide. This is the best video I could find... enjoy!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Poems Read in Class.

During the last class meeting, almost the whole class read one of their poems aloud. I’m glad that they volunteered to do so because I was too scared to share one of mine. I also enjoyed hearing the meanings of the poems from the authors themselves. To be honest, I favored some poems over others because they were too, for lack of a better word, “deep.” However, I can say that they were all very creative. Some were very light hearted and some were very emotional. I especially liked Gloria Chamarro’s poem “My World.” When I read the poem the second time, I completely understood the poem and knew that it was about a baby in the womb. The rhyme scheme on the last word of each line made the poem flow, and the fourth stanza was my favorite. It was my favorite stanza because it reminded me of what I’m learning in my linguistics 417 class, about how babies’ heart rates change when they hear their mother’s voice in the womb and how they recognize their prosody and cadence.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Third Poem.

Alarm Clock
By Emily Schwartzler

One look at my face
And the look of despise is in your eyes.
I bombard you with my sound.
You strike me just to shut me up.
You turn away, but I insist.
Time is of the essence and you must obey.
Succumb to my siren.
And each day we will do this, for weeks,
And every week for the rest of your life.
I have all the time in the world.
Oh, how you loathe me.
It's what makes me tick.

First Poem.

As You Get Older
By Emily Schwartzler

Everything is new,
Everything is changing,
Your whole world is rearranging.

Memories are a person, time or place,
That your mind yearns to chase.

Enjoy it while you’re young,
Enjoy it while it lasts,
Because soon it will only be your past.