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Love: Desire, Obsession and Rationalization Notes on a Scandal and Morning.

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Presentation on theme: "Love: Desire, Obsession and Rationalization Notes on a Scandal and Morning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Love: Desire, Obsession and Rationalization Notes on a Scandal and Morning

2 Outline Notes on a Scandal General Introduction Questions Mistakes and Sympathy MistakesSympathy Sheba s Desire and ContradictionsDesire and Contradictions Barbara s Desire Her views of Sheba class issue Lesbian element Self-Righteous Possessiveness Possessiveness Self-Delusion and Regression Self-Delusion and Regression The Endings Morning Plot Summary Questions The Three Characters Lydia s Responses: Love, Interests and Lack LoveInterests and Lack Rationalization The Endings: Self- Centeredness and DependencySelf- Centeredness and Dependency History as the Unknown Source of Lack.History Morning in Contextin Context General Questions

3 Extramarital Affair: Why do Sheba (in Notes) and Lydia (in Morning ) want to have an affair? Is it something they can control? (Consider their being married young; the roles of Sheba s family, Steven; Lydia s personalities, position and husband.) Extramarital Affair and Teacher-Student Love: Do having reasons make Lydia and Sheba excusable? Is it right to sentence Sheba to 10-month jail term? Love and Desire: Can you describe the following characters patterns of love: Notes: Sheba, Barbara, Steven, Polly. Morning : Lydia, Meredith and Scott.

4 General Introduction Zoe Heller's 2003 novel (Booker-Prize nominated), which is said to be less sympathetic with Barbara as an unreliable narrator. Director Richard Eyre (also Iris) Protagonists: Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), Barbara Covett (Jody Dench)

5 General Introduction (2) Plot – four parts Part 1: Barbara s introduction and attraction to Sheba Part 2: discovery (chap 5) of the secret between Sheba and Steven; confession with flashbacks Barbara s decision to control S. Part 3: Sheba s struggle Barbara s cat and the discovery of the continuation of the affair; Part 4: Barbara s full manipulation (a new phase) and vengeance (the moment the cat dies)

6 General Questions In what ways are the two characters sympathetic, despite their wrongdoings? Please examine the circumstances (family backgrounds and work environment) How is their conflict and love to do with class? What fantasies do they build around their love ? Are they both obsessive?

7 Sheba s and Barbara s Mistakes Sheba s – Flattered by Steven s attention; believes that she s got a gem ; Enjoys in the secretiveness (cell phone) and transgression and ignore the possible consequences. (two perspectives 7:44; 32:10) Tries to bribe Barbara with her friendship and gift, unaware of her manipulativeness Barbara s – Completely self-deluding, she believes the Sheba wants to leave her family Her self-centeredness and Possessiveness of Sheba (e.g. chap 14) Inability to face her own lesbian tendencies.

8 Sheba s Self-Excuse To Barbara --He s about to be 16. To Richard – like the previous affair she had with her husband when she was 20.

9 Sheba vs. Richard Richard s expectation of her self-control Richard s willing to help.

10 What makes them Sympathetic Their loneliness and lack of self- fulfillment Barbara s – living alone, with only her sister and some remote relatives who gather at Christmas. People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely, but they have no idea of long-haul no-end-in-sight solitude of centering one s weekend around one shopping trip.

11 What makes them Sympathetic (2) Lack of fulfillment: Sheba s 1 st confession – (17:00) -- married too young and beginning her career too late the Christmas scene the mother s saying that Sheba is beautiful, but without substance. 2 nd confession (chap 6/7/8): she tried to resist, but the boy does not let up. She felt entitled.

12 Sheba s Desire Her Desire To be loved and admired To feel young again. (She used to be a punk.) Unacknowledged: to get away from the frustrating family with an old husband, a down syndrome boy and a difficult teenage girl. Her contradiction: cannot let Steven wear Ben s hat. Steven: expects it to be fun, but not a serious thing. Cannot help her.

13 Barbara s Views of Sheba Class difference noticed right away: her tramp coat – seeming to say that I m just like you without success. Her skin, like the white peach and one can see her vein ; her hair Her confession – makes a gold star gay

14 More Class Issues The school (with problems of drugs and violence) and the teachers views of education – Only Sheba wants to make a change without knowing how.

15 Class Issue Steven – lower class of Irish background Silent and powerless rage.

16 Barbara s Approaches Is it lesbian? 47:00 to ask for comforting

17 Barbara s Manipulation Taking her seat in the gods to see how the opera is to end.

18 Barbara s Approaches Chap 13 – a new phase with stronger bonding She has no where to turn to but the old Bar. She is sweetly grateful I will forgive her and heal myself in private, because she s the one I ve waited for. Her marriage: dead; It s a sham, fueled only by the memory of former glories forging our friendship with a stronger bond a delicate new phase. we are stealthily and secretly negotiating the terms of a life lived together. People languish for years with partners which are clearly from another planet. We want so much to believe that we ve found our other. Take courage to recognize the real opposed to the convenient.

19 Barbara s Desire and Self- Delusion

20 Barbara s Desire and Regression With her diary, golden star and high- school girl ritual, she seeks for a spiritual but totally possessive lesbian love. Her interest in the women with milk mustasch

21 Barbara s Diary To confide her secret; To possess and keep the past (re. Jennifer Dodd)

22 The Endings Sheba returns home (ascending the staircase) Barbara descends to her lair, buys a new diary and starts a new but blank page. Another woman.

23 Morning

24 Structure of the Story Lydia after going to the farm (finding ticks) Flashback In the 60 s, Lydia as a grad. Student; Meredith working on his diss.; married for 5 years. Lydia s starting an affair L and M s meeting in college; their getting married when L is 21; their (sex) relationship; Scott vs. Meredith; Scott & Lydia s relationship and their going to the farm (134) L, her past and the farm s; : Lydia s doubts and argument with S : Climax – the motel episode and the husband and wife s confrontation 142- end: Reunion – Meredith s changes; social pressure; changes in Scott s family divorce and Lydia with Scott

25 Starting Questions Can you describe the personalities of the three characters: Lydia, Meredith Freeman and Scott Chaudry? Why does Lydia develop love relationship with Scott outside of her wedlock? What does she want? Does she get it? How does she relate to the two men? Why can t she break up with Scott? Is she happy at the end? What do the title, the tick and the farm mean symbolically?

26 The Three Characters Backgrounds and Personalities Lydia – married at the age of 21; from a working class background, born in a rural town in Michigan (with memories of her grandfather s farm); a philosophy major (on graduate level), passionate about philosophy and brilliant (e.g. 128; 131)

27 Meredith vs. Scott Mederith: no romantic 130; organized with clear plans about his future; Concentrated on his work 130 Needs Lydia as a companion; 130; 131; M s simple logic 141 A minister s son; Did the right thing 143 Scott Emotional; love-making as a playful discourse; authoritative body 134; His simple logic 139 His naked body the look of a creature impaled [ ] upon its own flesh. (143) Dependence on Lydia 146

28 Lydia about marriage and love Married at 21; Brainy, absent-minded, committed to housewifery; Not knowing what marriage involves, she trusts good intentions, mutual respect and affection and love 131 Claims that she does not know why she loves Scott (141).

29 Lydia s Interests and Lack Vague Longing -- Passionate and adventurous without a specific direction: adventure pp. 128, 136, 147 – Philosophy: abstraction and rationalization as escape inferior position of a woman: as housekeeper (131), and comforter (146) Platonism to a new Platonism in Levi Strauss – Scott: his position, knowledge and sexuality Lydia s Responses to her affair: cannot explain it. Fated, inevitable (132) I can t help it ; (133) no longer a virgin can do anything. Lydia s question: Wasn t this love? feels like a Christmas tree 132 The farm house stir up her fear of history and her sense of coming home (135)

30 Lydia s Rationalization with Philosophers Lines 1. Fatalism – bound to happen Spinoza s Ethics: He who repents is twice unhappy and doubly weak; (130) Passion is faceless and mere blindness of will.(129) (137) I do what I want to do and therefore what I do is what I want. (139) Fate – like Spinoza s close universe 2. Correcting the error: I did wrong, to marry him. 148

31 Self-Centeredness & Dependency (like a Tick) The wife not talked about by them unless when Scott is annoyed by her(pp. 133; 139; In need of rescue, forgetfulness and false comfort: Meredith 141; Lydia – Under social pressures, she cannot remember what she s done. 145 Scott 146 (while Meredith grows mature); The ending: Domesticated love 147; self- rationalization; the companion in a body-bag and bleak morning.

32 History – the unknown source of influence and lack Different views on history: Fetishizing history savage s forgetfulness Knowing who got there first, and what s to come. (137) History like the farm house (inhabited by others), or the tick which is hard to get rid of. As Inevitable Influence – marriage like tangled roots underneath (Scott 133); Source of one s Lack: What does she lack? A good house but not a rundown farmhouse (135; looking at Scott s house 139)

33 Morning in Context: Woman in the 60 s. 1. Feminist revolution in the 60 s: women not serving as housewives only, but still suffering from inequality at school and work, and gender stereotyping; Lydia was repressed sexually before marriage; her vague longing may have to do with a sudden sense of liberation She still serves as a rescuer.

34 Morning in Context 2. views of love shown through -- treatment of endings; love and death; -- views of self -- love as fusion, love against self-preservation, love as self- projection; love as a way to fill up one s lack; -- marriage (as economic exchange, as continuation of one's fantasies), -- language and emplotment (e.g. of Romantic love, of poetry, of opera) -- etc. etc. 2. How are the following views of love different from yours? views of self and love – M: love as a matter of necessity; L and S: love as a way to fill up one s lack; treatment of endings – M: salvaging, revengeful, and finally calm, following a decided route (146) L and S: unable to end until being found out and cornered. L & M: religion and theory as a way of rationalization. marriage -- economic exchange for status L: first a priest s son and then a teacher.


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