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In the Heart of the Country and A Rebel Without a Cause

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Demi Falcon

on 17 October 2013

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Transcript of In the Heart of the Country and A Rebel Without a Cause

Notes
Blake Morrison
Sheila Roberts
Charles R. Larson
In the Heart of the Country and A Rebel Without a Cause
Introducing: The Book and the Movie
Both the novel "In the Heart of the Country" by J.M. Coetzee and the movie "Rebel Without a Cause" starred by James Dean features flawed protagonists that fought for their honor. In relation to the discussion of gender roles, this honor pertains to being a man. In the novel, manliness, according to Magda, is about taking action against neglect from other men of immoral behavior, such as her neglectful father, while Dean, as Jim, rebelled against the trend of being a "bad boy" to be a "cool kid." To be a man in his terms, one must be his own characteristic, where being a coward will only result to being an easy target for the dominant kids.
Overview of James Dean's Career
1947-1949: Attended Fairmount High School; performed in theater class.
1950: Begins college career; enrolls as pre-law student in Santa Monica City College in January, then transfers to University of California Los Angeles in the fall.
1951: First television appearance in a Pepsi commercial, acted in soap opera "Hill Number One," and other short movie appearances before moving to New York in September. He was hired by CBS in November as stuntman.
1952: Accepted as a member at Actors Studio; acted in five performances at the Cort Theater in New York for "See the Jaguar."
1953: More TV appearances
1954: Acted in "The Immoralist" and wins a Daniel Blum Theater World Award. Moves to Hollywood for his first movie "East of Eden"
1955: Makes trip to New York City and Fairmount, IN. Filmed in movies "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant." Dies in car crash after shooting "Giant."
James Dean is considered an idol mostly because of his success at such a young age. His career was at it's peak, only to be short lived by his tragic death.
Overview of J.M. Coetzee's career
Earned his B.A. at the University of Cape Town, and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas.
After the Sharpville crisis in South Africa in 1960, he spent ten years outside the country as a student, a lecturer, and an employee in multi-national corporation.
He returned to teach at the University of Cape Town in 1971.
Coetzee's writing fit into no recognizably South African literary tradition and was more influenced by the vogue of postmodernist writing in Europe and America of the 1960's.
He was strongly anti-imperalist and was prompted by the opposition of the Vietnam War.
Received Booker Prize for his novels, "Waiting for the Barbarians", "The Life and Times of Micheal K" and "Disgrace".
Coetzee's first novel, "Dusklands" (1974), caused a stir. It broke with many traditions that the colonial times had, which is when the book was based on.
Coetzee's second novel, "In the Heart of the Country", was published in 1976. This novel confirmed his proficiency as a writer.
Coetzee's third novel, "Waiting for the Barbarians", was published in 1980. This novel embraced many themes of South African imperialist culture just as "In the Heart of the Country".
Coetzee's fourth novel, "The Life and Times of Michael K" (1983) which stepped out of the tight society Coetzee lived in.
In 1987 Coetzee released his fifth novel, "Foe", which was a clever reinterpretation of Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe".
Coetzee lectured at numerous universities, including the University of Cape Town and Johns Hopkins University.
Won Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003.
Throughout the novel, the boundary between imagination and reality seems to be indeterminable.
Due to this fact, there are multiple interpretations present.
The following reviews may reveal what is actually occurring in the novel:
Book vs. Movie: A C&C on Manliness
In the Heart of the Country:
Maintain dignity and gain dominance to become more significant (more as a man does).
Once another man takes advantage of her and ignores her dignity, that's when she stops being a man.
Rebel Without a Cause:
Keep fighting and never back away from the fight.
If one backs away, he's declaring himself an easy target for the "men."
Oh, and be a gentleman to the ladies while he's at it.
Similarities:
In order for a person to be considered a man, he must be independent and daring.
Never "chicken out"; it's all a matter of a person's honor.
Conclusion: CQs and Personal Opinions
This historical movie follows the misunderstood teen rebel, Jim Stark (James Dean), who can't help but get in trouble. His rebellious actions have forced his appearance conscience parents to constantly be moving cities. The troubled teens Jim Stark, Judy (Natalie Wood), and Plato (Sal Mineo) are introduced as strangers in a police station working with Ray, a comforting policeman. Jim is arrested on a drunk-and-disorderly charge, and you it's easy to see that his parents spoil him and seem to always get him out of trouble, even when Jim's true intentions are to be thrown in jail to avoid the "circus" that he's raised in. Judy is essentially a well mannered young lady with the occasional runaway-from-home to grab the attention and love she yearns for from her distant and cold father. Plato has taken to shooting puppies as a bid for attention from his wealthy parents that neglect him and are never home. Jimmy has just moved to this new town and wants to start off fresh the next morning on his first day at Dawson High. However, he finds himself wrapped up in a gang that Judy is a part of at school, a couple of "wheels". Jim fights for his manliness and honor in a "chickie-run" that night that ends in the death of the gang's ringleader, Buzz. For the rest of the night, Jim, is tormented by Buzz's friends at his home doorstep and they even attack Jim's friend, Plato. After Jim tries to man-up his weak-willed father, he runs off with Judy and Plato to an abandoned mansion to avoid the gang. Once the gang finds them, Plato pulls out a gun and begins shooting at the gang, almost shooting Jim. Plato panics and hides out in the nearby observatory. The police is called and Jim tires to help the fragile, Plato to exit the observatory. Jim removes the bullets from the gun and coerces him into exiting. Plato again panics at the sight of brights lights and policemen. He runs out with his empty gun and the police shoots him down without giving Jim enough time to explain that he has removed the bullets. Jim sobs at the tragic death of the misunderstood Plato that was just in need of a family. All troubled teens are tied in at the fact that they seem to be misunderstood by their actions whether it be to prove themselves as dominant or to have the love that they deserve as good children.
Rebel Without a Cause
What other people think
Blake Morrison's literary criticism concerns the idea of the novel not actually telling the tale of what happened on the farm the main character, Magda, lived on but instead telling the tale of Magda's slow mental breakdown. He mentions that Magda, due to her delusions, is an unreliable author, filtering the events of the novel through her consciousness. This is true as there are various inconsistencies throughout the novel with Magda as the narrator. An example would be Magda murdering her father in two points in the novel, first with an axe and then later with a shotgun. He attributes the cause of her mental breakdown to her isolation within the farm and her lack of a partner.
Sheila Robert's literary criticism covers the idea that the relations of the white farm owners and the black farm hands could be paralleled to the real life issues concerning the generally white controlled national government of South Africa and its mainly black population. She mentions how just like in social climate of South Africa, Magda, the daughter of the white farm owner, is viewed with suspicion by the black farmhands. Robert's also mentions that Magda's fathers treatment of Hendrick, taking his wife through bribery of brandy is akin to the white dominated government taking control and abusing the black population.
In Charles R. Larson's literary criticism he goes over the idea of hypocrisy, in particular on Magda's part. He goes on that Magda's murder of her own father was due to jealousy of his affair with their farmhand's wife. Yet after this Magda, according to Larson, then has an affair with Hendrick, the aforementioned farmhand. Although it may be attributed to Magda's deranged condition what was occurring between Magda and Hendrick could not really be called an affair and rather seemed more like rape. This is due to the fact that for the most part Magda seemed to act negatively, only yielding when resistance seemed futile.
Findings
Criticisms ranged at a radical extent, from the claim that Magda is powerless as a woman, to another that states her jealousy.
Historically speaking, Roberts's criticism makes sense as the two different races still had social barriers to resolve at the time.
Realistically speaking, Morrison's criticism is as precise as our findings: a mess of thought, where reality and imagination seem to clash.
By reading the book and watching the movie, then analyzing them, we found out that the properties of men and women are more natural than societal, for "men" tend to be more reckless and irresponsible (Q3). Also, given nearly the same time period but different locations, gender roles tend to be more defined and oppressive in some cultures than others (Q4). In Magda's situation, anyone not conforming to gender standards will only result to trouble - when other people will force the person to conform (Q6). Overall, these works are not just parallel in character and plot, but also in decent appeal and satisfaction to the reader, as these works of art point out human imperfection.
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