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Blue Velvet

ENG 296 Research Presentation

David Hogg

on 21 April 2010

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Transcript of Blue Velvet

"It's a Strange World, Sandy":
Ambiguity and the Search for Meaning in David Lynch's Blue Velvet David Hogg What's the point? We're all like detectives in life. There's something at the end of the trail that we're all looking for.” -David Lynch Blue Velvet is a mystery film - there's no arguing this. Every aspect of the film leads the audience into a minefield of complex and ambigious questions. Interpretations only further the ambiguity, allowing endless space for the individual viewer to see the film in any way they like. In this sense, Lynch commits authorial suicide, and submits the film into the viewers' multitude of interpretations.
My paper intends to collect the most significant of these interpretations (significance signalled by complexity), and dissect Blue Velvet via psychoanalysis, feminist theory, gender studies, studies of homosexuality, structuralism, and post-structuralism. Got Freud? One point that appears in countless interpretations of Blue Velvet is the dispute over the film's Oedpial themes. "Jeffrey Beaumont...seeks knowledge of things that he knows are there but hav ealways been hidden. The big secrets in such male discourse are male dependency, desire for the pre-Oedipal, nurturant father, and female agency; and Blue Velvet enacts the struggle between keeping and breaking the secets." - Lynne Layton "Blue Velvet is littered with quotations and allusions, it encourages us to identify these and interpret, and then it says, but it’s just a joke,
this is only a quotation, nothing but pastiche. ...they do not “mean” (this or that) but rather they function to signify importation, displacement, expulsion." -Lesley Stern Lynne Layton, in her essay "Blue Velvet: A Parable of Male Development," argues that the film's main motif is male development, insisting through the Oedipal complex, coming-of-age, and the struggle to become a man renovates through the film's characters, images, and plot. Lesley Stern, in her essay "The Oblivious Transfer: Analyzing Blue Velvet," however, argues that Blue Velvet's alluring ambiguity is a means to infect the viewer with unsolvable riddles. In essence, she posits that to analyze the film with any sincerity is to become immersed in perversion via Freudian transference. Imagine yourself... ...immersed in Jeffrey's disposition of discovering the barbarity existing beneath his pristine, benign suburban community. Imagine yourself... ...immersed in the viewer's disposition of disciphering ambiguity and mystery within David Lynch's "Blue Velvet."
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