Saturday, December 1, 2012
December 1-2, 2012: Chilly Crowd-sourcing
[This week’s series has focused on interesting and telling images of winter in American culture. This crowd-sourced post is drawn from the ideas and responss of my fellow AmericanStudiers to that topic and the week’s posts—please add your stone cold suggestions!]
In response to Monday’s post on snow, Monica Jackson writes, “This post made me think of Where the Wild Things Are (movie version). I was excited to take my older son to see it when it came out, but in the film the story is so depressing and I think it's because of the snow. Max is sad, alone, and angry because the teenagers are too rough when playing with the snow. They break his fort and hurt him unintentionally, but then it leads into a string of depressing issues that always seem to arise during the winter months. There are layers to winter and snow. It's nice to look at, brings up memories or associations, but it leaves your fingers numb and if you get hit with a snowball, it will sting.”
Following up the same post, Ronny Belmontes considers the film Cinderella Man, and specifically the way in which winter can be the toughest time for those experiencing economic and familial hardships; and so Ronny reflects on how Jim Braddock’s young children (as represented in that film) were forced to grow up particularly fast in their coldest moments.
Rob Velella follows up the Fireside Poets post, writing, “I love your reading of "Snow-Bound" by putting it in the context of post-bellum America. It's also interesting to note how radical Whittier must have looked in his earlier period when he was using his poetry almost exclusively for the abolitionist cause (and he wrote some violently angry poetry for a Quaker). Longfellow, by far the superior poet, also wrote out against slavery before, as I say, using his poetry as a unifying force to create the American identity - to that end, he used history, calming imagery, etc. The reality was, of course, that it worked, which is reflected by his popularity. Further, I agree with your conclusion: I wouldn't take any of these folks out of our literary history.”
Steve Edwards follows up the post on holiday classics by highlighting this interesting and informative story on a revised scene from Rudolph.
On Twitter, Luke Dietrich highlights a couple complex American literary representations of snow: “Wallace Stevens' ‘The Snow Man’ is a favorite. The end of Ann Petry's novel The Street sees NYC blanketed in snow.”
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? What images or ideas of winter would you highlight?
12/1 Memory Day nominees: A tie between William Mahone, the Confederate officer whose complex and inspiring trajectory led to one of the post-war south’s most succesful biracial political parties; and Minoru Yamasaki, the architect who helped his parents escape the Japanese Internment and went on to design the World Trade Towers.12/2 Memory Day nominee: Harry Burleigh, the composer, musician, and singer who contributed significantly not only to American music, but to Dvorak’s “From the New World.”