Rina Arsen

Rina Arsen

A Lit student interested in the dichotomy between popular literature and legal structures. Still relies too heavily on run-on sentences and purple prose. I'm working on that.

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    Latest Topics

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    The Legacy of Alice in Wonderland

    The plot of Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is both confusing and simple: a child, in what is said to be a dream, encounters and creates havoc in an alternate world. However, the meaning of the story has changed drastically over time. While some works (ex. Tim Burton’s Through the Looking Glass or The Matrix) use the original story as a metaphor for fighting social and governmental oppression, many others, from the recurrent use of the name Alice for mentally unstable/institutionalized characters (ex. Twilight) to the discussion of drug/alcohol issues (Even in music, ex. Shinedown’s Her Name is Alice) see in the tale a darker message. In both cases, these interpretations at first glance seem far removed from the story of a sleeping child. How have the connotations of the story changed over time, and are these changes reflective of the work’s audience, the cynicism of the era the audience lives in, both, neither, etc.? Alternatively, since we know that fighting social norms was once considered a sign of insanity, are the various connotations actually conflicting, or are they in any way interconnected? In short, it would be interesting to take a closer look at the various legacies of Alice in Wonderland, dark and positive, and determine which have persisted over time and why. What do they say about the work, and what do they say about us?

    • I wonder if the book and movie Still Alice would fit here? It's probably a coincidence that the protagonist's name is Alice, but from what I understand, Alzheimer's can make you feel like you're falling down a rabbit hole. Whoever writes the topic might also want to look into Finding Alice, author Melody Carlson. It's a Christian-based novel but not overtly so. The protagonist, raised in a fundamentalist home, develops schizophrenia in college. She uses allusions to Alice in Wonderland, as well as appropriate descriptions, metaphors, and so on while going through the journey of mental illness. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
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    • I actually had "finding Alice" in mind while writing this topic but couldn't remember the title and author, so indeed it would definitely be something to think about. Also, another work that the writer could look into is Resident Evil, though I'm not very familiar with it, since many of the elements (character called Alice, security system called Red Queen) reference the work [Note: This is about the movie, I'm not sure how different it is from the games]. I don't know if this falls into the first category of fighting oppression (I thing the games are about fighting a corporation), the second, or if it opens up new avenues of interpretation/legacies, but it could add to the writer's analysis to look into it. – Rina Arsen 3 years ago
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    • The video games "American McGee's Alice" and "Alice: Madness Returns" are excellent samples to study when exploring the mentally unstable Alice route. – KennethC 3 years ago
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    • There's also a short TV series called Alice very ''dark'' that maybe can help you or TV series ''Once Upon A Time in Wonderland''. The connotations have change with the contexts and the different theories that come up everyday thanks to the historical criticism. Regarding to fighting social norms as a sign of insanity, I'm not very sure if I have understood your question, but personally believe that either before nor now is interconnected to insanity as social norms are created to destroy our freedom as we can read in Foucault and his bio-politics or Betham's panopticon. Could you reformulate you question? – barbarapetidier 3 years ago
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    • @barbarapetidier I would, but I'm not sure which part you are confused about. When I speak of fighting social norms as being a sign of insanity, I'm talking about the 18th, 19th and 20th century (depending on the country we are talking about) when people who defied social norms were often ostracized, arrested or locked up in psychiatric hospitals (take for instance prostitutes, homosexual people, radicals, sexually active women, etc.). Standing outside social boundaries or pushing against them used to be treated as a medical/mental condition. I'm pretty sure Foucault does talk about it, so I think you might understand what I'm referring to? He's the one who points out that even today, social deviance is medicalized. In any case, just let me know how you feel I should change my question and I will – Rina Arsen 3 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    Rina Arsen

    This article is spot on for everything. I remember watching this show with my sister, and when the girl opened her car door, I said something along the lines of “What the hell is she doing?!”, to which my sister answered “Being a girl in a horror movie.” Which, true. Also, for the last point, I keep flashing back to the joke in Scream about how being gay increases your chances of survival in a horror flick (ha, right), and I’m suck wondering if the lesbian death is a gendered thing or instead a modern phenomenon (see: the rise of killed queer and poc characters in TV) stemming from a misguided attempt at “equal” (hear: disproportionately violent) treatment of characters and/or shock value. Meaning, as discussed here the lesbian death syndrome is a growing problem, but does the joke from Scream not apply here because of the gender of lesbians or because of the age in which the show is written (which is later than the Scream movie)? Are all characters from the LGBTQ community also portrayed as martyrs to the same extent as lesbians?

    Hemlock Grove: Top 5 Tropes in the First 5 Minutes
    Rina Arsen

    Incredible incredible article, I’ve been reading and rereading it again and again and I think the content and research that has made its way into it is phenomenal! Many have criticized the popularity the YA series got, but few have stopped to wonder what exactly about Twilight managed to engage with thousands upon thousands of readers worldwide. While I’ve waited to see people discuss its impact and mythical origins in dept for a while now, this article goes beyond that in order to discuss its historical and literary precedents, which is fantastic. What I’m left wondering, then, is what the gradual changes in the theme mean about the changing mass imagination of generations, and where these changes are bound to take us. Are vampires, as well as other traditionally dark characters, going to continue being romanticized and glamorized beyond (or because of) their dark natures (Teen Wolf, Twilight, IZombie etc) or can we expect a rebuttal and a return to the hyper-villainous depictions of these monsters?

    Vampires in Literature: Opera Cloaks, Sparkles, and Prevailing Themes
    Rina Arsen

    I think you are completely right with your analysis. Spectre, while not exactly a bad movie, was conflicting in its nature and role within the whole James Bond series, which resulted in a conflicting and confused reaction from the viewers. The previous movie had been an incredible addition to the legacy, and the dialogue and plot, while still retaining the classical super villain vs antihero themes, still brought a breath of novelty, especially when the previous hyper-hetero 007 was crushed by Bond’s non-revulsion to homosexual topics. However, while the previous movies managed to perfectly balance the classical themes and new ideals, the newest addition seems instead divided and undecided, and would have definitely required some more polishing. In the end, it is clear that neither the viewers nor the writers seem completely sure of what they expect from the character.

    Why was Spectre a Disappointment?
    Rina Arsen

    I think another aspect that is worth noting is that while the content and execution of the movie itself left quite a lot to be desired, on a marketing and competitive basis the movie also had to rival with the recent and upcoming Marvel releases. For instance, Civil War also depicts the crashing of two mythic heroes, but it involves the cameo of many more renown heroes, which tones down the excitement fans might have felt at seeing the single Wonder Woman. Moreover, the human bonds you mention in your article are much more obvious in the Marvel movie, and the plot was better executed as well. With both movies being released so close together, fans and critics alike could directly compare both movies together, on top of comparing BVS with the previous famous cinematic takes on the heroes, which probably made this DC movie look even worse than it was

    Batman Vs Superman: What Went Wrong?