Wednesday, May 1, 2013

hamlet

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O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,

Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,

Or that the Everlasting had not fixed

His canon ‘gainst self slaughter O God, God,

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How (weary,) stale, flat, and unprofitable

Seem to me all the uses of the world!

Fie on’t, ah fir! ‘Tis an unweeded garden

That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature

Possess it merely. That it should come (to this)

But two months dead- nay, not so much, not two.

So excellent a king that was to this

Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother

That he might not beteem the winds of heaven

Visit her face to roughly. Heaven and earth,

Must I remember? Why, she (would) hang on him

As if increase in the appetite had grown

By what it fed on. And yet, within a month

(Let me not think on ‘t; frailty, thy name is woman!)

A little month, or ere those shoes were old

With which she followed my poor father’s body,

Like Niobe, all tears- why she, (even she)

(O God, a beast that wants a discourse of reason

Would have mourned longer!), married with my

Uncle,

My father’s brother, but no more like my father

Than I to Hercules. Within a month,

Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears

Had left flushing in her galled eyes,

She married. O, most wicked speed, to post

With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!

It is not, nor it cannot come to good.

But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.



This passage from Shakespeare’s Hamlet takes place in Act I Scene II. Hamlet’s very first soliloquy is spoken right after his discussion with Gertrude and Claudius. They had been talking about how Hamlet needed to move on from the death of his father, although Hamlet thought that they had moved on far to quickly. From this passage, the audience learns how deeply the death of Hamlet’s father actually affects him and how he perceives other characters because of it.

Hamlet begins by speaking of suicide. It seems the only thing keeping him from taking his own life is the fact that God is against it “Or that the Everlasting had fixed his canon ‘gainst (self slaughter!) O God, God.” (15-16) Life without his father is not good. Hamlet uses such negative words as “weary, stale, flat” (17) to describe the world. He feels nothing good can come out of the “unprofitable” (17) Earth. He says “’Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely,” (1-141) and what he means is that bad things just start more bad things, like a never-ending chain reaction.

There is also proof that Hamlet doesn’t approve of the marriage between his mother and uncle for various reasons. According to Hamlet, his mother was married way to soon after his father’s death, let alone marrying his deceased father’s brother. “But two months dead- nay, not so much, not two.” (14) Many would agree that there should be a grief period longer than two months before a widow remarries. Claudius and Gertrude were married with “most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity.” (161-16)



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Friday, April 5, 2013

Goodfellas vs The Godfather

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As Americans we generally tend to cheer for the good guys. We love to see those who are fighting for what’s right win. This seems to hold true in all aspects except for movies involving the “mafia”. In these movies men whose ideas are the ones we are cheering for, these characters fight generally to make money and gain power, a major part of the American dream. These men’s American dreams seem to be a bit different than the rest of ours though, they do not believe in our government, and they have their own secret societies. Two of the most popular titles in this genre are the Godfather series and Goodfellas. These movies were made in the same era and are have similar themes but are different in many aspects.

The Godfather which was a major blockbuster was made in 17 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Marlon Brando and a young Al Pacino. This is probably one of the most intelligently made movies that fall into the mafia category. Pacino stars as Vito Corleone’s son who has just come home from the military and becomes involved in the “family business”. Unlike many of its contemporaries, it does not have much violence. The minimal violence that is in it is used to help move along the story, and not as a draw for the movie. It has been said that the violence in this movie is justified, meaning that there was a reason for it, part being retaliation for the killing of family members, or the family being double-crossed. In the Godfather, Al Pacino plays Michael Corleone, the son of Vito Corleone played by Marlon Brando, whose raspy voice is unforgettable in this role. In the opening scene it is Michael’s sister Connie’s wedding, and he has come with his girlfriend at the time, Kay, who is played by Diane Keaton. She has not been brought up in this life that he is part of and does not understand what is going on around her. She sees Luca Brasi rehearsing what he is going to say to the Don and is inquisitive about his actions. This is our first sign as the audience that she does not belong in this part of Michael’s life.

The scenery in a majority of the film is quite dark, with old sounding Italian music playing ominously in the background. A lot of the movie takes place within the family compound, due to that many of the characters are part of the Corleone family, meaning that there are not too many unnecessary and unimportant characters. Though, there is one part of the movie in which Michael must “hide-out” after he kills a police-officer, and he goes on the lam to Sicily. This portion of the movie has beautiful scenery in which they show the Italian country-side. Since there is a fairly small cast and this a long movie it goes quite in depth as far as the story line. Unlike many of the other “mob” movies made this film is generally categorized as a drama rather than an “action” movie due to the fact that it involves much more of a psychological aspect, rather than just mob guys killing each other off. Many men of today’s society tend to view this as one of if not the best movie made.

On the other hand, Goodfellas which was made a few years later than The Godfather tends to be more of a violent movie, with the characters delving into the seedy business of drugs. This is probably the second most popular “mafia movie” next to the Godfather. The reason I would tend to assume that it is falls short of the above mentioned is that it is less of an intelligent movie and relies more on violence to carry it. Ray Liotta stars in the movie, which was directed by Martin Scorsese who tends to make more violent films as it is. This was not Scorsese’s first time working with Robert De Niro, who is also in the movie playing Jimmy Conway; they worked together also on Raging Bull and Taxi Driver before they made this movie.

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From the opening scene in which Liotta, De Niro, and Joe Pesci are murdering a man in the trunk of a car the film continues to be violent and full of murder. This movie follows Henry Hill from childhood, where he first started working for the mobsters at the age of 1 to his untimely arrest on drug charges. Ray Liotta gives us the performance of a lifetime here going from an up and coming mobster to a cocaine dealer/user. When he first is talking about his childhood and the local mob guys on his block he tells the audience, “As far back as I can remember Ive always wanted to be a gangster”. De Niro as Jimmy Conway, a mobster who will never be a “made guy” due to his mother’s Irish heritage gives us an awe inspiring performance. Joe Pesci plays Tommy De Vito who is a gangster with a taste for blood; he is hot tempered and does not think twice before killing somebody.

Though this movie is usually categorized with the Godfather as one of the best movies ever made, it falls short due to several things. It lacks the intelligence that made the Godfather the film that it is, and tries to make up for it with the onslaught of violence in a much more gory fashion than we saw in the Godfather. The Godfather had a few scenes which involved murder, the most gruesome being one where a dead horse is laid in bed with a movie director who awakes to being covered in his prized possession’s blood. Besides that, there is one scene where Michael played by Al Pacino kills a police officer in a restaurant and we don’t see much blood. Other than these two scenes murder is mostly just mentioned without much visual, or you see the act occurring but not the end result which would be the dead body or the blood.

In Goodfellas, they commit many murders as well as many scenes with people being beaten up, just not to the point of death. In one scene, the guys are playing cards and a young man working in their social club tells Pesci’s character to go “Fck himself”. Following this, Pesci pulls out a gun and shoots the kid, for no other reason than he was disrespected. In another scene, the dead bodies of men who committed a heist with them are being found and you see one man hanging dead in a meat truck, while another is shot along with his wife and they are left in their car in the middle of a parking lot.

Besides just the violence, the drug use adds a different element to Goodfellas that we did not see in the Godfather. Though it is acknowledged as against the rules of the “mafia” in both movies, Hill takes it up while in Jail in Goodfellas. This element of drugs that we see in the Goodfellas is used to add to the downfall of Liotta’s character. He must sneak around behind the back of his boss to deal these drugs, and then becomes an addict himself. It is a sin punishable by death in their “society” to be caught dealing drugs. When Hill finally gets caught and arrested, he must go to Pauly, his boss, and apologize as well as ask for money to get himself back on his feet. After knowing each other for a majority of Henry’s life Pauly gives him ,000 dollars and tells him that he better not ever see his face again. Towards the end of the movie we see a much different Henry Hill than we saw at the beginning. He is very paranoid, running all over town, “coked up” and trying to figure out who is getting what, going even to the point of involving his children’s babysitter in his drug scheme. Visually as well he is different, looking quite pale and unkempt during this portion, it also looks like he has lost weight.

These are two of the most well respected and revered “mafia movies” that have been made. They are both popular for their own reasons; some respect the intelligence of the Godfather, while others enjoy the violence of Goodfellas. They are similar in many aspects, even though they have some major differences. In conclusion, they are both well made films which should be looked at in their own light. If the Godfather defined how we see the mafia, then Goodfellas gave us a refresher eighteen years later.



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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hedda gabler

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Hedda Gabler The Spoiled Brat

What can we say about someone who is a spoiled brat. We can say that a spoiled brat is someone that gets everything they wants and gets upset when they donít get what they want. It is a person who is extremely rude to the people they feel is beneath them. It is a person craving to get all the attention of other people, and gets jealous when other people get the attention they want. It is a person who wants control of everything and everything to be done their way. Hedda Gabler is this ìspoiled brat.î

Hedda is General Gablers daughter. Most likely, when she was growing up, she got everything she wanted and never appreciated any of it. She was ìdaddyís little girl.î She probably grew accustomed to a particular way of life in her fathers house which was her way, and for that she probably never prepared for the fact that someday things will change.

Right from the very beginning we see that most of the people who meet with Hedda Gabler are very afraid of her. From the start, the maid Bertha says that she is frightened that Madam may not find me suitableî (Ibsen 17) and that Hedda ìwants everything so.î (Ibsen 17) Bertha is very scared that sheís going to lose her job.

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Upon Heddas first appearance, she makes many snobbish remarks. First, she turns up her nose at Georges special handmade slippers. When Tesman asked Hedda to look at the slippers she replies, ìThanks, I wonít bother.î (Ibsen 1) Later she insults Aunt Jujus new hat, pretending to mistake it for the maids. She makes the comment that the maid should be fired for leaving ìher old hat lying on the chair.î (Ibsen 1) When Tesman asks Hedda to call his aunt Auntie Juju, Hedda straight out refuses saying that she ìwill try to call her Aunt Juliana. Thatís how far as Iíll go.î (Ibsen 1) Right from the start we can see that Hedda is not only rude but also very snobbish.

She seems to have married Tesman for very practical reasons. Most likely she was probably running out of money to live on her own and needed someone to support her. Tesman seems like a perfect match because he is a safe and respectable man. He is a man that does better for her reputation than for her emotional needs. She tells Judge Brack that the reason she married Tesman was that her ìtime was up. ... After all, George Tesman, well, I mean, heís a very respectable man.î (Ibsen 146)

However, Hedda seems to be repulsed by everything about George Tesman. She demands much more class than he has been able to provide her, for she was the beautiful, charming daughter of General Gabler and deserved nothing but the finest. She seems very upset at the fact that Tesman ìcouldnít possible afford a footman,î (Ibsen 14) or get her the ìthoroughbred horse (Tesman) promisedî (Ibsen 14) her. Also when the idea comes up of trading in Heddaís old piano for a new one, Hedda refuses and wants to have both of them, something Tesman cannot afford.

Also, Hedda seems to be very bortors in her life. It really depends on the way you look you look at her and her character. Many can say her attitude and behavior was most likely from the time period she lived in, when the standards for womenís behavior were different. Some may say that she was a strong and independent woman, but couldnít express herself the way she really wanted to because she was the generalís daughter.

But any way you really look at it, the bottom line is that Hedda was a spoiled brat. She got all the things she wanted, and she would of done everything possible just to get something, unless it will ruin her reputation. And with all that she did get, she wanted more and was willing to destroy the lives others for her person entertainment and satisfaction. However, in the end, she was ìdaddyís little girlî no more, and her suicide was the only way to control her own destiny because she could not control anyone elseís anymore. The ìspoiled bratî didnít get her way.

Ibsen, Henrik, Hedda Gabler, The Norton Anthology World Masterpieces, pages 16-181



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Monday, April 1, 2013

Harlem Reniasance

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Harlem renaissance writing and literature from the post Civil War period were both outlets for the feelings of suffering African Americans. These black Americans though persevering great hardships, wrote beautifully. The pain and agony that went into writing these works are what makes the literature so rich. From these two movements of writing came wonderful stories and poems with much culture and history inside.

One of the things that make Harlem renaissance and post-civil war writing so intriguing is the diction. Both literary periods had their own unique dialect. In the stories and novels that we have read from the post civil war period sometimes the broken English is not so easy to understand and often times in the Harlem literature some of the words seem like gibberish. Good examples of literature from the era containing a distinct dialect are any of Uncle Remus’ stories. Even though the audience may not always get the meaning of the different slang words used, this genre of literature gives readers a taste of the culture and separates Harlem Renaissance and post civil war writings.

The post Civil War literature is usually long or short stories written by slaves or ex-slaves about their fight and longing for freedom. Many of the stories are biographical and include gruesome images of the horrors of slavery and even how they escaped to freedom. “The Narratives of the Life of Frederick Douglass” is an interesting story that tells firsthand about the period. The literature from the Harlem Renaissance period is more poetic than that of post civil war. These stories or prose are about how African Americans still suffer from hardships due to prejudice. Langston Hughes is a well-known author whose poems exemplify the Harlem Renaissance Period. Both literary movements are inspired by the hardships of blacks but are in different time periods and circumstances. It is hard to imagine that institutions so awful as slavery and so terrible as prejudice could spur such wonderful literary movements. The post Civil war and Harlem Renaissance literature are both from times of American past that we would like to forget but contain some of the most powerful and influential writings in the world.



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Friday, March 29, 2013

Inclusion in the classroom

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Dracula



In Bram Stoker’s, “ Dracula ” in chapter fourteen, Dr. Van Helsing realizes that there are still idle Victorian women in the world. He realizes this from talking to Mina and reading her journal. In this chapter, Dr. Van Helsing meets with Mina Harker to discuss Lucy’s sleepwalking experience. Dr. Van Helsing was very impressed with the way Mina was prepared for their meeting. He becomes very thankful for this and in return promises to help her with her husband Johnathan. Dr. Van Helsing states Mina is a good women and is very grateful of her because she states the truth about her life in her journal. Therefore this essay will analyze Dr. Van Helsing feelings towards how it is hard to find a good women and how Mina gives him hope.

In Mina’s journal, Dr. Van Helsing finds all he needs to know about Miss. Lucy’s sleepwalking adventure to the cliff. Mina wrote down at the time all about it and it came to be such great help to him. She allows him to read her journal because she knew he knew about Lucy’s experience but wanted her side for better understanding. So Mina typed her journal up for this reason and also to save much questioning. Dr. Van Helsing was applauded by her act and started to realize how good of a women she was. Dr. Van Helsing read her journal and was dazzled by it. He became so grateful of her and considered himself lucky to be dealing with such a clever women.

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“ My life is a barren and lonely one, and so full of work that I have not had much

time for friendships….Believe me, then, that I come here full of respect for you,

and you have given me hope, hope not what I am seeking of but that there are good women still left to make life happy, good women, whose lives and whose

truths may make good lessons for the children that are to be.”

This evidence has indicated Dr. Van Helsings feelings towards Mina. From her journal, he could tell she is a good-hearted woman. This is what allows him to have hope. However being a good woman in the Victorian age was quite different. A woman had to give up most of her life as Mina did. They had to erase their own personality and give their husband their identity. So they really did not have any say in their life or their own opinion. They had to stay at home and act as if they were a maid. Women were to serve their husband and bare his children. These were only some circumstance that had to be filled. Dr. Van Helsing saw Mina as a good woman because she fulfilled them and because of her helpfulness with him and Lucy. Mina was the idle Victorian woman unlike Lucy, she was too modern. Mina is the kind of women Dr. Van Helsing thought was too hard to find and no longer exist.

In conclusion because of Mina’s goodness, she has helped Dr. Van Helsing with Lucy. Also in return, he has promised her to help her with her husband Johnathan. Which will hopefully lead her and her husband to happiness. She has also given hope to Dr. Van Helsing that there are still good women. From dealing with Lucy his hope was low but from his meeting with Mina his hope had increased a great deal. Dr. Van Helsing has worked with many, many people throughout his life. Just by reading Mina’s journal and seeing her concern for her husband he could tell she was of good nature. Mina has accepted the ways to be a good woman and has realized by doing so it will only help her live a better life.



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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gimpel the Foll

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Even though romanticism would ask us to find anyway we can to put Gimpel on a pedestal as an example of faith and a good heart, we can’t deny that he was a coward to himself and those around him. The little pranks that the village’s people would use started in good fun, but quickly turned into a mob mentality to ruin Gimpel’s prospects of enjoying a happy life.

Gimpel tries to justify himself that he knew in most every event that others were deceiving him, but allowed it for fear that once they might be right, and then he would be the fool. When he met his future wife, he admitted that marry her would probably not be a wise situation. Yet as the community gathered money for the dowry that Elka requested, a traditional gift usually given to the groom from the bride’s parents, Gimpel justifies himself that a whole village would be crazy enough to put him in a bad marriage. The truth is that he had played the role of the village jester for such a long time that people had no remorse for him.

An essayist discussed this, saying “Singers use of Gimpel the Fool demonstrated two lower levels of the human scale. The first is the cowards ability to justify to himself the reasoning behind his behavior. The second is the crowds ability to pick out the weakling and exploit him for their own amusement. Gimpel proved he was a fool by all that he did. He allowed himself to be cornered, prodded, and teased yet he never stood up for himself or what he knew to be the truth. He was forced into a life created for the merriment of the villagers and refused to make his own life.”

The only character that was true to Gimpel was the local Rabbi. As an oracle for the village the Rabbi took the wisdom of the ages and tried to apply them to the people’s situations, including Gimpel’s for the most part, for their betterment. Although Gimpel rejects the advice to leave his adulterous wife, the Rabbi keeps himself clean taking the matter to the area’s rabbinical counsel and letting Gimpel choose which road he will take.

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Even with the good advice, Gimpel’s logic was skewed, and the only redeemable theme we take from Gimpel’s actions was the proof of the paradigm “ignorance is bliss.” He allowed his wife to fool him with six children, none of which where his own. Twice he caught her in bed with another man, each time she denied her actions. He allowed the devil to convince him until swayed by another spiritual manifestation of his wife that was just as unreliable. He never stood by any of his own decisions or thoughts. As each person came into his life he acted the true coward and let people infringe on his every action.

Singer just takes the chronology of Gimpel’s life to be the form of the short story. No one else’s view is really taken to help us understand how others really felt towards Gimpel. The village made him a rich man, but was that more from his industry that his likeability? Did Gimpel feel as though he had friend in any one?

It is unusual that only after he had withstood the promptings of the devil and then the advice of his deceased wife did he leave the village. He felt that finally God had given him some true advice, and he realized that he and only he would have to choose whether to take revenge, or continue with his benign ways of forgiveness. He makes his decision to turn the other cheek, and leaves the city for good. The only choice he ever made for himself.



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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Impact of Television

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Dana Kelly

04-7-0

ENG1

The Impact of Television

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In Don DeLillo’s novel, White Noise, television has a huge impact in the character’s lives and it shapes many of their observations of the world. They spend a majority of their time in front of the television and gain much of their knowledge from it during the novel. The television screen controls each character due to its importance in each individual’s life.

The characters in White Noise are controlled by what comes on the television and believe the amount of television coverage determines the importance of an event. For example, when a man during the toxic cloud event walks around with a miniature television and shouts, “There’s nothing on the network. Not a word, not a picture. […] No film footage, no live report” (161) he feels let down since their terrible incident was not shown on television. Also, Jack’s ex-wife, Tweedy, is shocked to find the passengers of a plane that almost crashed “went through all that for nothing” () when Jack explained, “there is no media in Iron City” (). To the characters in the novel, only media coverage brings an event into existence.

Secondly, the television shapes the character’s behavior in White Noise.

During the airborne toxic event, The Gladney family attempts to keep up with the currently reported symptoms caused by the event. The symptoms that Steffie and Denise suffer from during the toxic spill are forgotten immediately after they are told by the television they should be experiencing the effects of d�jà vu.

The submissive obeying of the citizens of Blacksmith illustrates the controlling power of television. The characters try to think as the television has told them they should. They feel betrayed when certain aspects of their lives do not fit into their beliefs based on the media. Jack complains to his wife, Babette, “These things happen to poor people who live in exposed areas. […] I’m a college professor. Did you ever see a college professor rowing a boat down his own street in one of those TV floods? […] These things don’t happen in places like Blacksmith” (114). Because Jack has only seen disasters on television, he cannot imagine the airborne toxic event happening to him in reality. The characters’ expectations are defined by the influence of the television in White Noise.

Television also impacts the characters’ powers of imagination, and makes them imitate what they view. An example of this is when a random woman on the street only appears as a “real” person to Jack after he “[…] pictured her in a soup commercial taking off her oilskin hat as she entered the cheerful kitchen where her husband stood over a pot of smoky lobster bisque […]” ().

Another important function of the television in the novel is to manipulate and control the character’s minds. The loss of reality is another negative effect television is responsible for. An example of this is when the Gladney family comes across Babette’s face on TV when the local station is televising her posture class. At the sight of her, Jack and the children are immediately speechless and confused. They feel that the short-lived image has been somehow transferred to Babette. At first Jack wonders whether he is watching “her spirit, her secret self, some two dimensional facsimile released by the power of technology” (104). To her family, Begetter appears “distanced, sealed off, [and] timeless,” (104) taking on the characteristics of the television. Jack states, “She was a shining light on us, she was coming into being, endlessly being formed and reformed as the muscles in her face worked at smiling and speaking, as the electronic dots swarmed” (104). The non-performance of her image on television also emphasizes Babette’s own mortality. It seems as if the real Babette is not as important as her image of “electrons and protons” (104) on the television.

Television is also in control of the Gladney family bonding time. On Friday nights, Babette has made it a rule for the whole family to watch TV together while eating take-out Chinese food. She believes that, “The effect would be to de-glamorize the medium in their eyes, make it a wholesome domestic sport. Its narcotic undertow and eerie diseased brain sucking power would be greatly reduced” (16).

In addition, Communication takes place through television rather than through human interaction. The only time the family comes together is when watching disasters on television (example) Jack’s colleague, Alfonse, explains the reasons for this bonding activity and states, “We’re suffering from brain fade. We need an occasional catastrophe to break up the incessant bombardment of information” (66). Murray, Jack’s co-worker, points out that “In the psychic data sense a forest fire on TV is on a lower plane than a ten-second spot for Automatic Dishwasher All” (67). He suggests that commercials have a greater impact on the viewers than a disaster.

Murray, a professor of popular culture, offers an altered outlook on television, unlike his students who refer to it as another form of junk mail. His belief is that television is only a problem of “you’ve forgotten how to look and listen” (50).

Television, he claims, provides “incredible amounts of data” (50) in our lives. Murray asserts that television has a positive effect on people only if the viewer feels as if he is experiencing reality unique to his own thoughts and feelings rather that what the TV tells him to believe.

In conclusion, our society is desensitized to tragedies, such as murders, and not fully impacted by them due to everyday media coverage. For many people, their real life and the one they view through television seem to blend together at times. Television represents a fictional life that attempts for become our ideal life. The white noise, or constant background, of the television constantly influences how people think, believe, and perceive the world around them.



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