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Ambiguity of belonging (Gran Torino & Crooked letter, crooked letter)

7.5.2021

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BELONGING
what makes us belong?
family
C-J
religion
workplace
politics/
law
ME
friends
AMBIGUITY
setting
sex!
gender
race,
ethnicity
languag
BELONGING
what makes us belong?
family
C-J
religion
workplace
politics/
law
ME
friends
AMBIGUITY
setting
sex!
gender
race,
ethnicity
languag
BELONGING
what makes us belong?
family
C-J
religion
workplace
politics/
law
ME
friends
AMBIGUITY
setting
sex!
gender
race,
ethnicity
languag
BELONGING
what makes us belong?
family
C-J
religion
workplace
politics/
law
ME
friends
AMBIGUITY
setting
sex!
gender
race,
ethnicity
languag

BELONGING what makes us belong? family C-J religion workplace politics/ law ME friends AMBIGUITY setting sex! gender race, ethnicity language Society/ class in general: "ambi-"=+wo double meaning Features of belonging Common experience • universal human need but individual differences in quantity Quality of interactions more import- ant than quantity of interactions •Hesitation of breaking bonds Shapes our identity (and vice versa) Developing a sense of belonging Mere proximity Bonding due to snared pos./neg. circumstances • Connecting with others • Excluding others Helping others · Linguistic : uncertainty of meaning → several interpretations plausible (!context!) ·Psychology: Situation that involves un- certainty, insecurity, a feeling of being torn and incomplete / fragmentary/... Correlation between ambiguity tolerance and life-style, leadership, creativity Ambiguity competence = Ability to take note of, tolerate and, if necessary, integrate foreign, contra- dictory and ambiguous things. Action determined by... • own distance • (limited amount of) foreign tolerance Coincidences Requires active effort + practice Benefits of belonging • Hapiness, elation, calm, satis- faction, etc. Ivawe in life ways to cope with painful emotions • Ability to love oneself and others Having a 'stable' identity · Better academic and economic Triggers of ambiguity Shift of perspectives achievement ambiguity OF BELONGING Perceptions of ambiguity Negative: Fragmentary, doubtful, uncertain, unclear in meaning, vague, dubious, inconclusive, double mean- ing, etc. Positive: "Take advantage of the ambiguity in the world. Look at Something and think what else it might be." - Roger von Oech · Temporary self-regulation ・(in) voluntary need of conformity only partial identification with group/ institution Opposing expectations Clash between need and expectation Labelling - dialectics of internal/ex- ternal identification Ilow self-esteem options insecurities 'in-betweeness' acceptance relationships culture = Struggle to find one's place to belong. The ambiguity of belonging diversity growth Disadvantages of not belonging Psychological problems :...

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lone- liness, anxiety, jealousy, depres- sion, grief, mental distress,... Pnysical problems: Headaches, skin problems community Benavioral problems: criminality, suicide,... Culture Desire to form new relationships/ to exclude oneself • Compensatory strategies exclusion ambivalence choices (---) religion workplace polities/ law 4 rebellion family ME language - conflicting identification nentage friends seifnood race, ethnicity Society/ class feelings Setting sex! gender barriers loneliness ego Setting snaning groups isolation acceptance Sue: GRAN TORINO In what ways do the characters "belong" (or "not belong) in the beginning? Walt: Lonely old man without any really close connection to other people. Larry: · Seems to be the typical representative of an American bue-collar worker (family, job in a traditional industry, proud American, etc. part of the Polish-Catholic community Realises that ne does not belong → "the last of his kina" in nis street Thao & Sue Raised by a single mother and grandparents, part of a large. family (→ part of the Hmong culture) Thao: Does not want to belong to his cousin's gang feels under pressure No friends, no relationship to a girl, no clear plans for the future No feeling of belonging Part of American society: goes to school, meets American friends Strong feeling of belonging, well-integrated AMBIGUITY OF BELONGING m Thao: Sue: what is ambigious about their way of belonging? walt: Member of white mainstream American Society but feels estranged from nis neighborhood (changed ethnics there) • A father, but without any emotional relationship to his sons Part of the church, yet no real emotional connection to Christianity Haunted by his guilt (war), but also proud of his service Thao: Decent young boy who feels compelled to act badly boc of peer pressure · Isn't accepted as a man in his timong family and would be considered a failure in us society Sue: Part of Hmong culture but also part of America's society wait: watches Sue and Thao's way of behavior and their situations compares the Lor family with his own family Realises different ways of his behavior as helpful or not for others Reflects on his duty as a soldier and his duties as a man overcomes his prejudices, reaches out ppl, wants to change.*** Takes responsibility; stands up for his ideas; develops plans for the future; becomes active in their pursuit Does not really change anything → optimism comes to an abrupt end when she is raped by her cousin's gang GROOKED LETTER, GROOKED LETTER No close connection to any other people, only a part of the local community because of his parental roots and nis garage Apart from his ill mother, 'belonging' seems to be limited to a place and animals or things Silas: A colleague in the police department and therefore accepted by the community • Introverted but well-liked colleague. has a girlfriend, Angie Thao: yes: Has begun to actively shape his life (connects, more man-like, etc.) Sue: No: Rape shaped her negatively (no longer optimistic but broken) Larry: Member of Chabot's community but lives as a recluse Silas: How do they manage to change things? Grew up in a middle-class family but has economic problems now • Longs for a friend and company but remains passive Racial issues: Son of a single black mother uprooted and displaced more than once Seems to be an active member of the community but snuts him- self emotionally off As a police officer ne is supposed to uphold the low in reality he is a liar Larry: Tries to break free from his solitary life by communicating with others Realises that Silas nas failed him as a friend because he lied about Cindy becomes active and faces reality Silas: Realises that the past influences the present and his relations to ppl opens up to Angie, starts telling the truth about his past By seeking to renew the friendship with Larry he tries to make amends for the damage done in the pas+ takes responsibility, communicates, bonds with ppl, accepts his guilt Are they successful in the end? Have they achieved. a sense of belonging? walt Psychologically yes: his character develops positively Larry: Regarding wallace: yes · No: sacrifices himself • Regarding Silas :partly, as the future is unknown Silas: Regarding Angie: yes → opened up and told the · Regarding Larry : partly, as the future is unknown truth SHORT SUMMARY Retired auto worker and Korean war veteran walt Kowalski fills emptiness in his life with beer and home repair, despising the many Asian, Latino and black families in his neighborhood. walt becomes a reluctant hero when he stands up to the gangloangers who tried to force an Asian teen to steal walt's treasured car. An unlikely friendship develops between walt and the teen, as he learns ne nas more in common with nis nei- ghbors than he thought. CHARACTERS Walt's family bad relationship cares Father Janovich walt Kowalsk imanning up annoyed Protagonists first: car stealing then: helping nelps Cares threat →saves sue sue other gangs Thao Vang Lor Rape should be man threat Begining: racist, aggressive, angry.... . Korean veteran owns gran torino (ford) Good at repairing things Thao vang Lon GRAN FORING stands up to them; gets killed to get them to jail (after Sue's rape) Hmong family walt Kowalski • Lives alone with his dog (Daisy) after his wife died · Nice property (patriotic ; organized; ...) · walt's neighbor · "soft", outsider, not manly enough Traditional family (Hmong) Lack of guidance easily influenced Hmong gang IMPORTANT TOPICS Prejudice & Racism: Racially segregated society → seperated neighborhoods ; movie shows the contribution of different ethnic groups to American Society; walt considers himself a true American', language barriers block communication between the different ethnic groups; walt's racial prejudice originates in the Korean war → unable to distinguish between Asians; Strong anti-racist message walt can overcome his racial prejudices; racism creates a divide between different ethnic groups and causes violence ·(Gun) violence: Second amendment: every citizen has the right to bear arms; Walt would probably use his weapons as self-defense, but in the movie he never fires a snot; the gang members only flash their pistols to snow their power; at the begining there are only verbal tensions between the different groups and walt; language barriers between walt and timong does not prevent them from acting out their mutual disdain Masculinity: walt went to Korea as a soldier; learnt to suppress and conceal his feel- ings and bad conscience; protects himself → no need to rely on others help; machines and tools underline his masculinity; Model American family (→ typical gender roles); man need to be more active than women criticizes Thao's passiveness; vulgar and commending language; job in a man dominated field, car and girlfriend nec- essary for a successful male identity Guilt and redemption: ↳Guilt: Haunted by murders of (innocent) people during Korean war; Lives with the quilt and bad conscience; realizes that he is also responsible for the brutalities done to sue and the spiral of violence; walt is completely shattered after the drive-by shooting and Sue's rape Confessions: church expects a sinner to confess one's sins; when walt finally goes to confession, Father Janovich knows that walt is planning something in retaliation for Sue's rape ↳ Redemption: Walt has not been able to find a way to atone for his quilt; He I want to punish nimself for Sue's rape (not sufficient)→ wants to sacrifice nimself (allows Thao and Sue to live in peace and walt to die in peace); nis Ideath was well planned (went there unarmed); pulls out lighter to make them think he is going to shoot; lies down in a cross Christ's salvation Generation gaps: Relationship between Walt and his grandchildren is bad → do not snow respect, in contrast Thao and Sue look up to him and appreciate traditions and social ties; Materialistic interest prevent an overdue conversation between wait and his son Mitch; Everything he misses in his own family he finds with his Hmong neighbors → cultural traditions and common social values (= family sub- Stitute); Father Janovich is too young for being a good consultant (inexperienced) SHORT SUMMARY Larry OH and Silas "32" Jones were unlikely boyhood friends from Chabot, Mississippi. Larry was the child of lower middle-class white parents, Silas the son of a poor, single, black mother. A special bond developed be- tween them, but within a few years, tragedy struck. In high school, a girl who lived up the road from Larry had gone to the drive-in movie with him and nobody had seen her again. Her stepfather tried to have Larry arrested but nobody was found and Larry never confessed. The incident Shook up the town, including Silas, and the bond the boys shared was irrevocably broken. 30 years later , Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence in Chabot. Silas left home to go to Oxford, but now he's Chabot's constable. The men have few reasons to cross paths, and they rarely do - until fate intervenes again. Another teenage girl has disappeared, causing rumors to swirl once again. Now, two men who once called eachother friend are finally forced to confront the painful past they've buried for too many years. 2 {F AL ACT E & S Ina он Carl Ott Larry Ott fnends "role model' CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER IMPORTANT TOPICS The South: Traditional ways of life I slavery, segregation, American civil war, religious intensity and rural poverty); industrialisation and urbanisation took place a lote earlier in the North; Issues of Southern identity: racial dynamics, coherence and claustrophobia of small rural communities and social problems (arugs, etc.); languid atmosphere of the not and humid climate •wants him arrested uses nim "↑ ↓ friend wallace stringfellow murdered likes her Cecil walker Stepfather abusive Cindy walker School: friends ena: potential brothers Relationship arque que Tina Rutherford Alice Jones Silas "32" Jones Relationship • Son of Carl OH Lacks a father figure • Doesn't fit in chabot (poverty + skin color) Angie Protagonists Larry Ott • Bad reputation (monster, killer, rapist) Lack of recognition from his father and his peers →low self-esteem • Accepts wallace as a friend because he doesn't have any Always lonely, an outsider, no sense of belonging Silas "32" Jones by Tom Franklin Chicago in comparison to Mississippi a different world for Silas; described very differently from Chabot: lively, Stimulating environment, full of noise and pressure • Race: Slavery and institutionalised white supremacy defines Southern Society; Civil Rights movement (605) →racial segregation especially in the South Class and social status: Example "white trash" = people who are poor, unedu- cated, unskilled, unemployed, associated with drug addiction, alconolism and domestic violence Trauma: Character of wallace → Sense of worthlessness and emotional/psycho- logical problems make him dangerous; Cindy walker → subject to contempt and abuse, therefore wants to find a better life Religion Larry is a believer, as well as his mother; Angie invites him to a lblack church WELCOME TO MISSISSIPPI Birthplace of America's Music