Lecture 2

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Published on 9 Oct 2011
School
UTSC
Department
English
Course
ENGA10H3
Professor
-1ENGA10: Lecture 2 - September 21 st
5 myths of modernity:
The myth of progress:
à Loss of transcendental certitude (we’re drawn to models of this, because it’s absent,
it’s loss. In all these reality shows we watch, someone has to get voted off - if you don’t
adapt. GPA mimics transcendental certitude. We don’t know who we are, but our GPA
helps define us. It judges us. Also: money, love, sex, drugs)
à advertisement tells us who to be, it always caters to “you”
à whether we believe in god or not, we need faith.
à Dorian Gray, Lord Henry is the MC telling him he’ll be voted off. His entire worth is
based on his looks, but he wont always have his looks.
à Dorian Gray makes a mistake: traditions looking backwards: Basil. Materialist looking
forward: Henry
à Basil things of Gray as an ideal, as perfection. He loves to paint him.
The myth of perfection:
à if you consume property, you will achieve perfection (20th and 21st century)
However, perfection is unattainable. Why do we pursue it? Systems of deferral
à Dorian is scared, he is young. And the two older men do not guide him.
à Dorian Gray puts the painting in the room that he used to play in when he was a child
because his grandpa didn’t want to see him, because he reminded him of his mother.
Grandpa went to have son in law killed, and out of grief his own daughter died. No one in
his family would look at him, so it’s no wonder that he loves when people look at him.
But people are looking at him for a different reason, they want to associate themselves
with beauty. Not the love for a child.
Intrinsic worth to extrinsic worth (20th to 21st century)
Life mimics art
Basil is afraid to be a modern painter. “I put to much of myself in the painting, they will
learn to much about me”
We know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
We don’t pay for something for how useful it is, we pay for how much we want it.
You are only worth how you appear to be to others.
“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist”
We can’t define our soul, so we try and let others define it.
Dorian Gray is not in love with Sibel, he’s in love with the way that she makes him feel,
and that he can show her off
It’s only through other people that we learn about ourselves, but if you’re Dorian Gray,
you absorb them.
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