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Lecture 21

ENGC69 Lecture 21: 12.2 The Sweet Hereafter

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Sonja Nikkila

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12.2 The Sweet Hereafter
Differences with Reality
● confusiononwhatisfictionorreality:moviebasedonanactualbusaccidentthatkilled21children
○ basedonAmericannovelbyRussellBanks
● settingisalsodifferent:it’stakingplaceinTeas,whichisflatandbrown(insteadofsnowand
● therealaccidentinvolvedhighschoolstudents,notgradeschoolchildren
○ therealchildrenweremostlyHispanic,whilethemoviewasallwhitechildrenexceptforBear
○ themoviewas“whitewashed”andputintosublimescenery
○ 1child(Bear)isusedfor‘ourlove’forNativeAmericanchildren(sarcastic);itdistortsthe
● similarities:
○ ideaofthehungrylawyerswaitingforthefamilies
○ monetizedefforttodetermineifitwasanaccidentorsomeonewastoblame
● gothicteetersonelegycounterdiscoursetothegothic
○ appealfordealingwithtragedies:theybothevokeaspectreofdeath
○ bothgenresarealwaysconcernedwith1ormoredeaths
● elegyprecededthegothic
○ attemptstolament,contextualize,andcreatelargerandlastingmeaningforaperson/groupthat
○ incontrastgothictreatsdeathasbothacrimeandamystery
● bothaddresshowonecanfaceandpotentiallytranscendmortality
○ traditionalelegiac3partresponse:lamentation,confrontationwithmortality,andconsolationof
● linkedwithpastoralimagery(partofnature)
○ elegos
● modernelegiactemperistingedwithdoubt;ironicskepticalviewonthetraumainstigatedbyloss
● elegy+anatomyareconnected(bothinventedwhenpeoplebeganexaminingbodies);oneisfocuses
○ gothicemergeswhentheviewondeathisnolongerorientedbyGod
■ heispiecingtogetherawaytolamentherdeath;deemsherdeathanunjustcrime
■ PeterSacks:canbeviewedasanelegistmonchae(?)anindividualthatcancelsouthis
○ melancholia:repeatingsomethingratherthanbeconsoled
The Film
● TheSweetHereafter

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12.2 The Sweet Hereafter Differences with Reality confusion on what is fiction or reality: movie based on an actual bus accident that killed 21 children based on American novel by Russell Banks setting is also different: its taking place in Teas, which is flat and brown (instead of snow and mountains) the real accident involved high school students, not grade school children the real children were mostly Hispanic, while the movie was all white children except for Bear the movie was whitewashed and put into sublime scenery 1 child (Bear) is used for our love for Native American children (sarcastic) it distorts the racialized events and makes it about Canada in a way we can understand it similarities: idea of the hungry lawyers waiting for the families monetized effort to determine if it was an accident or someone was to blame Elegy gothic teeters on elegy counter discourse to the gothic appeal for dealing with tragedies: they both evoke a spectre of death both genres are always concerned with 1 or more deaths elegy preceded the gothic attempts to lament, contextualize, and create larger and lasting meaning for a persongroup that has passed away in contrast gothic treats death as both a crime and a mystery b
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