Saturday, October 25, 2003

Mermaid- Going Deeper

24 October The Waterline Going Deeper p2

Sur la Lune- The Little Mermaid

Illustrations at Sur la Lune

A closer look at the story reveals great understanding for the trauma that may accompany personal rejection. A person can become so infatuated or "in love:" with another person that he or she becomes absorbed into the other person's identity. Psychologists talk about the Ego and ID and SuperEgo, etc, but Ego actually indicates the person, whereas a close friend or beloved is identified as the AlterEgo. The other self. The Christian rite of marriage is binding two people to become oneā€”and although the terminology is symbolic there is profound depth to the concept. The two no longer act completely independently, but are dependent on each other and their lifes meld into each other.

Such relationships are found outside marriage because they are emotional and psychioloical and do not necessarily need the official recognition of social or religious acceptance. The rite of marriage though gives foundation for the relationship to grow as a community recognizes the pair and offers them emotional and social support to sustain the relationship. marriage includes the legal responsibility of providing support for the partner and lends a framework for life.

The mermaid loves profoundly, enough to cause self-mutilation. She denies the validity of her own existence in order to risk acceptance and rejection in another's world. The witch warns her of the danger, but she does not listen. She cannot hear the anxiety of others around her that her yearning for acceptance is impossible. She cannot see the barriers that divide the two worlds because water is transparent. The surface of water is seen from an angle or from above, but she believes that because she swims on the surface, she can also live on the surface. She does not understand that the transparent barrier between their two worlds is as real as a the Great Wall of China.

As the story involves symbol, these two worlds may be identified as variants. The story can be turned to represent the hardships and rejection of inter-racial marriages and the prejudice that often becomes insurmountable barriers in achieving close relationships or marriage. How easy is it for someone from an all-white town to marry a black? Even though the two may be devoted to each other, the pressures and tides of society is like an ocean of influence against their intimacy if the storm of prejudice is very great. Each war brings it's own form of the mermaid's story of rejection. In the WWII, American soldiers were involved with oriental women, but many of these women were abandoned; often destroying the security and acceptance they possessed within their own environments. They were lost. Each war is similar. Vietnam followed the pattern, with the additional complexity of importing refugees and boat people and displacing them in the unfriendly oceans of America where frequently they faced exploitation, rejection and resentment. In Mother Courage, Brecht understands the pedicaments of the displaced and the women who become camp followers in order to survive.

Puccini based his opera, Madame Butterfly, on this conflict a generation earlier. The opera with text from Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica was based on the drama of D Belasco version, which in turn was based on J. Long's story. Although the opera open in 1904 at LaScala in Milan; it is still a staple of opera repertoire around the world. Criticised frequently for being anti-dramatic, the opera is nearly Wagnerian in its dialogue: A ship comes, a ship goes and Butterfly is dead. Unable to cope with the rejection of her own culture and the fickleness of Pinkerton, Butterfly commits suicide. Like a man, he can't understand a woman's mind, insulting her with the introduction of the other woman.

Guess Who's Coming for Dinner

Puccini, Madama Butterfly
Vienna State Opera- Karajan cond, Freni, Domingo

othe great recordings: Freni, Caballe

Brecht, Mother Courage
Jean Cocteau production

A Model of Courage
historical background of Brecht's work

Woyzeck (at the Barbican),1169,801616,00.html
Michael Billington , The Guardian 30 September 2002

"As Good A Murder As You'd Ever Want To See"
Human Reduction in Georg Buchner's Woyzeck
Joseph L. Lockett, Modern Drama: Ibsen to 1940 20 December 1989


22 June 2003 The Ugly Duckling

1 December 2004 Nix of Mill Pond

3 November Silence of Longing part 2

part 2: Rusalka, Berg and literary social criticism

1 November The Silence of Longing p2

reposted on 3d November was deleted

2 November Silence of Longing Part 1

1 November The Silence of Longing p1

24 October The Waterline p1

24 October The Waterline Going Deeper p2

24 October 2003 The Waterline: Drowning p3


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