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The "Love Conquers All" Trap Essay

1922 words - 8 pages

The film The Wrestler takes advantage of society’s deep-rooted beliefs of domesticity. It teases and plays with one’s heart until the very end when the master narrative is surprisingly overthrown. Through its cinematic realism and clever marriage of typical plot structure and unconventional resolution, The Wrestler creatively rejects this master narrative of domesticity.
The master narrative is a compelling force that dictates audience’s expectations of stories. Master narratives are steeped in culture and are ingrained into one from a young age. Audiences unwittingly accept the master narrative as how things ought to be. When reading a story or watching a film, the master narrative can be ...view middle of the document...

This can be seen in any Disney movie. Portrayals of conventional forms of love and family are extensive throughout these movies. Author and creative writing professor Dr. Naomi wood writes in her analysis of domesticity in Walt Disney’s Cinderella, “The Cinderella dreams of Disney are domestic dreams that assimilate the ideological structures that surround the movie. Rather than challenging the status quo, the dreams in this movie replicate it, fitting each dreamer into an “appropriate” social position, determined by his or her morphology.” The Cinderella character fits the stereotypical subservient female role in a patriarchal society—as do many Disney female characters. If she “plays her part”, no matter what obstacles come her way, she will receive the happiness that she deserves, i.e. marrying her true love and starting a family.
Wood explains this deserved happiness in her article. “Mirroring other aspects of American ideology, Disney’s Cinderella offers the quasi-religious reassurance that hard work, clean living, and adherence to the ideal will produce the desired result, in this case, appropriate to the American Dream for Girls: rich and handsome Mr. Right.” Wood stresses the emphasis that Disney movies place on the saving power of love and the domestic. “Also enlarging on the romantic aspect was the notion that ‘love’s first kiss’ should break all evil enchantments, so that Snow White is wakened by the kiss of a prince she already knows, as is Sleeping Beauty.”
When reading a story or watching a film, the master narrative can be so strong that audiences sometimes cannot accept or are shocked by a narrative that diverts from it. For example, Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” succeeds in rejecting the master narrative. It begins with protagonist Mrs. Mallard (who has heart problems) receiving the news that her husband has died in a train wreck. After grieving briefly in front of her sister and her husband’s friend, she retreats to her room to be alone. The master narrative of domesticity is well established here. The reader expects Mrs. Mallard to grieve the loss of her husband and to try to come to terms with the gut-wrenching thought of being alone without her husband. As the reader continues, however, symbolisms of rebirth and life begin to appear in the story. The reader starts to become aware that this is not the typical master narrative. Mrs. Mallard is rejoicing in the fact that her husband has passed. “But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome. There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself… ‘Free! Body and soul free!’ she kept whispering.”
The story ends with Mr. Mallard being alive after all. As he walks into the house, Mrs. Mallard is so shocked that she has a heart attack. “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of the joy that kills.”...

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