Sunday, May 2, 2010

Globalization of Slumdog Millionaire

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Thomas Busch
English 495 ESM Wexler
May 5, 2010
Globalization in Slumdog Millionaire
Without having to leave their country, the people of India have been integrated by regional economies, societies and cultures. By establishing a globe-spanning process of networking, communications and trade or “globalization,” India has received a remarkable amount of international attention because of the film Slumdog Millionaire. “Slumdog Millionaire” is a gritty love story about three orphans who grow up destitute in the slums of Mumbai and they must overcome overwhelming odds that life throws at them. The film underscores the promises and drawbacks of international collaboration that globalization brings for India’s emergence onto the world stage. Ali Jaafar from Variety Magazine describes the historical context of India’s progression in globalization. New York Times writer Frank Rich explicates that India’s advancement in globalization has outsourced their cultural trends worldwide. Slumdog Millionaire depicts a harsh, realistic portrayal of Mumbai’s evolution from India’s intensified social relations in distant regions for the past decades. Slumdog Millionaire is a metaphor of globalization.
Historically, India is a latecomer in globalization due to its dismal past. India has struggled to catch up with the rest of the world by embracing technology and education. The international attention that accompanies Slumdog Millionaire reveals the positive transitions that India has gained after 1947. Between India’s independence from British imperialism and the last six decades, India has only recently become prosperous in science and the film industry. For
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example, Bollywood is the growing Hindi cinema that draws the attention of the film’s main characters Jamal and Salim Malik. Like any western moviegoer, these brothers go to incredible lengths to get an autograph from a celebrity Amitabh Bachchan. The film industry was not India’s only prospect after their liberation from Britain.
After 1947, Indian firms had developed into banks, pharmaceuticals and later on, software companies. India’s contribution to world trade and their global ambition has drawn an estimated revenue of “36.7 billion dollars in direct foreign investments” (Jaafar 10). India’s role in the World Bank has maintained the global corruption index by implementing “the anti-graft NGO Transparency International” (Jaafar 10). There has also been a rise in “the ranks of the middle class which has swelled to more than 250 million people” (Jaafar 10). However, there are more troubling aspects brought on by India’s modernization.
From 1947 to 1991, the effect of India’s socialistic government has caused inequality and poverty with little opportunity for change because of their failed policies. For example, the communal tension between the Hindus and Muslims in Bombay is still prevalent after Gandhi’s efforts to stem the quarreling. In the film, Jamal and Salim lose their mother in the Bombay Riots in 1992. The riots were propagated by after a Hindu demolition crew destroyed a Muslim mosque. With such a troubling past, India has no doubt endured a cultural overturn.
In Slumdog Millionaire, Mumbai and India in general is in a constant state of cultural flux that is growing at an exciting yet disturbing rate. Even though India boasts on the eventual establishment of programs like “space exploration or nuclear energy, it struggles to provide electricity, education, sanitation and drinking water” (Rich 7). The film projects the inherent contradictions of India as either an increasingly globalized nation or a corrupt third world
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country. India’s international recognition has made its people ambivalent or resentful towards “critical scrutiny that global exposure brings” (Rich 7) especially when the criminal element is apparent in Mumbai. For example, Jamal, Salim and Jamal’s love interest Latika are forced to work for a gangster named Maman. Maman blinds children to make them more sympathetic as singing vagrants who beg for money for him. When Jamal and Salim escape Maman, they are reduced to further criminal activity that continues in present day India.
Another form of criminal activity that occurs in India is the selling of stolen goods, pick pocketing, conning tourists and prostitution. Jamal discovers that Maman has raised Latika only
for her virginity to be sold to highest bidder. When Jamal has a chance to save Latika, Salim along with a rival gangster move in on Maman’s operations and keep Latika for themselves.
Despite the illegal activities that Jamal has endured in Mumbai, the benefits of globalization in India are prevalent in regards to technology and industrialization.
The Western form of industry in India is exemplified by the renovation of its architecture like skyscrapers and its inexpensive workforce. Westerners who fear “losing their jobs to less expensive competitors in India,” (Rich 7) have a valid concern. Yet, westerners who use the services of Citibank, Pepsi, Jaguar, Land Rover, General Electric and Microsoft “routinely deal with customer-service professionals in Gurgaon, Bangalore or Hyderabad, India” (Rich 7). Through globalization on a corporate and macroeconomic scale, Americans have become familiar with Indian trends like yoga or chicken tikka masala. In Slumdog Millionaire, Jamal’s actions reveals the gap between India's cultural perception and its projection of reasonable achievements when compared to Western media.
The American game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is “recognizable to audiences in over 50 countries and gives the film its narrative backbone” (Rich 8). Jamal becomes a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, in order to reach out to Latika who is an avid viewer. He makes it to the final 20,000,000 rupee question but Jamal must use his "Phone-A-Friend" lifeline so he decides to call Salim's cell. Globalization has made India technologically dependent since “Indians buy more cell phones each month than any other race on Earth” (Rich 8). For example, Jamal serves tea to rows of people that are on computers selling cell phone plans and Salim makes amends with Jamal by giving Latika his cell phone so she can finally contact Jamal. Globalization has made India’s technological dependency a success even in the slums.
In conclusion, Slumdog's purpose as a metaphor for globalization may provoke India's national pride but poverty, corruption and crime still remains rampant. Globalization can be a double edged sword for India since its people are being influenced by several cultures apart from their own. Despite their history and economic collaboration, India has the world's attention which will forever advance their cultural trends or outsource it.

Works Cited:
Jaafar, Ali. “Helmers are telling their tales in many tongues.” Variety Magazine 412.5 (September 2008): pg. 10, 1p. Academic Search Elite (Ebsco).
Rich, Frank. “Who Wants to Kick a Millionaire?” New York Times 302.36 (December 2008): pg.7-8, 2p. Academic Search Elite (Ebsco).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Globalization and Postcoloniality

Fernando Coronil's "Towards a Critique of Globalcentrism: Speculations on Capitalism's Nature," focuses on globalization from an economic and geographic aspect. Accroding to Coronil, we as a society a need to reestablish and reexamine groups of people. Globalization is basically the idea that boundaries between peoples and nations once existed but now they are being disregarded. This could mean a potential move in the right direction for international relations. Even though the world is divided by issues of race, economics, gender, politics or religion but with the advances in technologies and possible resources could bridge the gaps.However, I may view the Western World's integration in other countries as crude but necessary since women are being oppresed, kids are being manipulated to kill and dictators continue to rule without opposition. On the other hand, I maybe describing the sentiments of the dark side of globalization that Coronil talks about. He says "While the elites are increasingly integrated, their impoverished majorities are increasingly excluded from the domestic economy." I suppose its our nation's history that created boundaries but while those were dismantled, new ones begin like the elite are getting richer, the middle working class is becoming as poor as the impoverished, racism and prejudice are still prevalent. Kinda reminds me of the South Park spoof of America's History.

Simon Gikandi's “Globalization and the Claims of Postcoloniality,” elaborates on how the opportunities brought on by technology will continue to progress and nations across the world will hopefully adapt to industrialization. Gikandi’s discussion on how the English brought writers from colonized countries impressed me because it demonstrates the English's thirst for knowledge as well as culture because if we as a nation were to seclude our knowledge then it would pose a serious problem in international communication. It like what Gikandi says about "the majority of the postcolonial subjects who experience globalization and cannot speak because their language is alien to the postcolonial liberal sympathizers or émigré elite."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reflections on Myth Chapters 2-6

By far my favorite chapter in our Myth and Knowing Book is chapter 2 which involves our Creation myths. My favorite creation myth is the Greek one where we go from Chaos to Gaea, mother Earth then the Titans and finally the Olympians. As the story goes, Gaea and the sky Uranus were born from chaos along with the ocean. Uranus and Gaea had children but Uranus favored some over others. Uranus angered Gaea when he imprisoned his more grotesque children like the hundred-armed Hecatonchires and Cyclopes in Tartarus which is the Greek version of Hell.
Gaea creates a great stone sickle and Kronos was given the task of using the sickle by cutting off his father's genitals. After castrating his father, Kronos discarded Uranus' genitals into the sea where new creatures were conceived. From the blood or semen that spilled out from Uranus' genitals came the Furies which were the Greek spirits of vengeance for crimes committed. Soon after Aphrodite, the goddess of love sprang forth from the sea. After killing his father, Kronos betrayed Gaea by imprisoning his deformed brothers again in Tartarus. Kronos and his sister Rhea took the throne of the world as king and queen. Kronos figured he was destined to be overthrone by his own children just as he did his father.

Kronos decided to eat his newborn children thereby imprisoning them in his belly. Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in a cave on Mount Ida, Crete where Gaea kept Zeus hidden while Rhea gave the Omphalos Stone wrapped in swaddling clothes for Kronos to devour. Zeus would be raised by a goat named Amalthea while a company of Kouretes, armored male dancers, shouted and clapped their hands to make enough noise to mask the baby's cries from Kronos.
When Zeus grew up, he took his revenge my rallying his monstrous uncles from Tartarus and Gaea helped him poison Kronos long enough for Kronos to vomit up his brothers and sisters. During the war between Titans and Olympians, Gaea creates Typhon, a dragon like beast, as retribution towards Zeus after he imprisoned some of the Titans in Tartarus. Zeus eventually defeated Typhon by dropping Mt. Edna on him. As for Echidna, Typhon’s mate, she was allowed to live in order to breed her monstrous brood as challenges for future heroes. Finally, the Olympians had taken their rightful place on Mt. Olympus. The Greek myth of creation is by far my favorite myth compared to any other.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reflections on Poets

Out of the four poets we read, I liked Yeats and Frost the most. For Yeat's Lake Isle of Innisfree, I could tell the character will arise and go to Innisfree, where he will build a small cabin “of clay and wattles made.” The character believes he will have peace there, for peace drops from “the veils of morning to where the cricket sings.” The poem is written as a hexameter, with six stresses in each line, in a loosely iambic pattern. The last line of each stanza shortens and becomes a tetrameter with only four stresses like for instance “And live alone in the bee-loud glade.” Each stanza has the same ABAB rhyme scheme. This poem is tranquil as well as hypnotic because the hexameters recreate the rhythmic sound of the tide. The simple imagery of the quiet life the speaker longs to lead can lull any reader into his idyllic fantasy.

As for Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken," the character stands in the middle of the woods while considering which path to take from this fork in the road. The character chooses one, telling himself that he will take the other path another day. Yet he knows it is unlikely that he will have the opportunity to do so. And he admits that someday in the future he will recreate that scene and perhaps regret not taking the other road.This poem consists of four stanzas with five lines. The rhyme scheme is ABAAB. This has always been one of his best-known and perhaps misunderstood poem. I'm sure generations of careless readers have considered the message its conveying from it simple words, and resonant metaphor but it seems as if “The Road Not Taken” gets memorized without really being read thus making it a cliché.

Flying Japan

Slim Pickens story
Began as Major "King" Kong
When he dropped the bomb

However, this Kong
Was the father of Kong Jr.
who fought the Ruskies

Kong Senior gave his
Life for the fight against Japs
His memory lives

You dim bumbling fool
He sat on an atom bomb
His last words "Yee Hah."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Two Poems from Tomb

1) Excuse me while I kiss the sky

It feels like soaring
the same proud, majestic owl
up, down, through and through.

I stroll through the woods
and leave its feathers falling
from the air and sky.

Though I can not see
Man’s best friend looks up at me
As he guides me through

Ah tempest fugate
But I care not for the bell
Should it toll for me.

2) Up is down, black is white

Icarus flew high
It's the same when love must end
We all plummet down.

Is marriage a sham?
Maybe it was a mistake
To invent a croc!

But they knew better
Than those who have lived through it
Now their love is his?

Devils will temp you
His charm gave you both some rope
And you hung with it!

But like Icarus
Their love has not plummeted
Just reached their epoch.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Poetry Analysis Essay

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Thomas Busch
English 495 ESM Wexler
February 10, 2010
Death and Dickinson
Death has been the immortal fear to many because of the frightening thought of leaving this world before enjoying all the fruits of life. However, Emily Dickinson’s acceptance of death as a natural step into the next life has often regarded Death as a person rather than just the end. Her best known poem “I heard a Fly buzz, when I died,” demonstrates how Dickinson gives Death a sense of humanity. Samuel Baskett delves even further into the poem’s iambic pattern and form while Katrina Bachinger explores the figurative language, tone and sound in Dickinson’s poem. To Dickinson, Death is a complex and controversial phenomenon that one must understand and respect rather than fear it. Dickinson’s well constructed poem “I heard a Fly buzz, when I died” does tap into the unfathomable nature of Death from the agony of dying to one’s eternal rest.
One of Dickinson’s most famous poems, “I heard a Fly buzz” depicts the mental interruption posed by trivial details at the most crucial moments for instance the moment of one’s appending death. Interesting enough, all of Dickinson’s rhymes in the poem take place before the final stanza. However, they are half-rhymes such as “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died/ The Eyes around-had wrung them dry” or “The Stillness in the room/ And breaths were gathering firm,” (Dickinson 70).
As the poem progresses, “formal patterns are employed” (Baskett 341) when Dickinson’s line length utilizes iambic trimeter and tetrameter lines. She places “four
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stresses in the first and third lines” (Baskett 342) of each stanza. Her usage of a “rhythmic insertion” places “long dashes to interrupt the meter,” (Baskett 342) thereby presenting three stresses on the second and fourth stanzas. Dickinson’s poem begins to show an ABCB rhyme scheme. Baskett assumes that Dickinson used this particular rhyme technique in order “to build tension or a sense of self-completion that comes with the speaker’s death,” (Baskett 344).
Dickinson’s unusual acceptance of Death in the poem involves a bright light which could be her transference from this world to the next. She describes Death as if he was a “member of the family or a true friend” (Bachinger 13) while the rest of her relatives are dead to her. According to Bachinger, there was “no love or mourning” for her when she died even though Dickinson exclaims that her family and friends’ “eyes wrung dry,” (Dickinson 70). One would assume that her family had cried there eyes out but in actuality her family could not even force a tear out from their eyes. Dickinson use of irony is brilliant because for an individual to have to force a tear out instead of coming naturally shows a soulless creature which Death is often perceived as.
The poem gives a detailed suggestion on the dying person’s deathbed where her loved ones harden themselves as their breaths were firming themselves for “that last onset,” as the dying woman signs away in her will. Baskett demonstrates Dickinson’s “turn of phrase” as she says “Signed away/ What portion of me be / Assignable” (Dickinson 70). After the speaker of the poem has signed away her possessions, she begins to hear a fly buzz as she lay on her deathbed. The dying woman describes the fly as “blue” with an “uncertain stumbling Buzz” (Dickinson 70) thereby introducing an

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onomatopoeia in order for the reader to suggest or imagine the actual sound of a fly buzzing around an appending corpse.
The Fly itself is the personification of Death because like the common fly, Death is drawn to the deceased and decomposed. The poem becomes macabre as the disregarded fly cuts the speaker off from the light with his buzzing wings until she cannot “see to see” (Dickinson 70). The fly has interposed itself “With blue—uncertain stumbling Buzz—” (Dickinson 70) and the dying woman’s eyes that have gazed upon the light, are described as windows which have “ failed” her because of the fly’s presence. Bachinger interprets “this dampening of the light in her eyes” (Bachinger 14) as demonic intervention as if a devil is laying claim to the dying woman’s soul. This interpretation is possible since Beelzebub, who is Satan’s 2nd in command is often depicted in the Christian doctrine as the Lord of the Flies.
However, Dickinson makes no mention that the fly has grown in power or in stature. The rhyme in the final stanza is not only a full rhyme where “Between the light-and me-/ I could not see to see-,” (Dickinson 70) but it is a mixed message. It could either mean Death has come at the same time as God has and Death took the life out of the woman’s eyes. On the other hand, the dying woman could have gazed upon God’s beautiful light and was so bright that she was blinded by the glory of Heaven. Another interpretation could be that Death came between her and God. Now, her soul has been denied the right to enter the light and possibly trapped in limbo. It is difficult to determine whether Dickinson is mentioning Death or God metaphorically as she says
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“For the last Onset-when the King/ Be witnessed-in the Room-/ And the Windows failed,” (Dickinson 70).
Death still remains controversial in the sense of fairness. Yet, one will tell another that life is unfair but it is equally unfair to waste one’s entire life waiting for the appending fate instead of enjoying life to the fullest with one’s self or with others. However, thanks to Dickinson, Death has a more dignified meaning and persona.
Work Cited:
1. Dickinson, Emily “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died.” 100 Best-Loved Poems Ed. Philip Smith. New York, Dover Publications, 1995 70. Print.
2. Baskett, Sam S. “The Making of An Image: Emily Dickinson’s Blue Fly.” New England Quarterly81.2 (Jun 2008): 340-344. Academic Search Elite (Ebsco). Web.
Bachinger, Katrina. “Dickinson's I Heard A Fly Buzz.” Explicator 43.3 (Spring 1985): 13-15. Academic Search Elite (Ebsco). Web.