Author Topic: Strange Connections  (Read 51318 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2006, 03:22:59 am »
Fine!  ;D

Daniel, where can I find that essay you wrote on Latter Days?  I would love to check it out!  :)

You know how much I hate telling other people what to think, so the essay on Latter Days isn't really an essay, per se. Instead, it is kind of a teaching guide for students pursuing symbolic interactionism (a sociological model that views all interactions between humans as having specific symbolic meanings, and that is often employed in the creation or discovery of deeper meaning within various forms of media.) It is more of a discussion guide, really, something to help others talk about the film, about the symbols present, and to acknowledge that just about anything could be a symbol depending on the context. But here goes:


An independent mind can easily grasp the concepts of symbolic interactionism, but how it might be applied to certain films or even to general life may be difficult to perceive. Viewing the film Latter Days may aid such a mind by an accomplished understanding of the symbols that are frequently used in the film.
   What follows is a list of questions which symbolic interactionists might consider thought provoking and then an explanation of certain symbols as they were used in the film and how they provide a deeper sense of meaning. To participate in this activity, simply take out several pieces of paper and a pen and write down your thoughts in relation to each question as soon as the opportunity reveals itself, by either pausing the film or waiting until the film is over to write down the answers to the questions.
     Hopefully, through the creative mental activity of symbolic interactionism, a world full of deeper meaning may be opened up to the viewers. A continual addition to depth of meaning is a great human ability and worthy of praise, respect, and value.
 
Question 1: Explain the correlations between the visual cues and the actor's voice-over in the opening sequence. What might you infer from this about the rest of the film?
 
Question 2: What is the main background color scheme at the beginning of the film? Why do you think this is?
 
Question 3: Is there anything unusual about Christian or Aaron's body language, expressions, or overall demeanor in the first few moments of the film? What do you think they are thinking? How does this relate to their actual speech and actions?
 
Question 4: What is so interesting about Christian's and Aaron's names? Does that denote something interesting or unusual about their developing relationship?
 
Question 5: What are the main colors used in the restaurant? How do they make you feel?
 
Question 6: What are the main colors at Christian's apartment in the opening sequences? How do they make you feel?
 
Question 7: What does Aaron see on the car trip in the opening sequence? Why do you think this is in the film?
 
Question 8: What does Christian wear around his neck? Why? (Two possible answers.)
 
Question 9: What precious heirloom was given to Aaron? Why, and how is it symbolically important?
 
Question 10: Describe Aaron's relationships with his father, mother, and sister. Use body language and physical interaction as clues for your answers.
 
At this point, several important dimensions of symbolic interactionism should have been perceived. The remaining questions will be a mixture of extremely detailed questions and questions similar to the ones already asked. These provide a second depth of symbolic interactionism. The film may have to be paused at moments to view certain symbols.
 
Question 11: What is significant about the number 4? Why was this used in the film? What correlations could it represent?
 
Question 12: Listen carefully to the lyrics of the songs as you come across them. What do they say about the events of the film and about life in general?
 
Question 13: How is moral relativism treated in the film?
 
Question 14: What figures are present in the office at the restaurant? What dual symbol is present? Why? (A dual symbol is a symbol that could have two meanings.)
 
Question 15: Describe the colors and visual experience of the area between the apartments? What could this area represent?
 
Question 16: What is present on Aaron's dresser? What other object in the film could they relate to? Putting everything in the scene together, what could they collectively represent?
 
Question 17: What does Christian decorate his room with? Why is this meaningful? Considering what Aaron says to him, what could they represent?
 
Question 18: How do Christian's friends treat him? Is this attitude acceptable in their situation?
 
Question 19: Describe the significance of a broken laundry basket.
 
Question 20: By observing body language and physical interactions, explain how Aaron feels about his fellow missionaries.
 
By now, the symbolic interactionist will begin to recognize what needs to be looked for. Even the smallest detail could have immense significance, proving that a picture can indeed be worth a thousand words.
 
Question 21: Explain the significance of doors in the film. Could this relate to some other device explored earlier? Explain why or why not.
 
Question 22: What significance does a hospital have in this film? What other symbols of life and death are present and how do they relate to one another?
 
Question 23: Explain "Snow". Why is it important for Christian? This may have multiple answers.
 
Question 24: What is the meaning of an empty birdcage?
 
Question 25: Explain the meaning of the small crystal vase in the apartment that Christian delivered food to. What other crystal figurines appear in this room and what do they signify?
 
Question 26: What is the visible word of the title of the book that is present in the same apartment? What does it signify?
 
Question 27: What is depicted in the wall art in the same apartment? What does it signify?
 
Question 28: Why is the seating arrangement in this apartment important to consider? How does it relate to other events in the film?
 
Question 29: What color is the car that Aaron rides in? What does this signify?
 
Question 30: What are the letters on the same car's license plate? What do they signify?
 
Question 31: What does Christian wear around his neck when he is pursuing Aaron? What does this signify?
 
Question 32: What is interesting about the lighting of the hotel room? What does it signify?
 
Question 33: Besides the obvious, what difficulties of expression do you think the actors of the roles of Aaron and Christian experienced? What symbolic interactions might explain this?
 
Question 34: What is accidentally left behind in the hotel room? What does this signify?
 
Question 35: Compare Aaron's arrval at the aiport with his earlier departure. What differences are markedly apparent? What differences are subtle?
 
Question 36: What is the color scheme at Aaron's excommunication assembly? How does this make you feel?
 
Question 37: What is the color scheme at Aaron's parents house? How does this make you feel? Can you identify an unusual similarity to a previous color scheme used in the film.
 
Question 38: Explain the symbolism of Aaron's nightmare.
 
Question 39: What objects are present in Aaron's rooms that might have symbolic meaning? Describe them and their potential meanings.
 
Question 40: Explain Aaron's ultimate symbolic act and what it relates to.
 
Question 41: What symbols are overtly apparent in Aaron's aversion therapy sequence? What does this indicate?
 
Question 42: In Christian's guilt, he retreats to a familiar place. What is significant about the specific location in which this scene occurs with a respected employer?
 
Question 43: In the closing events of the film, identify several scenes which seem to symmetrically mirror the events at the start of the film. Describe why this is significant or important in the scheme of things.
 
Question 44. Ultimately, what conclusions can you make about religious experiences based on the symbolic interactions of this film?
 
Question 45: Ultimately, what conclusions can you make about life and meaning based on the symbolic interactions and events of the film?



**Some of these questions were answered in the director/actors commentary of the DVD. If possible, try to come up with your own responses instead of saying what the director or actors did about a particular scene. The point here is to use your own mind in a creative or thought-provoking manner, to search for meaning where it might not have been perceived before.


« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 02:27:23 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2006, 04:40:26 am »
Daniel - Thank you so much for posting these thought-provoking questions...I'm going to take some time and really see what I can come up with :).

Would you be willing to post these on the latterdays community at LiveJournal?  I bet plenty of people there would be interested.  If you don't want to/don't have time, may I post them with your permission and credit you?

I posted a very small fan fic piece (Milli dragged, pushed and prodded! :) ) earlier today and already have like 6 nice responses!  The point being that there are still people obviously interested in Latter Days.

I also wanted to let you know that a friend loaned me 'The Book of Secrets' and I'm really enjoying it!  Thank you...I wouldn't have known about it but for you.

Best,
Lynne
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2006, 02:16:00 pm »
Oh, go ahead and post it for me... I'm glad you're enjoying "The Book of Secrets". Get your own copy if you can. I need to order another one for myself. My CD is scratched, I think; it keeps skipping on the first track.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lumière

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2006, 02:20:02 pm »
Danny ~  Thanks for those questions!   :D
I can't wait to go through them one by one and see what I can come up with.

Lynne ~  It's an excellent idea to post them on the LD site.

 :-*

~M


Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2006, 02:57:09 am »
I'm not sure if everyone knew this about me or not, but I am a certified holistic life coach and have been fully trained in the many styles that are available to life coaches for their clients to pursue deeper meaning or richness in their lives, to find their purpose, and to live life more in accordance with their truest desires.

Of course, I have always made it a point to never ask someone to do something unless I am willing to do it myself, and I have a great difficulty with commitment to difficult or emotionally challenging tasks, even if they are necessary for me to complete, so I am struggling with that, in hopes of making some transformations in my own life for the better, as a part of my spiritual evolution in the aftermath of the life-shattering film event.

One of the most interesting part of this certification training was reading about the stories of other people who have been life coached, or even just had brief encounters with a life coaching experience that changed their life for the better.

"With my dear friend Barbara Morse, I began a family history project called "Tell Us Your Story," fifteen years ago. In one afternoon, we developed a list of twenty-five questions that we felt really got a the crux of people's life passages, and turned these questions into family history workshops, a school curriculum, and community festival events. We realized that these questions crossed generational, cultural, and gender boundaries, and reached the heart of everybody's life story. Anybody anywhere can answere these questions - questions like 'How did your life change after you had a baby?' 'How did your life change after someone close to you died?' 'What did someone teach you that made a difference?' And our favorite question, which is 'What family secret did you learn that changed your view of yourself or someone in your family?'
     "I used this question once when I was at the hom of my friend Michael. There were two other visitors - two very shy guys from North Dakota - waiting for Michael to come home. They sat on the couch patiently and politely for hours without talking to me or each other. Finally I went over and said, 'Hey, have either of you learned a family secret that changed your view of yourself or someone in your family?' They both said yes, and we immediately had a wonderful conversation of extremely intimate information. One of the guys, Darren, told how his father had killed someone in a fight as a young man and had become very inward and fearful of his emotions after that event. Darren had just learned this, and it answered a lifetime of questions for him - he had modeled himself after his shy, withdrawn father without knowing the story behind his father's personality."

This leads to one of the exercises that some life coaches feel their clients will benefit from: the daily focus experience. For people keeping an actual diary with pen-writing, it can be a marvel. And indeed, I recommend this to my clients as one of their first priorities. Dream interpretation, daily intuitions, heart-wisdoms, and daily mental focusing can all be practiced through my sectioned journal.

Subjects of Interest

Jot down each day for thirty days:
  • Anything that you overhear, read, think about, see, or are told about that catches your attention more than usual.
  • Things that excite, delight, encourage, intrigue, or uplift you.
  • A brief description of someone whom you admire. Why do you admire him or her?
  • Any need you see in your environment that is not being addressed.

Summarize any pattern you see in your notes. Underline the sentence or words that give you a feeling of excitement or arouse strong interest.

I've done this before a few times, but so far have failed to see any pattern or connections from day to day. Maybe I just have ADD or something similar, but to be honest I can find few things making connections in my life in a meaningful way. Or, actually I take that back, I can find few things making connections in my life in a practical way. The connections that occur are often mystical or hyper-intuitive in their experience, and as much as I would like to, I can find no career-line which pays people to have mystical experiences.

So here goes:
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2006, 03:28:28 am »
Subjects of Interest Day 1

Tuesday, November 21, 2006.

** I awaken at 6 AM and immediately recall the thrum of one of the Asia Minor instrumental pieces from The Book of Secrets CD. The thrum is mirrored deep within my pelvic region and I wonder if it is possible to dance while being absolutely still. Perhaps this is the best way to dance, for then every movement would be greatly sensitive, and the inner body could embrace the fires of passion while the outer body relaxes. It is strange to think of the body as three or more bodies shelling one another, but that is what is experienced.

** I look at one of the paintings I have stored on my computer: it is a work of art known as "The Golden Temple" and is ethereal and uplifting at the same time. It reminds me very much of a website I once wanted to erect: The Temple of Inner Light, though other than providing a place for spiritual wisdom, I can think of no specific reason for its existence.

** As I make my way into the living room, which my roommates have grievously cluttered (an understatement), my eyes come across two things which immediately stand out to me: a burgundy and cream topiary floral arrangement I had made recently, with accents of gold-threaded cream ribbon, white rose, and golden seeds. It looks elegant even in its unpainted terra-cotta pot, and stands out like a sore thumb. Also a painting which my grandfather had completed a few years before he died, a mountain shimmers like crystal in the background of a great forest, both of which are reflected in a still lake. It reminds me slightly of the Brokeback Mountain poster, the lower lefthand corner of it.

** In the kitchen, I turn on the burners to heat water for Chai tea, and find the vanilla-flavored creamer. People wonder why I do not drink coffee. It is far too bitter for me, I tell them. Ick.

** At work, I find a slight chaos as the fine jewelry count was off (again) and I wonder what is wrong with the other people in my department. It is a simple and beautiful (the beauty lies in its importance and in the fact that it is an actual application, rather than something theoretic) logic puzzle. Our LP is bugging me again, wants me to find out where the discrepencies are. We've been missing one piece for a week or so, since they said they sent it to us, and they didn't, and we received 16 more of these than we should have on the last shipment. I don't understand what's so difficult about that. Sigh.

** That being completed, I found myself and the supervisor preparing for Friday's sale. Black Friday it is called, and so the little people dread the experience while the accountants rub their hands with glee. Our theme this year is "Love transforms everything." and in the fine jewelry department (to doggedly follow the trends set by the DeBeers corporation) "Love is a journey." Of course, both statements are correct, but if there is one thing I do not need it is a retail industry informing me that purchasing something will add to my spiritual existence. This is a tremendous untruth, and one worthy of public denouncement if I could get away with it and still keep my job.

**I spend most of the morning and afternoon doing what I think I do best: bringing order to chaos. I have not perfected a way to do it in my own life, as I myself am a little cluttered and chaotic, but when at work, my energy for doing such things is multiplied. By the time the supervisor has left, I have reorganized the chaotic mess of backstock for our fine jewelry gemstone merchandise and refurbished a number of our fashion jewelry cases to display colors and styles appropriate to the season. If you haven't noticed, this years colors are red, black (onyx, marcasite, hematite), white (silver and crystal in jewelry), and gold. And sparkle, sparkle, sparkle. Crystals and gold thread in everything. Some of the crystal pieces this year are rather elegant, and the golden pearl is beautiful if you can find the real thing.

**Home again. I tried to watch Boys Don't Cry but my roommates protested too much, so I obligingly changed the channel to Deal or No Deal. That is an exciting game show, and I'm not really even certain why. The whole body tenses up just watching them make their choice to deal or not deal with the banker. Then I watched an episode of 3 Pounds which seems to deal with the modern conflict of science vs. spirit. I enjoyed it immensely.

** I held the cat down so we could put her eardrops in, got a few scratches.

Other than that, no particular interests cropped up. I will try to pay more attention tomorrow.

« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 03:31:45 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2006, 03:37:02 am »
Oh, go ahead and post it for me... I'm glad you're enjoying "The Book of Secrets". Get your own copy if you can. I need to order another one for myself. My CD is scratched, I think; it keeps skipping on the first track.

Would you like me to make you a copy of mine?  I will...just PM me your snail mail.

I posted a long-winded introduction in LJ, quoting you shamelessly, naturally :), and the first three questions.  So we'll see what comes!  Thank you!  You should pop in and keep the discussions on track, Counsellor:

http://community.livejournal.com/latterdaysfans/

-Lynne
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2006, 03:46:56 am »
No, thanks though....

My CD case for The Book of Secrets was torn up a long time ago, so I need to reorder it for that too.  My brother had gotten me a CD holder for christmas one year, but I discovered that I enjoyed storing the CDs in their original cases far more. I'm not exactly certain why, but I think it has something to do with integrity... :) ??? lol

I'm really interested in seeing if anyone will post some answers to the questions... I'll post my own after a few people post theirs.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 03:51:47 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2006, 04:01:25 am »
No, thanks though....

My CD case for The Book of Secrets was torn up a long time ago, so I need to reorder it for that too.  My brother had gotten me a CD holder for christmas one year, but I discovered that I enjoyed storing the CDs in their original cases far more. I'm not exactly certain why, but I think it has something to do with integrity... :) ??? lol

I'm really interested in seeing if anyone will post some answers to the questions... I'll post my own after a few people post theirs.

I bet we do get some replies..something like 9 people commented on my little drabble and these are way more interesting!

About CD cases...I understand.  I keep my CDs in holders, but I'm not happy with that solution.  I'm also not happy with the way jewel cases break so easily.  Ideally, I'd get organized and keep the orginals in their cases and copies in portable holders...like that will ever happen, tho.  :-\
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Lumière

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2006, 03:22:59 pm »
Would you like me to make you a copy of mine?  I will...just PM me your snail mail.

I posted a long-winded introduction in LJ, quoting you shamelessly, naturally :), and the first three questions.  So we'll see what comes!  Thank you!  You should pop in and keep the discussions on track, Counsellor:

http://community.livejournal.com/latterdaysfans/

-Lynne

I'm gonna go look this up now!   :)