“RaiseThe Red Lantern” and “Eating the Other”
Literaryworks have been fundamental components of both the traditional andcontemporary human societies. Indeed, they have served numerouscrucial roles including entertaining and educating, albeit indifferent ways. However, it has always been acknowledged that theypass a particular message usually pertaining to the society of theauthors or directors in the case of movies. More often than not,nevertheless, there is always a connection between the manner inwhich the society is depicted in movies and literary works even ininstances where they are based on different societies. This is thecase for the movie “Raisethe Red Lantern”and “Eating the Other: Desire or Resistance”.
“Raisethe Red Lantern” details the story of a nineteen-year old girlnamed Songlian who becomes a mistress or concubine to Master Chenafter the death of her father which had left her family bankrupt.Initially, she is treated well but soon realizes that concubines aretreated well only in instances where the master has chosen them. Oncehe chooses a concubine, her lantern is lit and she is given luxurioustreatments. Eventually, power plays and games of deceit emerge amongthe concubines and mistresses, with Songlian being warned by thesecond concubine against the third concubine, only for Songlian torealize that the second one is the one who cannot be trusted.Eventually, Songlian falls from grace after being discovered to havefaked a pregnancy. She ultimately retreats to solitude andcontemplates suicide reasoning that dying may be better than being aconcubine.
In“Eating the Other”, Hooks underlines the fact that the whitepeople are adept at the feeling of going to another race for a sexualencounter since they have particular primitive fantasies. Hooksstates that the white person would feel considerably more in touchwith the world simply because of the sensuality of the encounter.This is because primitive races are more sensual as a result ofhaving struggled more compared to the white men (Hooks21).In essence, they are more at peace with their bodies and are sexuallyliberated unlike their white counterparts who are stiff. This couldexplain the reasoning behind Master Chen’s desire to get married tonumerous concubines preferably from families that are not well up offinancially stable. Of course, Hook may create the notion that suchpeople are more sexually-liberated compared to those who are well up.However, other scholars see this as an attempt to regain one’sdominance over the people that he or she has conquered. Indeed, ithas well been acknowledged that a large number of women from poorfamily backgrounds would be unable to stand their ground or asserttheir position in their families in instances where they are marriedto wealthy individuals. This is especially considering that they areconstantly under the threat of being chased out of their husbands’homes and, most probably, back to their poor families (PowrieandRobynn56). In essence, these sexual encounters would be seen as ways ofkeeping one’s subject in line. This comes out clearly in the movieconsidering that the master would only have certain favors accordedto the woman or concubine with whom he is going to be spending thenight. This makes the subjects use every tactic to win the favor oftheir master or husband (Kennedyand Marilyn45).Hook also notes that the women would not be seen as human beingsrather they would be commodities that are to be used and discarded.Indeed, Songlia and other mistresses or concubines are not treated ashuman beings rather they are simply commodities that the master usesto satisfy his sexual urges after which he discards them. This wouldexplain why any concubine who would not be catering for his sexualurges on a particular night would not be liable for luxuries.
Ofparticular note is the fact that the subjects do not see theirmasters as the culprits rather they see them as the prize. Scholarsnote that this is the main problem that a large number of oppressedpeople suffer from even in the contemporary human societies. Indeed,it is noted that a large number of people never recognize theinjustices that have been meted on them by their masters rather theysimply result into headless competition among each other (Nelson34). This comes out particularly in the case where the secondconcubine uses trickery so as to eliminate the competition thatSonglian, as the newest mistress, has brought into the fold. This isalso the same thing that Songlian did when she blurted out about thesexual escapades of the third mistress and the ambitions of thehouse-help pertaining to becoming a mistress as well. This onlyimplies that they fight for the same favors that disgrace them androb them of their dignity in the long-term (Branigan59).This could be one of the main reasons why a large number of themasses who face oppression remain there in spite of the brutality towhich they are subjected.
Branigan,Edward. NarrativeComprehension and Film.London: Routledge, 1992. Print.
Hooks,Bell. Eating the Other: Desire or Resistance. In “Black Looks: Raceand Representation, pp. 21-39. Boston: South End Press. 1992. Print
Kennedy,Philip F, and Marilyn Lawrence. Recognition:The Poetics of Narrative : Interdisciplinary Studies on Anagnorisis.New York: Peter Lang, 2009. Print.
Nelson,Craig. FindingTrue Love in a Man-Eat-Man World: The Intelligent Guide to GayDating, Sex, Romance, and Eternal Love.New York: Dell, 2011. Print
Powrie,Phil, and Robynn Stilwell. ChangingTunes: The Use of Pre-Existing Music in Film.Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006. Print.