By Sonia Maasik, Jack Solomon
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Additional resources for Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers
The building of a system often leads to the construction of larger systems that envelop your original one (for example, the Twilight story belongs to the system of vampire tales, which themselves are part of the horror system, which can be related to fantasy stories, and so on), but it is best to begin with the most obviously related phenomena. So let’s consider the system of vampire stories. indd 13 10/14/11 7:57 PM 14 IN T RO DU C T IO N legends about such historical figures as Vlad the Impaler.
But from a semiotic perspective, our values too belong to systems from which they take their meaning. Semioticians call these systems of belief cultural mythologies. ” Consider the value system that governs our traditional thinking about gender roles. Have you ever noticed how our society presumes that it is primarily the role of women — adult daughters — to take care of aging and infirm parents? If you want to look at the matter from a physiological perspective, it might seem that men would be better suited to the task: In a state of nature, men are physically stronger and so would seem to be the natural protectors of the aged.
Then consider how you feel about her essay. If you agree with Hagedorn’s contention that films perpetuate outmoded stereotypes of Asian women, why do you feel that way? Can you think of films Hagedorn does not mention that reflect the gendered patterns she observes? Or do you know of films that represent Asian female characters in alternative ways? Or say you’re irritated by Hagedorn’s argument: Again, why do you feel that way? What would you say to her in response? Your aim in jotting all this down is not to produce a draft of an essay.