Emil

All of your actions towards others, either positive or negative, can have big effects on your life in the future. This is a piece of wisdom that Morely learns in Stuart McLean’s ‘Emil’, a story about a homeless man’s encounters with Dave and Morely’s family. From the moment Morely meets Emil, she is empathetic of his situation. He is living on the streets and is being looked down upon by society. Morely often offers Emil money, but he only takes what he needs; he often says “I have enough. I have enough.” (111) This shows that Emil isn’t selfish; if anything, he is the exact opposite. When he wins the lottery, he first thing he does is donate over three quarters of it to the Heart of Christ Religious Supplies and Fax Services. Then, with all of the money he has left, he pays back everyone who has regularly given him money, including Morely. However, Emil gives no money to Dave, Morely’s husband, because Dave rarely helps Emil and often yells at him. Dave says “he’s making me crazy. He’s driving away business.” (109) Dave and Morely’s children, Sam and Stephanie, also believe that Morely shouldn’t be giving Emil money, which shows that Morely is the only one in her family who wants to help and believe in Emil. This is another reason why Emil gives Morely money, but holds little things such as overdue library books over Dave’s head. Eventually, Morely ends up with five hundred dollars from Emil, and Dave ends up owing Emil seven dollars. This shows that the action of choosing to give or not to give money to Emil greatly effects both Dave and Morely’s lives, something which Morely is sure to be aware of as well.

Star Wars: A New Hope

The most effective lens to view the film Star Wars: A New Hope from is the gender lens because of the many discrepancies between the male and the female characters. In this movie, there were only three female characters: Princess Leia, Luke’s aunt, and a girl at the bar in the cantina. The girl at the bar was only on the screen for a second or two before the scene changed, and she had no speaking lines. Luke’s aunt died within the first 30 minutes, and she was only shown making food and giving food before she died. Princess Leia was often involved in fights, but she was usually captured immediately and only fought back a couple of times. She was referred to as ‘Princess’ more than ‘Leia’, and she was labeled ‘too trusting’ by a group of men. She was portrayed as helpless, in a sense, and she needed to be saved by a male protagonist. She was looked down upon by everyone else, as shown when Hans said that the group should “avoid female advice” to get out of the Death Star sooner. Watching this film through the gender lens helped me see three prominent things I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. The first was how the word ‘Jedi’ was labeled as ‘his’. This implies that only men can be Jedi, or that there are very few, if any, female Jedi. The next thing I noticed was that the few women in the film usually only spoke after being spoken to first. Leia had a couple of moments where she was the one to talk before any of the men, but most of her lines were preceded by Luke or Hans. The third thing that stood out to me was how after Leia, Luke and Hans were rescued from the garbage compacter, Leia immediately fixed her hair and her dress. This perpetuates the stereotype that all women care about is their physical appearance, especially while surrounded by men. After viewing this film through the gender lens, I can see that it might be about how women are often portrayed as damsels in distress who need to be saved by a strong male character. The whole reason why Leia was rescued in the first place was because Luke thought she was pretty. Two of Hans Solo’s lines in the film were “I don’t know if I like her or if I want to kill her”, and “I’m not in it for you, Princess”. This implies that he wasn’t rescuing her to do the right thing, but rather because she was pretty and rich. This film could also be about how men are often viewed as the ‘stronger sex’ and are stereotypically stronger, tougher, more courageous, etc. In the film, after Luke’s aunt and uncle died, Luke didn’t cry. Instead, he went straight to Obi-Wan and told him he wanted to fight against the people who killed his aunt and uncle. This perpetuates the stereotype that men don’t cry, and instead should turn their sadness into anger. In conclusion, certain films viewed universally today perpetuate stereotypes typically associated with men and women, and therefore can be considered sexist films.