Reaction Paper: Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Musical Homework Essay Sample

Reaction Paper: Thoroughly Modern Millie, a MusicalAs an introduction, it may be observed that the milieu of contemporary appreciation to the arts typifies the rediscovery of art forms in the past, from which the 21st century artists tends to revive the richness and ingenuity of an art from a certain period of civilization. Thus, it can be exemplified by the very engaging story ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan in 2002 which was a remake of the same theatrical production way back in 1922, and evolved in various presentations from a movie to a musical show.This reaction paper aims to provide insightful appreciation in the recreation of ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ as a musical show of Broadway in New York, relating how the contemporary “feel” to the presentation depicts post-modernism and expressionism according to the audience’s level of understanding.

For the purposes of this study, the Broadway musical of ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ will be analyzed. It can be said that the play has a contemporary feel to it, in varying levels, and a use of post-modernism with expressionism were observable from the play. Thus the succeeding discussions will first expound the synopsis of the musical show, and analyzing the details to relate the hypothetical question: “Is the play a contemporary piece?”Based on the 2009 electronic archive of Music Theatre International (MTI), ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ is a musical play that is set in New York City during the 1900s towards 1922. Accordingly, a young lady named Millie Dillmount just moved to the city from Kansas in search of a better life.

This was the time when women were starting to enter the workforce, and Millie is a representation of the women who took courage and tried the fulfillment and rewards out of working. Along the way, Millie has experienced difficulties while adapting in the city, wherein her determination seemed undergoing an acid test when she was robbed of personal valuables upon setting-foot in New York. Despite the bad experience in unfamiliar place, Millie decided to stay in the city, and tore her returned ticket.She struggled employing for a job as a secretary and eventually took advantage of marrying her wealthy boss.

However, her plan was not simple because she happened to live in a hotel that has illegal activities on White Slavery. Additionally, it seemed like her boss does not intend to marry her. The overall plot of the story evolve in a complicated situation of life experiences, in which circumstantial to the setting was Millie’s unexpected falling in love with a paper clip salesman—Jimmy. At one setting of story, Millie discovered the hotel’s illegal activities where she was held witness by the law enforcers against the perpetrators.

Then at the final twist, Millie got married Jimmy who was nobody paper clip salesman, but turned out as an heir of a wealth family.Reflective of the story, the setting was in the 1920s which the plot portrays the meekness or submissiveness in the character of women. On the other hand, women in the 1920s can be also observed with gradual ascendancy to social consciousness, of which women workers regain recognition in the workforce surrounded by men. Likewise, women have played a vital role in the society of men, exemplifying Millie’s awareness and understanding her life experiences.

After the symbolism has been identified, the way where it is applied through a musical will be analyzed. ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ is indeed a contemporary piece because it is a continuing depiction in the character of women. This argument can be corroborated by the normative claim of Shelley Essak’s electronic article “what is Contemporary Art?’ which was published by About.Com in 2003.

As cited, many empirical study-researches define contemporary art as a continuing creation of a lifetime (1).Further, “lifetime” would also mean evolving genre where art is found and integrated within the “social norms” of people in a certain period, like the recreation of ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ in the 1960s which was claimed as a contemporary piece of art in that period. In which case, the remake as a Broadway musical presentation in 2002 connotes contemporary appreciation in a post-modern period.Today, contemporary women manifest the same life experience of Millie in a more complicated world that has been ushered by technological and industrial developments of the 21st century.

Correlating that, like Millie, contemporary women has created a new genre of adaptability from home, community, workplace and government functions, wherein many women have not only struggled for establishing “self-identity”, but identifying herself within the social context. Again, it can be pinpointed that Millie’s conservative character has greatly adjusted according to social norm, from which Millie’s secretarial job for being a stenographer has changed her outlooks or lifestyles. The musical play has largely detailed the seeming effect of social consciousness to Millie, like wearing bob-hairstyle, putting on sophisticated make up and a bright-colored lipstick. It shows that women of the 1900s, 1960s and at the present time evolve in the character of women.

Another point of positive reaction acknowledges the acceptance of women towards changed from inner-self and her physical environment. From this point, the YouTube.Com has featured ‘Gimme, Gimme’ media presentation on Millie’s, and presented the video clips described as follows:“Millie sang, “I’ve studied all the pictures, and magazines, and books. I memorized the subway maps to work…Manhattan, I’m prepared for you” (1).

It may be then perceived that professional women, like Millie, learned to adapt, and start to appreciate the things that really matter, correlating that ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ depicts the ideas of working women and continuously depicts contemporary piece of art.The play certainly used a combination of “Postmodernism and Expressionism”. As defined by Michael Harkavy (2006) in his ‘Expressionism’, the early 20-th century movement in art and literature is an expression of subjective feelings and emotions (1). Also, Postmodernism is an abstract, theoretical term which describes a sociological or cultural climate (1) The term “postmodernism” is coined by Jean-Francois Lyotard (1924-1998) as  “coming both before and after modernism, being the reverse side of it” (2).

For instance, the way the lines were sung were very much emotional and powerful, that at times, the exaggerations were not unusual. The performers simply put out what they felt in their roles and went on with much control in delivering their lines and singing their songs. It was also great that the actors were full-pledged professionals that the numbers did not seem “forced.”In conclusion, the style of production of ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ correlates that postmodernism was applicable because the styles of the costumes and make up, songs, dance numbers, and music essence were timeless.

One cannot simply put an exact time frame of how when it happened, except when one identifies when it was actually made. A person would think that it is a modern piece, and not something that happened decades ago. In most cases, one can still claim that ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ is a contemporary art form as it combines the expressionist and post-modernist style of art.        Works CitedEssak, S.

2003. “What is Contemporary Art?”. About.com.

07 May 2009< http://arthistory.about.com/od/current_contemporary_art/f/what_is.htm>Harkavy, M.

D. 1996. “Expressionism”. Trident Press International, Ontario, Canada.

07 May 2009Music Theatre International (MTI). 2009. “Thoroughly Modern Millie”. 07 May 2009<http://www.

mtishows.com/show_detail.asp?showid=000242>YouTube.Com.

2009. “Gimme Gimme.”. 07 May 2009<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoroughly_Modern_Millie> 

Persuasive Presentation Evaluation

Evaluating me on my persuasive presentation could be difficult. I tend to be more critical of myself than others, but at the same time my grade is involved so I want to be realistic. I was not able to hear myself on the communicoach, but I could see my body language and remember my performance quite well. Gaining the attention of my audience I felt was strong. I related to my young audience by talking about recycling since the awareness of recycling is very prevalent these days.

I compared the two on the level that you recycle your plastic water bottle because you have no use for them after you drink it and although you don’t see immediate personal results from recycling, you know it is for a good cause of others. This related to organ donation for the fact that once you pass you no longer have a need for your organs or tissue and by donation you are helping others. I believe this approach was effective. I established three main points about my topic; the need for organ donation, facts about organ donation and how to become an organ donor.

These three points I felt were very important to touch on in this presentation because I wanted to get rid of all the myths that come with organ donation and the confusion on how to properly set yourself up to donate after you pass. I did a great job including these three points in my Power point Presentation. My Power Point slide show was developed to catch my audience’s attention by using the theme “Recycle yourself”. I took advantage of the limit of three slides. The first, focused on the organs that could be donated.

The second slide was used to show five main facts about organ donation and myths that usually come with organ donation. Lastly, was a large picture of a donation card of which I printed out copies of these cards and handing them out to the class. The thought behind that was people are more likely to complete them right after I did my presentation then expecting them to searching for them online. I noticed on the video that I used the stand more so than my first presentation which I wish I could do over. Although I did walk around a little and used the screen for my Power Point, I should have had small note ards and not depend on the stand. To make up for not covering the full front area, I know I maintained great eye contact and used clear and concise grammar. My conclusion was mentioned, but not established as well as the opener. I feel I came out strong and ended on a soft note. I could have touch again on my three main points and definitely mentioned my three sources throughout my presentation. I only sourced a personal story and then asked the audience for their personal stories, but failed to mention the great websites and articles I read on this subject.

Another fault of mine on this presentation was to establish the business aspect of this topic. In my mind, I had my idea of it being like a business since many hospitals and organization spend many hours and millions of dollars trying to get awareness out in the public eye, but I did not set the stage for this in the beginning of the presentation. Overall, I feel that I did great job, talked about a subject that is real and needed to be talked about. I had a great Presentation and even saw a few students complete their donor card which means my goal was accomplished.

The Holy River Narmada: A Never-ending Story

Introduction:The holy River Narmada “re-incarnates” at every moment.

Stand at a fixed place on the banks of the river and observe the eternal flow. You will never see the mass of the river- water that flows in front of you for the second time in your life-time even if you stay on at that particular spot for ever. You only see the newly incarnated Narmada. The important themes of the stories in the book are related to the  law of action and reaction and the concept of incarnation.

For the purpose of academic explanation, these may look different but both are interlinked. One can not be understood, without understanding the theories related to action. Whether a particular action is secular or related to spiritual domain!   For the sake of convenience, let us take action first. Every action has the reaction and the intensity of the reaction is in proportion to the intensity of the action.

Over this, no dispute exists between the scientists and the spiritualists. One of the rare agreements between the two contending forces; the two opposing forces; the forces that do not see eye to eye with each other! The continuous interplay between the power of action and the power of reaction is life. No equilibrium exists normally and when that state is achieved, it is spiritually known as the state of Realization. The working of the cultural and religious forces is depicted in the stories by Anita Desai.

The holy river Narmada is the permanent witness for the goings-on and the life’s activities along the banks of the river. She flows unconcerned and un-impacted about the turbulence of the human activities of life. The story of the monk and reincarnation:What is the lesson from the story of neophyte Jain monk, Ashok, opting out of the life of opulence to poverty? This monk is not an ordinary individual. He is a billionaire, before he gave up everything.

Apart from wealth, he has renounced his wife and children, because he has come to the firm conclusion “that a man who cannot suffer is not alive.” Such monks seek to lose all sense of themselves in the pursuit of strict ascetic principles. The self-mortification procedures are very strict. They live begging for food.

The doctrine of non-violence they practice is so strict; such monks never hurt any living creature. They wear muslin masks over their mouth. They say, an aesthetic has no past. One has transcended the dualities and is blessed with the second birth.

This is one’s reincarnation. Genuine changes occur within an individual, when one transcends the portals of the mind and reaches the transcendental level. When the thoughts process of an individual change, the action process also changes. Such a transformed individual does not cease to act.

He acts in the world outside, without any motivated desires, and the action and reaction theory is not applicable to him. The mind, freed from the effect of dualities helps to regain the level of purification and aids liberation. The supreme power, at the altar of which one has surrendered totally, controls one’s all major and minor actions! One’s heart responds to the call of that power only. Such an individual sings in joy, as the wise saying goes—‘whose heart it is and who controls its beats; this has become a strange property, on which the owner has lost right!’ The real owner at that level is the Omniscient Power! The story of an intense ascetic who surfaces in a surprising incarnation: The story of the ascetic is another surprising form of incarnation, from the layman’s point  of view but the ascetic has lived up to his spiritual ideals.

Renunciation is a state of mind. When a pertinent question is asked to Lord Krishna by warrior Arjuna (the sacred text of Hinduism-Bhagavadgita) in the battlefield, -which is better- whether renunciation of action or participation in action,  the definite answer provided to Arjuna is, participation in action is better. Many a times, one takes to ascetics, in a flush of enthusiasm, nurturing the false sense of renunciation and stick on to it, even though the minds refuses to accept that state internally. This ascetic in this story had the moral courage to reincarnate to the so-called secular life and return as a famous professor.

He has acted true to his inclinations, and this is reincarnation in the real sense. The professor in the story declares equivocally—only when a soul becomes a man “can it re-enter the world.” Now the practical philosophy of his life is— do not run away to a hermitage in jungle. Create a peaceful ‘hermitage’ where you are!  Do not think deeply about the state of perfect discipline.

Learn how to carry on perfectly with the available discipline! Every story has the latent ingredients of reincarnation revealed subtly, through the belief systems of the characters: In every story, through the utterances of the protagonist, the incarnation aspect is highlighted. The protagonist is made to realize that the process to reach the ultimate Truth is the arduous one.  Achieving the human life is the most difficult one and the rarest of the rare gift of God. The soul has to experience eighty four thousand births to secure the human birth.

This is the best chance to experience life. The theory of reincarnation thus, stands fully recognized and accepted by the protagonist. When you renounce a particular form of life to accept something else, the process is comparable to reincarnation.  You stand dissolved from one aspect of life and take to the other.

The object of renunciation   depicted in this novel are of three types—material, love and life. You renounce from a particular form to reincarnate in the other form. The holy river Narmada is ever-changing, because she is ever-flowing. The process of reincarnation goes on, on a continual basis, without intermission.

Her identity, her unhurried creative expression is one with this ever changing world. “Hurry is not known to all creative expressions in nature outside—the sun rising, the moon setting, the blossoming of the buds the arrival of the fruits, the germination of the seeds, the fetus in the womb, the bird in the egg, all have no hurry, but each takes its own time to grow and emerge out.”9(Swami Chinmayananda, p,96) The journey of the soul through eighty-four hundred  thousand births, with s series of re-incarnations, before attaining the human birth is not to express hurry in that process. “If the seeker tries to hurry up and double up his march to reach the goal, “haste is waste” on the path of Truth.

”(p,96) Noting final can be said about the spiritual concept of reincarnation. The influence of this aspect of the life-is accepted, by the followers of many religions including a minority part of those practicing Christianity. Though Anita Desai does not say anything relating to incarnation in clear terms, its influence is evident in many characters in stories at some level in one form or the other. She writes about the protagonist, “ I imagine the ascetics sitting in the darkness like myself, their naked bodies smeared in ash, their matted hair wound on top of their heads in imitation of their Ascetic God, witnessing the river’s birth as they chant,“Shiva-o-ham, Shiva-o-ham,I that am Shiva, Shiva am I.

” (Desai, 1994, p, 5)The experience relates to an entirely different level, when one transcends the mind-barrier. The body-consciousness vanishes. A new being ‘reincarnates.’ The wise saying goes, “The present is the product of the past.

”—“Meaning, our present life, environment that we are surviving in—everything is the product of our past activities. Also, it is according to the specifications given by our own thoughts and actions that this physical body is developed by Supreme Intelligence and is handed over to us without any partiality. The bodies we possess today have been designed by our own sequence of thoughts and actions in the past; likewise, what we think today, the way we act today formulate a blue print for the Almighty to design our future bodies, including our mental and intellectual equipments.”(Maharaj Ji, 2007, p, 53) Conclusion:Reincarnation, literally “to be made flesh again”, is a doctrine or mystical belief that some core part of a living being is beyond death and takes on new body to be born again.

This is also referred to as Spirit or Soul etc. The belief in reincarnation is as old as the religion itself, in many of the oriental religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. According go Hinduism, the soul is immortal. The effected part is the body which is subject to birth and death.

Just like old garments are shed by the body, the dweller with-in sheds the worn-out bodies. The dweller takes on new bodies. The underlying concept is, the soul, of all living beings, including animals, and plants) reincarnate and the next birth is linked to karma. Such accumulated karma is passed on to the next birth.

We can, harmonizing all our power faculties-physical, mental and intellectual—with our supreme faculty called soul or Pure Consciousness, know how to live life peacefully, and continue the efforts for Self-Realization. Seek liberation from the mortal bindings for ever! Strong aroma of spirituality and action and reaction philosophy can be felt through all the stories of Anita Desai. Each character speaks from the level of its spiritual progression. The fear and impact of reincarnation is experienced by most of the characters in the stories in one way or the other through different stages of their lives.  References:   Mehta, Gita: Book: A River SutraPaperback: 304 pagesPublisher: Vintage (June 28, 1994)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 0679752471ISBN-13: 978-0679752479  Swami Chinmayananda: Book: Bhaja GovindamPublisher: Chinmaya Publications Trust.., Madras-3(India)  Maharaj Ji, Ashutosh: Book: MindPublisher: Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan, Delhi 110 034(India)

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