Fatal Flaw?

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  • Re: Fatal Flaw?

    I think this guy is pulling our chain. Surely no one really thinks like Jim does.

    Rick as the antag?
    The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost

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    • Re: Fatal Flaw?

      LOL - if you read any of my posts, I never once stated that Rick is the Antagonist. Maj. Strasser is clearly the Antagonist.

      Re: Red as simply being the Narrator

      Red has a problem that many of the other inmates share, namely, that they easily go along with whatever the warden or any of the other guards tell them to do. They have become institutionalized. The thing that elevates Red beyond his fellow inmates, at least as far as dramatic structure goes, is that we get a close intimate look into what that it feels like to think this way. The parole hearings are scenes that are solely all about Red. We don't get scenes like that with any of the other characters (you could argue that there is the section with Brooks when he is let go, but I would say that is more of a substory, whereas Red's storyline is key throughout.

      Through his relationship with Andy, Red changes and transforms the way he looks at life. I believe his relationship with Andy is the heart of the story, in much the same way that Rick's relationship with Ilsa is the heart of "Casablanca." Andy does not have this kind of relationship with any other character in the story and is another reason why I would argue that it elevates Red beyond simply the guy telling the story. When he chooses to "get busy living" he is basically telling us that he has adopted Andy's way of seeing things. When he tells the parole board to basically shove it up their ass, he is finally standing up to the system like Andy did. Andy's was on a much larger scale, Red's was more of a personal one.

      Red's storyline gives the audience the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a person who has lost all hope, who has become an institutional man and who goes along with whatever is told him. And then it gives us the very emotional experience of what it would be like to stand up against those who oppress you and transform yourself into someone who believes that "hope springs eternal." While this experience is somewhat mirrored in Andy's storyline, it is presented in a more objectified manner and what's more, I would argue that Andy had that sense of hope from the very beginning. Sure, there were moments when he had his doubts, but when it came right down to it, he stuck to his guns and stuck it to the warden.
      StoryFanatic - story structure and analysis for screenwriters
      http://storyfanatic.com

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      • Re: Fatal Flaw?

        Originally posted by zenplato View Post
        I think this guy is pulling our chain. Surely no one really thinks like Jim does.
        Rick as the antag?
        Somebody was pulling MY chain when I suggested Rick may be Lazlo's Antag (not the Story's Antag).

        There's some big parrallels between Casablanca and Scrooge, I'm certain. Scrooge is unquestionably the antagonising protag, the same way as Rick is.

        But on the other hand, Bob Cratchit isn't at the forefront of a global and noble cause, putting his life in danger at every turn.

        Also, Dickens wasn't trying to show some heroic type leading a noble cause in the background, while in the forground the story's MC just watches on the sidelines agonising about something intensely personal. However, I do believe both authors almost scream at their audience the question: "notice anything familier".

        But I wont mumble any more rubbish about this. At the end of the day what the hell do I know about multiple storylines. I'm struggling with just one.
        "Would you take a f**k to save your president?"

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        • Re: Fatal Flaw?

          Originally posted by JimHull View Post
          LOL - if you read any of my posts, I never once stated that Rick is the Antagonist. Maj. Strasser is clearly the Antagonist.
          You might as well have...I mean seriously, what are you trying to say other than you are confused about the dramatic elements.

          Have you ever read Poetics by Aristotle? I think that's a good start...
          The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost

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          • Re: Fatal Flaw?

            Sorry Jim, I've confused your and Steve's posts.

            Please accept my apology...

            Steve...have you read Poetics? lol!!!
            The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost

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            • Re: Fatal Flaw?

              Andy starts the movie drunk with a gun in his hand. To dismiss his journey is hard for me to understand.

              That aside, his story is perhaps the most famous and instantly emotionally involving one: he is an innocent man unjustly accused of a crime. Hitchcock made his career off this character. Perhaps you saw "The Fugitive."

              We want Andy to escape a lot more than we want Red to be paroled. Maybe you personally spent the movie worrying about Red getting out of prison... But you have to admit you're in the minority, yes?

              As for Casablanca... I don't know, Jim. Any theory that makes Laszlo the protag of Casablanca would make me question the theory instead of 60 years of analysis.

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              • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                Originally posted by zenplato View Post
                Sorry Jim, I've confused your and Steve's posts.

                Please accept my apology...

                Steve...have you read Poetics? lol!!!
                I read one of his once. The one where the hero dies in the end.
                LOL - sorry.
                Is poetics the big thick one? Cos I read the small thin one, about not having a god arrive down on the stage on the end of a string, and fix everything with a wave of the hand.

                But it depends on the post you mean. Jeff tried (and succeeded for a while) in winding me up with one about that. But all I was trying to suggest is maybe there's two storylines with a protag and antag in each. With Rick being the protag of the main storyline, Lazlo being the protag of the secondary storyline, with Rick crossing the two by being Lazlo's antag.

                But I'm happy to just accept that Lazlo is the hero who never was.
                "Would you take a f**k to save your president?"

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                • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                  Thanks zen, no biggee though, I just know that people scan extended threads like this and I didn't want the casual reader to think I was completely insane.

                  As far as Poetics goes, I have read it, but I wouldn't use that text as a basis for dramatic structure any more than I would use the geocentric model to describe our universe.

                  Re: Shawshank (just saw your reply)

                  I don't think problems in the story really start until the judge sentences Andy to life. The moments with him in the beginning are what I would consider Backstory -- they explain why Andy has the attitude that he has. I would agree that in "The Fugitive" Dr. Kimble is both Protagonist and Main Character (he drives the plot to prove his innocence and we experience the film through his eyes).

                  On this messageboard I would definitely agree that I'm in the minority, but how certain audiences receive a message is separate from the way in which it was conceived.

                  As far as Casablanca goes, it's important to note that that is my own interpretation of the story's structure. There could be a chance that I've misinterpreted things, as I have in the past, and I'd be willing to change if a good argument for the goal of the story, the goal that affects everyone, could be engineered in such a way as to place Rick as the one driving the efforts towards the successful outcome of that goal.

                  I don't see him pursuing much of anything until the end after Lazlo guilt trips him. If I recall, you see his goal as trying to get back together with Ilsa and that he was pursuing that from the moment she walked into his place. I don't see that, in fact, to me it seems more like he is trying to avoid her, pushing her away because he is so hurt by her.

                  To me, these are not the actions of a Protagonist. Main Character, on the other hand, the one we care most about and empathize with the most, definitely.
                  StoryFanatic - story structure and analysis for screenwriters
                  http://storyfanatic.com

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                  • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                    I don't see that, in fact, to me it seems more like he is trying to avoid her, pushing her away because he is so hurt by her.
                    I think the subtleties of story and love are missing from your viewpoint.

                    (If he wanted Ilsa gone, he'd hand over the letters. And sometimes we push people we love away to test them.)

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                    • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                      Originally posted by JimHull View Post
                      Thanks zen, no biggee though, I just know that people scan extended threads like this and I didn't want the casual reader to think I was completely insane.

                      As far as Poetics goes, I have read it, but I wouldn't use that text as a basis for dramatic structure any more than I would use the geocentric model to describe our universe.
                      No worries...

                      BUT, this last part really disturbs me...Poetics is the basics for dramatic structure. To say Poetics is antiquated, is your hamartia, imo .

                      Poetics is prolly the most important book...ever. OK, maybe not, but it to say it's no longer relavent, like a geocentric model is...shocking.

                      So riddle me this...why is Poetics so outdated in your view? How is it no longer germane to storytelling and the dramatic elements? I'm always curious and interested to learn something new. I'm hopeful you can do just that!!!

                      Thanks.
                      The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost

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                      • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                        Originally posted by Steven Jenkins View Post
                        I read one of his once. The one where the hero dies in the end.
                        LOL - sorry.
                        Is poetics the big thick one? Cos I read the small thin one, about not having a god arrive down on the stage on the end of a string, and fix everything with a wave of the hand.

                        But it depends on the post you mean. Jeff tried (and succeeded for a while) in winding me up with one about that. But all I was trying to suggest is maybe there's two storylines with a protag and antag in each. With Rick being the protag of the main storyline, Lazlo being the protag of the secondary storyline, with Rick crossing the two by being Lazlo's antag.

                        But I'm happy to just accept that Lazlo is the hero who never was.
                        It's not a thick book at all. In fact, you could probably read the whole thing in an hour:

                        http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html

                        Let me know what you think...
                        The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost

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                        • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                          Poetics is tight.
                          You only get one chance to rewrite it 100 times.

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                          • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                            Originally posted by JimHull View Post
                            ... I'd be willing to change if a good argument for the goal of the story, the goal that affects everyone, could be engineered in such a way as to place Rick as the one driving the efforts towards the successful outcome of that goal. ...
                            How about if the Paris flashback was not a flashback at all, but started the movie and the story progressed in "real time"?

                            edited to add:
                            There's no flashback showing Laszlo wanting letters of transit.
                            Did Laszlo even want those specific letters?
                            "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
                            - Clive Barker, Galilee

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                            • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                              Originally posted by JimHull View Post

                              As far as Casablanca goes, it's important to note that that is my own interpretation of the story's structure. There could be a chance that I've misinterpreted things, as I have in the past, and I'd be willing to change if a good argument for the goal of the story, the goal that affects everyone, could be engineered in such a way as to place Rick as the one driving the efforts towards the successful outcome of that goal.

                              I don't see him pursuing much of anything until the end after Lazlo guilt trips him. If I recall, you see his goal as trying to get back together with Ilsa and that he was pursuing that from the moment she walked into his place. I don't see that, in fact, to me it seems more like he is trying to avoid her, pushing her away because he is so hurt by her.

                              To me, these are not the actions of a Protagonist. Main Character, on the other hand, the one we care most about and empathize with the most, definitely.
                              Did any character in Casablancea have a story goal, that is a goal that arose at the end of the first Act, or thereabout? Was there an event which turned that character's life in another direction and propelled him toward a goal?

                              Laszlo's goal was always to get to America with Ilsa. So his goal to get letters of transit (any letters of transit, Brad) is nothing new. He wasen't propelled toward a goal by events in the story.

                              On the other hand, Rick's world is turned completely upside down when everything happens at once. Strasser comes to town, Ugarte hands Rick the letters, and Ilsa and Laszlo come to town.

                              Rick goes into action. He hides the letters from the authorities. He kicks the German officer out of the gambling room, allows the playing of the French anthem, keeps the letters of transit and doesn't allow the owner of the Blue Parrot to sell them. By his actions, although bitter on the outside, he shows whose side he's really on.

                              Rick may not have a well defined goal, probably because his mind is so screwed up by his love for Ilsa and because of the what happened to him even before he met Ilsa (we never find out what these events were which prevent him from returning to America), but his actions and how he handles all the **** that's going on, he propels the story.

                              In the end Rick saves Laszlo and Ilsa, kills Strasser, and makes it out of Casablanca to join the resistance.

                              Does a protag need a well defined goal near the beginning of the story?
                              Last edited by jonpiper; 04-01-2010, 03:07 PM.

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                              • Re: Fatal Flaw?

                                Originally posted by jonpiper View Post
                                Does a protag need a well defined goal near the beginning of the story?
                                No. See Die Hard and thousands of other movies where a character is thrust into a situation not of his making.

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