STORIES about fixed attitudes have an Objective Story Domain of Mind:
Amadeus: The play is a memory play. It is fixed in Salieri’s mind. This is his recollection, his argument, his justification. However, within the objective story, the characters are fixed in their attitudes. The Court is fixed in its ways, the Emperor is fixed in his ways. Salieri is fixed in his desire for fame. Mozart is fixed in his personality and his thinking. Even Constanze is fixed in her regard for Mozart, and her desire to help him.
Apt Pupil: Society holds a fixed negative point of view about the heinous war crimes committed by the Nazis against the Jews, specifically their systematic extermination of those they deemed useless or undesirable.
Barefoot in the Park: “Barefoot in the Park” is a study of why and how fixed attitudes (especially in a marriage) create conflict.
The Client: The greatest conflicts between all the characters in “The Client” are the result of fixed attitudes and incompatible positions on the issues explored. This begins with the conflict between the thug and his attorney (which leads to the attorney’s suicide), and can be seen throughout the rest of the story: Marcus’ determination to remain quiet conflicts with his attorney, the DA’s office, and the mob; the DA’s attitude of “the end’s justify the means” conflicts with the defense attorney’s attitude toward protecting Marcus’ rights; the thug’s reckless dismissal of the possible discovery of the senator’s body conflicts with the mob’s disposition toward protecting family above all else; etc.
The Crucible: In this Puritanical time, there is a definite fixed attitude of the ruling theocracy:
Danforth: . . . But you must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road in between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time–we love no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by God’s grace, the shining sun is up, and them that fear not light will surely praise it. I hope you will be one of those. (Miller 94) Robert Warshow comments:
The Salem “witches” suffered something that may be worse than persecution: they were hanged because of a metaphysical error. And they chose to die–for all could have saved themselves by “confession”–not for a cause, not for “civil rights,” not even to defeat the error that hanged them, but for their own credit on earth and in heaven: they would not say they were witches when they were not. They lived in a universe where each man was saved or damned by himself, and what happened to them was personal. . . . One need not believe in witches, or even in God, to understand the events in Salem, but it is mere provinciality to ignore the fact that both those ideas had a reality for the people of Salem that they do not have for us. (113)
The Great Gatsby: The objective characters hold a fixed attitude about people and society. Tom’s prejudice about people with ethnic backgrounds other than Nordic, and his certainty of the part they will play in the downfall of western civilization, is illustrated as follows:
“‘Civilization’s going to pieces,’ broke out Tom violently. ‘I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read ‘The Rise of the Colored Empires’ by this man Goddard?’
‘Why, no,’ I answered, rather surprised by his tone.
‘Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be-will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.'”
Hamlet: Hamlet’s bad attitude threatens the stability of the royal family and court. His sustained grief for his father’s death is seen to be unmanly and evidence of “impious stubbornness.” (1.2.98) This is contrasted by King Claudius’ explanation that “discretion” prohibits excessive grief. Claudius has married his brother’s widow and has done so with the concurrence of the members of the council.
Othello: Brabantio thinks of Othello as the Moorish soldier–a well-behaved barbarian–and will never accept him as a son-in-law. Iago’s fixation on revenge rules him absolutely and drives him to ruin. Roderigo thinks he can buy Desdemona’s love. Desdemona loves Othello and will continue to love him no matter how he treats her. Othello thinks the guilty must always be swiftly punished.
The Philadelphia Story: All of the characters in the story are dealing with some sort of rigid thinking, snobbery, or prejudice. Mike reveals himself early on to be anti-upper-class. Tracy calls him an intellectual snob. (“The worst kind there is.”) Kittredge feels that Dexter is somewhat condescending, and before storming off at the end, he declares that “You and your whole rotten class… you’re all on your way out… and good riddance.” Dexter and Seth both accuse Tracy of being closed minded and unforgiving.
Searching for Bobby Fischer: Every character has a fixed opinion of what should be done, how the game should be played, whether or not Josh should or will play, and what the consequences will be. Over the course of the story, all of the principle objective characters will have these views challenged.
To Kill a Mockingbird: In an attempt to avoid the changing times, the small town southerners of Maycomb County hold onto their fixed attitudes regarding race, class, and gender by indulging in the myths they have perpetuated; the children have a fixed attitude concerning Boo Radley and Mrs. Dubose; “The Radley Place was inhabited by an unknown entity the mere description of whom was enough to make us behave for days on end; Mrs. Dubose was plain hell…neighborhood opinion was unanimous that Mrs. Dubose was the meanest woman who ever lived.” (Lee, 1960, pp. 7, 39)
When Harry Met Sally: When Harry Met Sally… explores the different viewpoints men and women hold regarding the opposite sex, and examines the rules and regulations that can govern these relationships.
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