The music video “Prayer Of The Refugee” by Rise Against depicts the realities of exploited manual laborers. The workers, namely minorities, children, and women, manufacture goods that become available later in American stores. The final moments of the video reveal two possible realities, that all of the products were made in America or were made in foreign countries and only claim to be made in America. Either interpretation easily prompts viewers to reconsider and address such realities. For example, viewers are inclined to think about the process of manufactured goods and those who made them. Secondly, viewers are also urged to consider what life must be like for the laborers and their motivation for enduring the stress that their work encompasses. The video can therefore be related back to the political psychology that Ardila discusses in Political Psychology: The Latin American Perspective, because the laborers must obviously have reasons for taking on such jobs, whether it be resulting from political and social unrest or economic turmoil.

The Goonies: Motivation!

December 11, 2011

In the film, The Goonies, the protagonists, a group of children, are motivated to find a way to save their homes from being foreclosed by the father of their enemy, Troy Perkins. They fear being separated and fear that their parents do not have the means to protect themselves from this fate. As a result, they embark on an adventure to find a lost treasure in order to raise the funds needed to prevent their homes from being taken away. The changes in the economic situation and what one may even consider to be social causes prompt the group to seek alternative solutions to their dilemma. Their efforts clearly embody the qualities of what Ardila argues to be political psychology.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

December 11, 2011

Here’s another trailer that depicts a group that becomes affected by greater political and social factors. In the film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the protagonists strive for survival against humans that have become infected by a virus and have essentially become zombies. The zombies, of course, have got a craving for human flesh and the protagonists are forced to fight them off in an epic battle for their lives. Because their requests for help goes unheard from the authorities, the protagonists are thus forced to act on instinct and to the best of their judgment, though their actions are direct responses to their current situation, fighting for survival against hungry zombies.

In this scene of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet excitedly welcomes the players who will be performing a play (within a play) at the castle. Hamlet intends to utilize this new resource as a means of addressing his current dilemma of whether or not the ghost of his father told the truth about his death and if it would be morally right for Hamlet to avenge his death. Hamlet decides to experiment with players by having them act out the murder of his father in order to see if it will evoke a response from the new King Claudius. In experimenting with the players, Hamlet comes to use this medium to confront the issues of his current state. If we were to relate this to Latin American writers and literature, we can identify that Latin American writers experiment with literature to combat their social, political, and economic constraints.

The trailer for the film, Coraline, establishes the two realities that the protagonist Coraline Jones travels between. The first reality we learn is that of her actual life, in which she is often unhappy because her parents do not pay enough attention to her. Sensing that Coraline yearned for acceptance and love, her other mother, essentially an alternate version of her own mother, lured her into an alternate reality in which her immediate dreams came true. Coraline, traveling back and forth between these two realities begins to realize that her other mother has other intentions and must decide which reality she wants to dominate her existence. The two realities can easily be related to Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, in which Zenzotli often finds himself struggling between his own existence between his two realities and which reality dominates over the other.

Time Analysis In Atomik Aztex

November 15, 2011

In Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, Zenzontli often mentions the year 1942. The numbers of the year, if rearranged yields the year 1492, the year of the discovery of the new world. Both years are significant in which 1942 depicts a world plunged into chaos, a result of World War II, while 1492 depicts a more promising illusion, since the new world had already been inhibited but was newly discovered by settlers. If we, as readers, can accept this theory, the two times can be related to the way in which Zenzotli views his visions and his reality. When speaking with Nita, Zenzotli states:

“‘I’ve been going nuts. You can’t imagine. Between real visions and fake insights, between fake visions and real delusions, I can’t tell what time it is, whether the big hand is on the three or the little hand is on the six, or the little hand is on the three or the big hand is on the six.’” (Sesshu Foster 69)

Zenzotli visions have compromised his understanding of what his reality truly is. In one sense, it can be argued that he does prefer his visions to his reality since it does help him discover who he is and why the visions continue to occur. On the other hand, despite having said he may actually like having the visions, the visions cause Zenzotli to dive into a world of chaos, in which he confuses where his reality ends and where the visions begin.

Dante’s Inferno Levels

November 15, 2011

In Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, Zenzotli often refers to Dante’s Inferno. For instance, in regards to Max, he comments that if:

“Max’s personality was patterned on Dante’s Inferno, with inner circles providing special
torment for the worst offenders, then the behaviors he revealed in his office, were
marvelous strange.” (Sesshu Foster 49)

In his allusion, Zenzotli muses that as a result of his schizophrenia, Max’s personality resembles the levels of Hell as presented in Dante’s Inferno, which has numerous layers and is illustrated in the image below. Although each layer is different, they are united by the fact that they are all distinct sides of Max’s persona. While Zenzotli comments that Max’s condition is relatable to the levels of Dante’s Inferno, the levels analogy can also be attributed to Zenzotli’s realities. Despite existing between his two realities, it is apparent that the two affect one another. For instance, in the reality in which Zenzotli is the “Keeper of the House of Darkness”, the character of Maxtla may be an unconscious representation of Max since Zenzotli did appreciate the good nature of Max’s personalities. If this is to be considered as true, then the levels of Zenzotli’s own personality is revealed in that readers learn that there is a real Zenzotli, a Zenzotli which derives from this Zenzotli, and the characters forged from his reality which is embedded in his alternate reality. Similarly, Zenzotli often discusses levels when attempting to describe his current reality.

Zenzotli’s Deluded Reality

November 15, 2011

Many narratives utilize the technique of magical realism. Within a narrative, magical realism establishes a setting within a reality, but also contains magical or supernatural elements. In Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, the homodiegetic narrator, Zenzotli exists between two realities; one in which he works at a meat packing plant, and one in which he is the “Keeper of the House of Darkness”. Although the two realities alone are evidence of magical realism, because the two realities tend to affect one another, they tend to reveal more elements of magical realism. For instance, while trying to get the attention of the people, Zenzotli states:

 “I snapped my fingers. It came to me (What? I’m, like, a genius! How do I do it?), I knew exactly what I had to do to ensure enough signatures for the union ratification vote to take place according to the rules of law of the National Labor Relations Board as promulgated by President Roosevelt in the Zippity-doo-dah.” (Sesshu Foster 75)

By making it appear that the idea to attract voters came to him purely by magic, Zenzotli blurs the line that separates his two realities and inserts a supernatural element. Similarly, while working on the killing floor, Zenzotli comments “Once upon a time I had though Max was a good guy” (Foster 48). Zenzotli’s comment utilizes a cliché introduction to traditional fairy tales in order to make a mere remark. However, the mere insertion of the line causes readers to reflect on his alternate reality, in which he is more content.

Focalization in Atomik Aztex

November 15, 2011

In Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative, Manfred Jahn explains that a focalizer is “the agent whose point of view orients the narrative text” (Jahn N3.2.2). In essence, a focalizer is the voice of the narrator who tells the events of the narrative. In Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, the events of the story are presented by the homodiegetic narrator, Zenzotli. We learn from him that he lives in between the realities of his real life and his visions. From his own point of view, his visions are causing him to get “fucked in the head” and “are better than aspirin and cheaper” (Foster 3). Zenzotli’s visions are almost medicating, as he finds a sense of comfort, discovery, and reality in them. However, it is from another perspective that we learn that Zenzotli’s visions aren’t as medicating, but rather disruptive and alarming. Amoxhuah, awakens Zenzotli during a vision, to tell him that he was “‘mumbling things in your sleep, sir, stupid things, insensibilities, inanities, platitudes’” (Foster 59). Although Zenzotli believes that his visions are filled with a greater reality, fearless adventures, and medicating images, Amoxhuah simply claims that he understands them to be foolish, cliché absurdities.

Diction in Atomik Aztex

November 15, 2011

Throughout Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, the homodiegetic narrator, Zenzotli often replaces hard sounding c’s with k’s. Other replacements include the spelling of through as thru and thought as thot, while other instances of Zenzotli’s experiments with language revolve around changes to the type. In doing so, Zenzotli explains that he is merely showcasing his “emphasis” (Foster 2). This type of narrative experimentation is what Manfred Jahn explains to be skaz narrative, which has “a distinctly oral diction and syntax, a skaz-narrator’s discourse is also characterized by a high incidence of phatic and appellative elements, signaling the presence of the listening audience” (N3.3.4). While Zenzotli’s experiments with his diction is used for emphasis, his experiments also demand that readers consider his Aztek heritage. Like Zenzotli’s diction, the replacement of hard sounding c’s with k’s also appears in the Mortal Kombat franchise as seen in the image and clip belowy.