Category Archives: Week 15

Week 15; Mothers

1. How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film? What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice? And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

In the beginning, I thought the mother was a pretty average one, just caring and protective of her own child. However, towards the end of the movie, I realized that she may have been a little crazy. And by a little, I mean a lot.  I think she was so stuck in her own ways that she is almost blinded by her own way of thinking.  The whole time she is searching for the real killer, she is blinded by her own judgments that the old man is the killer and this makes it impossible for her to find the real one since she basically has her mind made up.  I think the point of her craziness peaks when she kills the old man, it kind of caught me off guard and I think this action was definitely unjustified.

I think the acupuncture needles represent her coming around to realizing the truth about things.  When she first heard the truth she did not want to accept it at all.  I thought this was especially ironic since she tried killing her son herself a few years back.  She used the needles at the end in the bus and I think all of this represented the fact that she was finally coming to terms with herself which was fitting since it was the end of the movie.



1. How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film? What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice? And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

My view of the mail character did not change significantly throughout the course of Mother. That is, my judgement of her did not change significantly but the film did provide opportunity for more detailed understanding of her character and her motivations as the film progressed. From the beginning of the film you can see that this mother is a bit obsessive, and at the end of the film you can pretty much see that this mother is a bit obsessive. The meat of the story tells us that this mother is obsessive with a criminal twist, and that she herself may be responsible for her son’s cognitive limitations. They do not let us know if his cognition was delayed prior to being poisoned at age five, but if he was not and that did happen as a result of her attempted infanticide/suicide then her obsession with his safety and wellbeing makes more sense. I think that this movie is either a bit misogynistic in it’s constant disrespect for her actions or intentions, or this movie is commenting on cultural and perhaps misogynistic tendencies to disregard women and mothers of her age and social status. Perhaps the film is also commenting on that society’s justice or law enforcement systems by asking us to think about how many things were unfair socially for the victim of the murder, the mother, and the son. I think that the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes her secrets. The tin appears several times referencing her illegal use of them as she is not certified to be a practitioner with those needles in use. They appear again when confronted with her son’s painful memory of being poisoned by his mother and as she confronts her shame about this secret as she wants to use the needles to release those memories. Finally, they are a component in her meeting with the old man she ultimately murders and burns. I am curious about this old man’s picture on the girl’s phone. Was he a John? Did he engage in sex with a teenager? I think that question leaves more questions about her actions that we think were done out of preservation for her son’s life outside of prison. Even if she killed that man only out of preserving that secret (once again the needles are present), was he a nice old man or a pervert? Finally her boy preserves her secret as she did for him by collecting that tin of needles from a crime scene. She is shamed by this in the last scene of the movie before getting on the bus and performing acupuncture on herself. Mother was a pretty weird movie.

2nd 1001 Nights Reading

I believe that the demon directly translates to the type of person everyone viewed King Shahrayar after he became vengeful to every woman he slept with. In The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon, the demon becomes hell-bent on putting to death whoever releases him from the jar emplaced at the bottom of the sea. This type of vengeance which the demon displays to the person who frees him is totally irrational because it is completely detached from the motive of King Solomon to put him in it in the first place. Also, this vengeance is very similar to the type of vengeance King Shahrayar had conducted on a daily basis toward each of his new wives, for they were in no way responsible for his former cheating wife’s behavior.

The fisherman was persistent in stating to the demon, “Forgive me, and God will grant you forgiveness. Destroy me, and God will inflict on you one who will destroy you” (35). This is one message that Shahrazad wanted to firmly cement into King Shahrayar’s conscience. The way the fisherman used his cunning to trap the demon back into the bottle was very similar to the continuous stories which gripped the King’s interest every night and kept Shahrazad alive for one more day. Despite the fisherman’s fears and better judgment, he elects to stick to his logic of forgive and be granted forgiveness in the end rather than pushing the demon back into the sea. For I believe he felt this was better than having to stand guard over the sea for the rest of his days in order to prevent another fisherman from potentially releasing this awful demon. This is very similar to  the rational for Shahrazad wanting to take the King as her husband in the first place – for she ultimately wanted to prevent another women being put to death after a night in the King’s bed. Much to the fisherman’s surprise, the demon did not kill him when he released him a second time. This led to another set of tales that ultimately led to another king being released from a terrible fortune imposed on him by his evil wife, which in turn led to a whole community of Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Magians being released from the sea and delivered back to their former lives.

So ultimately, the stories which begin on The Eighth Night and end on the Twenty-Seventh Night have to deal with morality and salvation. And the overall relevant theme is that no matter what someone does to you, it does not justify the conduct of immoral behavior toward someone else when they bear no responsibility for the other persons transgressions.

Oh, Mother.

 How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film?

I definitely feel like the main character changed through out the film. The mother started out by what seemed to be just a normal mother, at least what my perception is. (My mother is extremely overprotective). She always told him never to hang out with the local town boy because he was so disobedient and she did as much as she could to make sure her and her son stayed a float. She sold medicinal herbs in the Korean market place and did (unlicensed) acupuncture on the side.

When her son, Do-joon was walking home he followed a girl who later called him a “retard”. He was always prone to attack people who belittled him because of his special needs due to his mother instilling his in him. Afterwards, the police found the body of the girl overlooking the entire town and conducted an investigation. Because Do-joon’s lawyer wasn’t accountable and the police were fine with the evidence they did have, they arrested him. Mother, like any other mother (I believe still) was totally unconvinced that her son could do such a thing. I know as a mother, without solid proof, no one is going to arrest my child and tell me he murdered someone and I let that go easily, even if my son had violent outbursts. And you can say what you want, but when a mother looks at her child, it’s hard to look at him or her as anything other than the love of your life.


So, with that being said, after the case was closed she took things into her own hands to find the real murderer. I know a lot of people…think she is still crazy here. And maybe she is. But I think she is just going to the extra mile because her son is all she has. We don’t know the mother’s back story of why she is how she is. We just have to take into account…what Korea was like for women…what she went through before and after having her special needs son. I feel like the movie really left that out. She goes to a junkyard where she finds a man who claims to have seen her son attack the girl. Of course, she still doesn’t want to believe him. But at this point, I start to think…what does this guy have to lose? Why would he lie? He doesn’t get anything from it…so maybe he is telling the truth. Yet, she still does not want to hear it. Then we really get to see…maybe she is crazy, when her son has a memory where she tried to kill both of them with poison when he was five. This is where I start to feel like, “Okay, there is definitely something wrong with her.”

She kills the man and burns down the junkyard, the tin drops from her pocket. We’ll discuss that in a second though. She slowly starts to progress and change into this person that wasn’t present at the beginning of the movie. Do-joon confides in her that he left the body overlooking the city because he wanted the people to see her so someone could give her medical attention. Now she is aware her son actually did it. She has been through a lot and earned her spot on the list of crazy. She is pictured on a bus, giving herself acupuncture to forget everything that has happened. And I guess it must have worked, because she started dancing. But I feel still…empty…like something was never right to start with in this film.

What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice?

I feel like in order to be a good mother, you have to be willing to go to the ends of the earth for your children, as long as they are innocent. And even when they are not, you still should be their backbone while they are serving their punishment. In this case, Mother was just trying to be there for her son. She had previously wronged him times before ( trying to poison him ) and now she is seeking justice for herself, to free him which in turn will get him justice from the legal system, provided he is innocent. Mothers are always trying to take care of their children, when they get sick we say, “If I could take this from you, I would,” when they get in ttrouble at school for talking (maybe the first couple times) we say, “Don’t do it again, ma’am he didn’t mean it”. We always want justice because they are our flesh. But eventually, there has to be a breaking point where a mother can not and should not absorb the punishments for the child because they will never learn. If the dog continues on peeing in the house and nothing ever happens because of it…he will continue to pee in the house. But the Mother , as I said above has to have a story we don’t know and she is hurt…just trying to find her way and be happy.

And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

I think that the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes the passing of the forgetfulness. The mother had lost this and was given back with the words “You should be more careful” or something to that effect. After her son had confided in her, she was hurt. Could you imagine that after you went through hell to prove your son was innocent and you looked in your baby’s face, he said..”I did it”? What kind of emotion would you feel? Wouldn’t you want to just forget that ever happened? Can you imagine the amount of emotional stress Mother has been through? I picture her being ridiculed as a single mother, maybe abused and left by her son’s father all alone. That has to be stressful. My sister is a single parent with two kids but I know raising a special needs child has to be tiring within itself some days. I feel like the tin also represented the Mother’s freedom from all of these things. She has endured so much pain her life and now, the only person she had left … this happened. She needed an escape route, and those needles were it. So she pinned herself…she forgot and she danced.

What would a mother do?

How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film? What does this movie say about its themes of motherhood and justice? What do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

Initially I found the mother to be overbearing to Do-Joon and thought that he acted so innocently because of her coddling and forced dependence. As the story quickly progresses to the murder of Ah-Jung, Do-Joon goes to jail and “Mother” begins to show the extent that she would go to fulfill her need or dependence of the relationship with her son. I thought that this is where her senile side really begins to show and although I could understand being traumatized by losing ones son to a life sentence, she refuses to believe that her son that has violent outbursts could possibly have done anything wrong. She wants to blame anyone she can and it becomes apparent that she is actually trying to save her son more so for herself, than for his own good. When it is revealed that Mother had attempted to kill herself and her son, when he was a child, I could no longer take her as a seriously devoted parent to the betterment of her child’s life. She continues to allow more violence upon others to get information and eventually kills a man who revealed the truth about her son to her, which I believe is a moment where a part of her died. At this time the theme of justice is really revealed as a question. Do people only want justice when is favors them or is the answer they desire? Throughout the movie blame and incarceration are given to those without much real investigation other than here say and tit for tat. No one is ever happy with the outcome of “justice”, which leads one to interpret that justice is never fair nor what people actually want. Motherhood is shown to an extreme, with a tendency to lose one’s mind in defense of their children. In the society portrayed, women received very little respect and were taken advantage of in many disgusting ways. Motherhood would be a very difficult challenge with so little help and no existing marriage or relationship to help fulfill the needs of children.

I believe that the tin would best represented by the word “salvation”. In each circumstance, which these  needles are used or shown, they are to serve as a substitute for monetary payment or an incentive for information or tool to get what Mother needs. It is foreshadowed that the needles would bring her harm, when the lady married to a social worker says it could harm more than herself, but the whole city. This tin or salvation, is eventually what gives her the truth of her sons story, which causes her to murder the man and burn down his home and the release of her son, who was a danger to the town. In the end, the salvation Mother requires is the release from her memory so that she can dance and be free once more of her tragic story, which the acupuncture provides.

The Demon of 1001 nights

The demon in the story seems to represent King Shahrayar. The demon tells the story of how he was harmed and, in his opinion, wronged by King Solomon. Although it is in no way the fisherman’s fault that King Solomon threw the demon into the sea, the demon wishes to kill the fisherman. The demon has become set on punishing the innocent fisherman for the harm that others did to him long ago. This story mirrors that of King Shahrayar. Although the maidens whom he sleeps with every night have done him no wrong, he has decided that they are to be punished for his adulterous wife’s sins.

Numerous times within the intertwining stories Shahrazad incorporates the line “For God’s sake spare me, and God will spare you; destroy me, and God will destroy you’ (46). She does this to tug at the King’s conscience. She is once again educating him and pushing him to take responsibility for his actions.

The story which describes the way in which the young man became stone parallels King Shahrayar’s own experience. A young king, who loves and respects his wife dearly, finds that she has had an affair with a black slave. Rather than blaming the entire city, or killing young women, as King Shahrayar does, the young man goes to the source of his problem and wounds the black slave. Although the young man still gets revenge, he realizes that the masses are not to blame for his grievance.

In The Tale of King Yunan and the Sage of Duban, one of the stories within The Fisherman and the Demon, the Sage repeatedly begs King Yunan to spare him but the King refuses and puts the Sage to death. The King’s rage against the Sage ends in his own destruction. In this tale King Shahrayer is reminded of the phrase Shahrazad often repeats “spare me, and God will spare you; destroy me, and God will destroy you’.

At the end of The Fisherman and the Demon the Demon begs for the fisherman’s mercy. Although the demon has, in fact, done the fisherman wrong, the fisherman choses to show mercy on the demon and set him free. The demon keeps his word and honors the fisherman, sparing his life. Intertwined in this story is a clear message. King Shahrayar has a choice; although he has wronged many, as did the demon in the story, he is still able to repent and stop the killing.


Movie “Mother”

  1. How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film?

At the beginning, Do-joon’s mother seems to be a caring mother, constantly worried about the well being and whereabouts of her special needs’ son, who is sometimes taken advantage of, due to his lack of memory.  At this point, she seemed to be a single mother that works selling medicinal herbs in a Korean town, and takes care of her son the best way she can.  She warned her son to not be hanging out with Jin-tae, a local boy that likes to go around defying authority, mocking and deceiving people.  After the authorities found the death girl, I still thought that she was a good mother trying to save her appeared to be “innocent’ son, and dealing with several inefficient, unskilled, and unprofessional police officers and lawyer.  Later, my point of view started changing, when Do-joon remembered that his mother tried to kill him and herself when he was five years old, by poisoning him, but she was unsuccessful.  I thought she was very immature, inept, and a weak minded person, at that moment in her life when her son was five years old, but perhaps she was too young and acquired more maturity and experience later on in life.    Then, Do-joon’s mother went to the old man’s junkyard collector, where he confessed her that he saw Do-joon attacking that girl, when the girl called him “retard’, and carrying her to the roof.  She killed the old man in denial and burnt his house.  At this point, I thought that she was an emotionally unstable person,  because she murdered someone to protect a guilty son.  I think she knew that she is the one that should have been in jail in the first place, because she taught her son wrongly.  She is the one that told him to attack anyone that insulted him, so indirectly this was all her fault.  Later, after she knew that the police was going to convict another intellectually disabled boy that was innocent, in place of her guilty son, I thought that she was evil and never loved her son.  In my opinion, she was only protecting herself and her feelings, because she knew this was her fault, and so needed to fix the problem to feel better about herself.  He was the only person left in her life, and she needed him.  She could not cope with her own mistakes or assume responsibilities for them.

What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice?

In this situation, motherhood interfered with justice.  This is been happening for a long time.  Some mothers believed that they are helping their offspring by taking care of the circumstances that occurred when they get in trouble, even if that entails deceiving justice.  The truth is that is not real love and it only causes more troubles for their offspring because they never learn from their mistakes, always thinking that someone will be at their rescue and can’t assume responsibilities for their own actions.  I know because I have three children.  This is also bad for the society, because these mothers are filling out our world with people that have no judgement and decision making skills.  Even if you have a special need child, you can still teach them to make right choices.  In my family we have one, and sometimes she can make decisions better than adults.

And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

It symbolizes the mother’s feelings of guilt and her inability to cope with her mistakes in life.  It also symbolizes how she cared more for herself than for her own son, because at the end, she didn’t care if her son remembered anything or the struggle he went through, she rather put the needle in herself to forget everything that happened.  At the end, it only mattered her.  Many mothers use motherhood as an excuse to be selfish and incompetent.

Ch. 15. Protective mother; harsh reality

1. How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film? What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice? And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?

At the start of this film, I thought that the Mother was just an average, protective mom.  Maybe a little more so protective than most, but I wouldn’t blame her given her sons condition.  She feels as if her son would never do anything any harm, not even a water-bug.  Throughout the film though, I glimpsed a blindness to the mom.  Knowing that she tried to kill them both years ago, (selfish) I think she is ignoring the fact that her son has problems, I think that he is a mirror image of her.  While she is in her search for the “real” killer, and finds the old man and hears the truth, she wants to think that it is impossible.  I think her natural instinct on motherhood and justice acted before she could think about what she was about to do, and therefor killed the old man.

I think that the Mother knows her son did it, and that is why she uses the acupuncture needles on herself in the end on the bus.  She wants to forget all her bad memories (trying to kill her and her son years ago, her killing the old man, and the truth of her son).  I think it is ironic because she was always trying to get her son to remember things, and here she is at the end of the movie… forgetting.  I think the needles represent a connection between the mother and son.

Facing Our Demons

PrintIn every story there is a symbol, noticeable or not. These symbols nearly always have a different meaning to each person. For example, take a bird that is not able to fly but does great things in a story after facing some struggles. One person could go to say that it symbolizes that you can do anything if you really set your mind to it. But another person could just analyze what kind of happened in the beginning and say that the bird not being able to fly symbolizes some sort of stolen freedom and that they can never escape from the hardships of life. That is what makes symbolism so great though, it can have so many different meanings just depending on the person. What I found the demon to symbolize in The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon is most likely different from others.

the fishermanRight away in the beginning it gets off to telling about the fisherman and how he is having no luck catching any fish with his net. Each time before he puts the net out again he recites verses which are like prayers hoping that he will receive fish. The fourth time of him casting his net out he pulls in the jar in which the demon becomes unleashed from and ends up releasing the demon. From the events and conversations that come next I feel that the demon really kind of symbolizes the fisherman’s problems that he had been having in his life. By putting the demon back into the jar and having telling him stories that related to the situation he was able to overcome his problems. In the beginning the demon said that he was going to kill the fisherman and honestly that seemed like what the fisherman was heading towards because he wasn’t catching any fish. When the demon came into the story it was like the fisherman was confronting his problems. After all the stories and tales that were told the demon changed his mind and decided that he would actually help the fisherman by finding him colored fish and making him rich. The fisherman confronted his problems and was given a solution to better them. The fisherman was able to get money from the fish he caught and I’m not a hundred percent sure but I would imagine that 400 dirhams would be a lot, because the demon said that he would make the fisherman rich. So by receiving that money his problems, the demon, were then solved.

I think that this story in whole does have many allegories in it. The demon I think is an allegory to human existence. The whole thing kind of reminds me of the phrase that people sometimes say about life: “facing our demons’ or “dealing with the demons in our life’. I think that the fisherman had to deal with his demons in his life to go on living a good and better life. That is exactly we as human beings have to do as well. We need to deal with our demons so we can go on living a good and better life.

Discussion 15

2. What do you believe the demon symbolizes in The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon? What allegories do you read in this story?

I think the demon symbolizes everything the fisherman does not want. Which is failing his family dying. The demon explains to the fisherman that because the fisherman has freed him the demon will reward him with death. It was interesting because the demon never gave of a vibe through discussion that he was innately evil or that he was not joking, but this led to the eventual stand of between the demon and the fisherman with the “long-necked brass jar,” threatening to throw it in the sea. What was so different about this demon is that he spoke very intelligible, yet was described as being a hideous monster, with a head which looked like a tomb and so forth. Thus the demon symbolized not only what he didn’t want, but perhaps even as over excitement. That is to say that the fisherman was content with his daily routines and struggling for food life style and when he ran into the demon he was upset that he ever found him and now has to deal with him.

It was interesting how much was mentioned about “god,” yet at the same time there really was not that much meaning behind the god talk. For example, the fist think the demon says is “O Solomon, prophet of God forgive me, forgive me. Never again will I disobey you or defy your command.” This was strange because the very next thing the demon says is I will kill you for freeing me etc. of course there could be a number of metaphorical meanings behind these two characters purpose such as the king going against innocence.

The whole story had an excessive amount of referencing to god, no fish then “god eats the fish” or during their argument “spare me, and God will spare you, destroy me, and god will destroy you.” This was interesting coming from the demon to the fisherman, which I would assume to be a confusing situation. The demon threatens to kill the fisherman, then uses god as an excuse for the fisherman not to kill him, even though the demon did something bad against god resulting in his imprisonment from which the fisherman saved him. Alas, through all of this the demon eventually took back his threat and claimed it was a joke, only after the fisherman had the power of the demons life in his hands. A confusing story, but so many lesson which can be gained from it. The whole Arabian Nights was one of my favorite stories for sure, because it allows for so much deconstruction and life lessons.