Friday, October 8, 2010

Question of the Week (10/8/10)

"In our image-conscious society, where extreme makeovers of everything from faces to houses get huge television ratings, we have lost the values of honor, courage and love. Cyrano reminds us… what true values are." —Barbara Van Holt

Comment on the truthfulness of this quote. In what ways is our society "image-conscious" and how does Rostand comment on this in the first act of Cyrano? Post and respond to a classmate's response by the end of the school day on Tuesday. Enjoy your long weekend.

22 comments:

Haiti quilter said...

In our society all the products being sold are changed to get as many people to buy them as possible. Things and people are almost given super human qualities. People think that if they use the product they will become instantly more happy because the people being shown in the add were happy. I think that it is true that in our society with all the extreme makeovers we have lost a lot of values and we have lost the true meaning of what it is to be beautiful. Rostand comments in act one on the fact that just because Cyrano has a big nose doesn't make him a fool. He is very valiant and brave which some people don't realize because they cant look past his imagine.

Carl Tischbein said...

This quote is extremely true. I think that if our society was not image-conscious, Rostand would not have even included the comment about Cyrano's nose: "Ragueneau: Truly, I should not look to find his portrait...And to complete This Punchinello figure - such a nose!-My lords, there is no such nose as that nose-You cannot look upon it without crying: 'Oh, no, Impossible! Exaggerated!' Then you smile, and say: 'Of course-I might have known; Presently he will take it off.' But that Monsieur de Bergerac will never do." This quote, found on page 15, shows that no one can get over his big nose and everyone bases their opinions of him on his nose. Clearly, this society is just as image conscious as we are today. Many times, we judge people on their looks without even knowing anything about what kind of a person they are inside. I think a relevant, modern example is cosmetic surgery. Many people feel pressure to have their looks changed in order to be accepted, which unfortunately is true in many cases. This mentality is wrong, but is probably not going to change anytime soon. I think that based on the quote above, Cyrano will continue to show us like in act one that we need to base our judgements on things other than outer appearances, and possibly teach us a lesson that is still relevant today. I agree with Sophie in that people need to look past physical qualities and realize people's true characteristics.

anthony said...

I agree with Carl that this quote is very true the fact that Cyrano's nose has to be mentioned in the description of him shows this. In fact, the man's description of Cyrano sort of leads up to how big his nose is as if that's the main part and everything else about him is just secondary to his huge nose. Our society is very image consious and people often spend large amounts of time worrying about how they look and how people will see them. Rostand comments on this by giving the character such a large unusual feature that he cannot hide it and therefore he gets very offended if anyone looks at his nose and brings it up. An example of this is when he gets in an argument with someone for looking at his nose and winds up fighting him. In todays society, someone would be able to have their nose shortened with some sort of surgery, but obviously this was not an option in this time period. Cyrano has no way of hiding his nose but as a result he is very outward with his personality and almost forces people to know who he is as a person instead of just judging him by his nose.

sam merrens said...

This quote has parts that are true, but not all of it reflects what Cyrano truly shows us. The beginning is true when Van Holt talks about how our society is so image conscious and how we have lost touch with honor, courage, and love. But the end is a little ambivalent, Cyrano certainly shows us that we must ignore such unrealistic standards for beauty, but at the same time he is extremely self conscious about his nose. He pretends not to care at all, but when he speaks personally to his friends he reveals that he won’t speak to his love, because he is afraid that she will laugh at his nose. The quote completely missed the fact that he is self conscious, and uncomfortable with his own sense of beauty and masculinity. I agree with Carl that people will probably never change their ways, when they always feel that they need to look better.

Yes.

David Desaulniers said...

This quote has been rewritten by people time after time after time. It says that people should look past just looks to inner beauty. How people should be known before judged, because you can't judge a book by it's cover. I agree with Sam when he says that the first part about the quote is true, but Cyrano can be somewhat of a hypocrite. He says that he doesn't care but if you say one thing about his nose or hat, he will drop you. So while this quote encourages people to not judge by the looks of peoples view in todays society, it still happens. And it's just a fact of life.

Meryl said...

I agree with David that Cyrano can also be very judging. If someone says one bad thing about him, he will fight them in anyway he can. I do think that this quote is truthful and we have lost a lot of honor and our values, but there are some things that Cyrano does that are not showing us what our honors should be. If he really didn't care about his nose, he would get outraged when someone commented on it. If Cyrano is trying to show us true values, he should show us that it doesn't matter what you look like. If you love someone, go for it will all you have and don't let your apearances get in the way. I think Cyrano could do this a little better.

Parker Gardner said...

Our society is image-conscious in many ways. Almost every product we see is sold with a societal message or status quo behind the advertisement. Whether it’s an attractive woman putting on makeup, a happy, successful family buying a brand of car, or a cool sports star using a certain razor blade, the messages of beauty, success, happiness, and fame are ever-present. We as a society have placed enormous importance on these aspects of idealism, driving the to the forefront of everyone’s judgment and perception of their world. The playwright Rostand focuses on the aspects of beauty and success in the first act of his play, Cyrano de Bergerac. The protagonist of the play, Cyrano, is in love with a woman named Roxanne, however he does not feel that he can be successful in pursuing her because of the unattractiveness of his nose. He feels that as he does not fit with the ever-present theme of beauty in society, Roxanne will never love him, nor will he be successful in forming a relationship with her. I agree with Haiti that the quote is right in saying courage and honor have been lost in our society. Cyrano shows that these values are not useless our gone from everybody, but society has a hard time recognizing them as Cyrano’s image and his inability to fit in with the messages of society are to great to overlook.

erbear508 said...

I think that our society is image-conscious because we rely on what we look like to define ourselves and eachother. As we discussed in class, judging people by looks is an easy way to classify people instead of getting to know their personality. Barabra Van Holt is pointing out that our society makes people classify those who look extremely beautiful or perfect are the most important. Yet Cyrano is arguing that he is not perfect looking at all, but his whit makes him more important than the man who was admittedly more normal looking, but much dumber. I disagree with Meryl that Cyrano is judging people by fighting with them when they insult him. He is not judging them, but proving to them that his nose is not everything, his humor is.

Parker said...

The quote is very true when describing the society we live in as an image conscious society. It seems as though everything around us is selling or proposing an image that can not be physically achieved. No one, not even the models we see in magazine adds or on billboards in the cities can look as perfect as they do in the adds. These images make us want to be perfect to strive to look like the model, and the add tells us that the only way to achieve this look is to buy the product. However I disagree with Barbara Van Holt when she says "we have lost the values of honor, courage and love." I don't think this is true. People are still loving each other and the world, Men and women are still getting married, and people are continuing to fight what they believe in, which shows a love for their society when they are trying to make a change in government, international affair, and the enviroment. I disagree when Van Holt says that we have lost our values. Yes we may be a little distracted by making ourselves look good, but we haven't completely lost our values. I agree when Barbara Van Holt says "cyrano reminds us… what true values are." He does remind us that image isn't everything. His nose is like pinocchio's, but he uses his amazing way with words to make up for it. He is very witty, and encourages people to judge him his personality and not by his physical features. I agree with Erin and her response

Kate Kerin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Kerin said...

I partially agree with Barbara Van Holt’s quote. We do live in an image-conscious society where we have a tendency of beautifying people and things, but we have not completely lost honor, courage, and love. We still hold onto these values, but our society does put too much emphasis on beauty. I also agree with what others have said, regarding Cyrano and his nose. Cyrano is extremely self-conscious about his nose and he does not even consider himself good enough for the girl he loves. He pretends that he does not care about his nose by using his wit, but it is just an act. The quote gives you the impression that he does not care about looks at all and is misleading.

Monica said...

I think that the way Rostand introduced Cyrano was brilliant; we first hear of Cyrano through others and foster their perceptions in our minds as the person he is, without having him actually come forth yet. We hear about how he won't let Montfleury, a well-liked gentleman, be on stage, how he is a worthy friend from Le Bret, and we hear especially about his large nose. This indicates that his nose is a physical feature that is so memorable that his character is summerized with a note on its size.
As for the quote, I completely agree with Parker. I think that although physical appearance is important to our society, it does not take away the importance of values. I also think that the way you present yourself is important. People dress and behave the way they want to be perceived and that can say something about who they are. You wouldn't go to a job interview in your pjs and you wouldn't vote for a presidential candidate who dressed like a slob. It is important to remember though that physical appearance is only a component and that if a person is to be judged, they should be judged as a whole - including wit, courage, heart, and character. Through this perspective Cyrano is found to be a much better person than if simply summed up by the size of his nose.

Daniel said...

I do agree with Barabra Van Holt when she says that we live in a image-concious society. When I went to Boston a couple of weeks ago I saw giant boards with advertisments of how people should look these days. I agree with what haiti said that people see these other people in advertisments and they see them happy so they by the product so they could become happy. I don't on the other hand think that we have lost our honor, courage or love. We still hold these vaules. I do belive that Cyrano is very self concious about his nose. In one part he talks how he is afraid Roxane will laugh at him so he is sacred of his own love. Overall Cyrano is a good person and I don't think that he should be paying much attention to his nose but being himself.

David W. said...

I absolutely agree with this quote, and i agree with Parker about how advertisements throw in images of happy consumers or beautiful people using their product. An example of this arose a couple of days ago when I was watching a youtube video. An advertisement came on for burger king, and about half way through it flashed to a screen of a beautiful model sipping an extra large soda or something. There were special lights and wind machines and clearly hours of work on after-effects used to make the model seem almost too beautiful to be real. I think this is relevant to the question because it shows how much weight is placed on personal beauty in our society. Like a lot of people who already responded, I do not agree with the last part of the quote about values being gone in our society. I think that many important values are still important, but beauty and self-image is now just as important as these values. Cyrano has many remarkable traits like honor, bravery, and love, but he is judged equally (and probably more) by his appearance.

Emily said...

I completely agree with Van Holt when she says we live in a image conscious society. We are always told to look beyond the outside to inner beauty, but people rarely do. I agree with Kate that Cyrano is extremely self conscious about his nose. If anyone dares make a comment he will become furious. He puts on a guise that he doesn't care what others think about his nose, but in truth he really does. He doesn't think he's good enough for the girl he loves. Cyrano shows us how society should be on the outside, but pretending that he doesn't care if others judge him, but on the inside he is very self conscious.

Eleanor S. said...

I agree with what others have said about the second half of the quote. Not being classically beautiful does not in of itself make you courageous and loving. In fact, Cyrano's attitude towards his nose sometimes gets in the way of displaying those values. Even though he pretends that he doesn't care about physical appearance, the reader can tell that he is actually very self conscious because he refuses to approach the girl he loves for fear that she might reject him because of the size of his nose. I agree with Meryl's comment that if Cyrano really exemplified the principles that Barbara Van Holt believes he does, he would profess his love to his cousin.

Hudson Schuchman said...

I agree with this quote because in our society people search for sources of happiness and self improvement. Although characteristics such as honor, courage, and love are the most valuable, they are also less easy to portray in our media culture. It's simple for a magazine to advertise a pretty face as a technique to make them money. It's much harder to display values of honor and courage in the same way, quickly, and in a way that generates profit. The media industry is an industry that is run by money. Marketing techniques hitting on the soft spot of beauty for people generate more money than anything else. Cyrano is used as an example of how courage, honor, and love are worth more than any shallow outer image, but those characteristics are often undervalued.

Oren said...

I think that the quote is extremely relevant and I think that our society is so image conscious, that it effects people in a bad way. People are living in our society and they are spending huge amounts of money to make their image, or their appearance look acceptable. In Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano scoffs at the French aristocrats who think that they are better than him because of a buckle or a plume. He gives a speech in the fist act about how he wears his beauty in his soul and on his tongue. Because our society has become so appearance conscious, I agree with the quote in thinking that our society has lost something by not holding up the three mentioned values: honor, courage, and love. We are too focused about the aesthetics of everything and should be more focused on their function and their nature. For example, when I bought a pair of headphones, the aesthetic was the thing the company that made them invested in the most, even though the sound quality is why they are bought. I also agree with Hudson, in saying that the values that should be more important in our society are really hard to portray in advertising. Honor, is perhaps the most elusive of them all, because of how abstract it can be in a society.

Charlie said...

I agree that the quote by Barbara Van Holt is true. However I think that this is just the way society is changing. Some people have different opinions on what is interesting. I personally do not like those shows on TV, but I'm sure that a lot of people do, and that is just the way that society is evolving. But with everyone trying to be successful from a business standpoint, a lot of bad messages are being sent, which is evident when you watch TV, or read a magazine, etc. I agree with Hudson when he said that it is much easier for companies to advertise with a pretty face than to advertise values. I think that what is on the inside is obviously more important, and I'm sure some people making these advertisements understand that too, however, they know that to keep up with the competition, they too need to appeal the best way to people.

Marlou Taenzer said...

I agree with the first part of the quote from Barbara Van Holt.
In today's society we pay far too much attention to the appearance of things. Why people are even remotely interested in television shows that focus primarily on the appearance of something if it's a house, kitchen appliance, or model baffles me. Our society has become far too image conscious. This is apparent in our everyday life. Everywhere we look we see images of girls that are incredibly skinny. In advertisements, in television shows, in magazines, and all over the internet. The effects of it are terrible. 10 million American women suffer from eating disorders (http://www.mirasol.net/eating-disorders/information/eating-disorder-statistics.php). If the media did not constantly advertise these incredibly skinny women I don't think the number of women suffering from eating disorders would be that high.
I also agree with Charlie that the people making these advertisements are purposefully picking unrealistically attractive people to model in their advertisements because it is easier to advertise attractiveness than it is to advertise values. Courage, love, and other values are harder to depict in an advertisement.
Some might say that this is just what society has come to, and we have to deal with it. However society is what it is because we made it that way. Society is what we make it to be. Why we put so much value into the external appearance of things I don't understand. Looks are constantly changing nothing and no one looks the same forever. We should try and make more of an effort to focus less on the external.
I do not think that we have lost the values of morals like courage and love. Perhaps they are harder to find beneath this obsession over appearance, however they are still there. That is what we should be focusing on.
I disagree with the second part of the quote. So far I don't think Cyrano reminds us what true values are at all. Cyrano is very self conscious about his large nose. He thinks he has no chance with Roxanne because of his large nose. And whenever his nose comes up it is evident by his reactions that it is a very touchy subject with him. This does not remind me of what true values are. Instead he only seems to emphasize and perfectly captivate the obsession over appearance that today's society still suffers under.

Alli said...

I agree with Marlou because today we pretty much base people on stereotypes. Today, people are still self-conscious about what they look like and what they are wearing since stereotypes have made a huge impact on our society. I agree with this quote to a certain extent because we really have lost what values are important to us and now judge others by what they look like instead of their personality. Cyrano does not show what true values are entirely because looks down upon himself because he compares himself to others, like Christian because he is more attractive than him.

Alli said...

I agree with Meryl and Anthony. The fact that these lower class people are willing to drink from a street shows how desperate they are for food, drink, and most importantly change. The lower class is in a time desperation while the upper class is just being completely ignorant and living their lives looking down upon them as if they are a bug just because of their status. In Cyrano, he is judged by his nose and how big it is but he cannot control that like the fact the queen and king of France are starving many innocent people. They do not realize how happy they are when they get something. The lower class knows the Revolution is imminent but the upper class does not want to believe it. They are becoming angrier and sinking even lower into desperation. There's a high tension forming and one day someone will cross the line and rebel.