- For Teachers
Here it is:
Marvelous and mundane are two terms that clash and contrast with one another completely. Synonyms are a good way to define words, so that's the route I'm going to take. Marvelous means superb, excellent, or great; it means to cause wonder, admiration, or astonishment; it also means improbable or incredible. Mundane, conversely, means of or pertaining to this world in contrast with heaven, worldly would be a good word to consolidate that. It means common, ordinary, banal, or unimaginative; also to be used in pertaining to the world, universe, or earth.
In the episode of The X-Files "The Post-Modern Prometheus" marvelous and mundane is a major theme. The very creation of the "monster" is a marvelous thing, because the creation of life is wonderful and astonishing; creating life is about as far from wordily as you can get, being a pursuit associated with God. The music in the episode can be described as marvelous; it is perfect for the atmosphere of the show. It has a childlike tune and a kind of mysterious essence to it. The ending of the episode is excellent. The ending fits nearly every definition of the word; it's great, it causes admiration for Mulder and Scully, and it's also quite improbable, as most endings in life don't have fairy tale endings. The show, however, also has mundane aspects. The reaction to the monsters appearance, for instance; they react as you would commonly expect people to, judging him on his appearance alone. People are quick to fear and suspect things that are different from them, and the show models this flawlessly. The monsters appearance in itself is unimaginative. It is the stereotype of monster movies to have the "monster" be incredibly disfigured and grotesque to look at.
In the concert entitled The Last Waltz, the last concert of The Band, this theme is just as prevalent. The people that came to show their respect to The Band was astonishing. When people like Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, and Eric Clapton show up you know that the quality of The Band's music must have been incredible. What causes a great deal of wonder, though, is that the concert was never advertised and yet a great deal of people, around 20,000, were in attendance. Something improbable but obviously true is that they, the members of the band, are counted among the most influential people of their instruments, but they are not well known among the general populace. What tends toward the common is their origin story, whereby they played in bars and were so poor they had to steal food. This seems to be how a lot of bands tend to start. Thinking on it, there isn't much mundane about The last Waltz.
The Lottery was a great story with an odd twist, but it also contained within it the mundane and marvelous elements. The whole description of the town and the townsfolk was ordinary of any small town. The author described a scene, for instance, where the men and women were speaking of thing common to each gender, women of gossip, and men of the seasons and taxes. Though the end of the story was great, I didn't see it coming. I'm still curious as to the reason behind this lottery, I sure wouldn't want to play.
A Clean, Well-Lighted is interesting, though I wonder what its purpose is, or if it even has one. The part of the conversation between the two waiters where one of them asserts that the man could have had no problems because he had a great deal of money is such a worldly way in which to view things. What I thought was wonderful, though, was Hemingway's style of writing. I particularly liked the way he would, as they note at the bottom of the text, have the character pause, then speak again. I also thought how he had the charcters speaking lines set up was very different from other writers, being very natural.
A Good Man is Hard to Find seemed a plain story until nearly the end. Then end was surprising to say the least. The grandmother, oh man, how unimaginative her character was. She was the epidemy a grandmother kind, spoke of the old days, religous, just any and every possible stereotype associated with grandmothers. The kids were loud and rowdy, another stereotype. The uselessness of the robbers killing the family astonished me. There was no sense, no reason to do it.
Though it is true that both marvelous and mundane are prevalent themes through many stories, it is also true that the mundane outnumber the marvelous by a far stretch. This paper reflects that. Life has the same marvelous and mundane theme throughout it, as well, and too, mundane is everyday and marvelous ones are few and far in between. It seems reasonable then, as writing is about life, that the balance in the two opposites would be the same.