By Glazier, Wilson,Wagner
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Extra info for The Least You Should Know about English
3). ∂ Fascists deployed the genre, as did the Allies, and each side employed its own version of a politically useful binary opposition: fascism versus democracy in the Allied nations and Germans versus ‘‘non-Germans’’ among Nazis. These binary oppositions provide the grid upon which nationalist melodrama can proceed: the democratic family threatened by fascism’s e√orts to destroy it and the German family threatened by those who would taint its blood. In addition to this simple coding of binaries, nationalist melodrama suits the needs of the nation by inspiring national fervor.
First, let me elaborate the shared social conservatism of the genre, which is put to political uses in its nationalist form. The social conservatism of the outcome of most melodramas (nationalist or not) organizes narrative tensions in that social transgressions indulged in during the course of the ﬁlm are typically punished by its end. In nationalist melodrama, sexual transgression, a staple of the genre more generally, becomes a transgression against the state. In the course of the 1930s, this formula became institutionally solidiﬁed in both Hollywood and Germany through the respective policies of the Production Code Administration and the Ministry of Propaganda.
The marsh has so far been positively portrayed as housing an abundance of wildlife, which is illustrated in otherwise gratuitous intercut shots of birds, a salamander, and a water snake in the course of their conversation. The dead mother, however, lends a darkness to the marsh, just as her ‘‘uncanny longing’’ speaks to Anna’s a≈nity for a potentially destabilizing primordial femininity. The mother will later be further associated with a tainted genetic nature, not only through her tendency toward suicide but through the questionable moral character of her Nazi Nationalist Melodrama 33 sister, the mother of Anna’s no-good seducer.