Laughter Out Of Place: Introduction & Chapters 1-5

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Laughter Out Of Place: Introduction & Chapters 1-5 von Mind Map: Laughter Out Of Place: Introduction & Chapters 1-5

1. The Purpose Behind The Laughter

1.1. The Structure of Power/Power Relations

1.1.1. In shantytowns, “residents feel largely divorced from ‘outside’ forces, except as a generalized target of them" (10).

1.1.2. The upper classes “weapon” are in the form of economic/political control

1.1.3. The less fortunate use humor as a form of power (also called “weapon of the weak”)

1.1.4. Black Humor: used in the Brazilian shantytowns was a discourse created by the poor and used against the wealthier classes

1.2. Patriarchal Structures Existing In Society

1.2.1. The different hierarchies and oppressive forces in their society makes it difficult for them to be taken seriously in a political sense.

1.2.2. Goldstein on the women in Brazil: “They do not even have access to these collective political organizations. Their only weapons of resistance are their fierce wits and sharp tongues” (10).

1.2.3. Men cross the sexual boundaries, and there is a sense of ambiguity in regards to their outer appearance (color of skin, facial structure, etc.)

1.2.4. Everyone, especially women, would look to humor as a way to escape the pain and human suffering

2. Gloria Adjusting To A New Sense Of Humor

2.1. The Death Of Zeca

2.1.1. After Zeca died a slow and painful death (doctors did nothing at all to help), Gloria expected to see a heart-broken mother, but instead saw one full of humor

2.1.2. According to Gloria, Zeca passed away with an erection and as the story was told, the room was filled with laughter: "This laughter was mad and absurd, similar to the conditions under which they lived" (39).

2.2. Celina's (Gloria's Sister) Death

2.2.1. Her husband, Ciciero, misinterpreted the news of his wife and newborn child's death (believed that only the baby had died)

2.2.2. He cracked the joke, "One less to eat my angu [corn-meal mush]" (39); a statement that made everyone burst into laughter

2.2.3. Although she did not find the jokes humorous, Gloria began to realize that these were methods being used by many to keep from crying: "I learned, at least partially, to get the joke" (40)

2.3. Gloria's Methods Of Punishment

2.3.1. Gloria once made one of her children eat his own feces, because she believed that it was beyond "normal" for him to defecate in his bed.

2.3.2. Tiago had to walk around the neighborhood, sucking on a urine-stained bedsheet

2.3.3. When confronted about her disciplinary methods, she explained that she wants her kids to know that "they were not animals and that to survive they would have to learn to behave in human and adult ways" (167). She purposely kept them close and performed these "humorous" disciplinary acts to teach them and keep them safely removed from the trouble on the streets

3. A Few Facts About Brazil's History

3.1. Brazil, at one point in time, had the largest slave economy in the world (In 1538: over 3.5 million slaves were imported).

3.2. 1830-1870: Brazilian elite was divided into basic principles in which Brazil was to be governed

3.2.1. Absolutists: in favor of united empire of Brazil & Portugal; favored the return of Pedro II

3.2.2. Moderate Liberals: supported British monarchy; believed that Brazil should remain independent of Portugal

3.2.3. Exaltados: favored a republic and a greater provincial autonomy; also promoted independence

3.3. "In 1969, over a dozen guerrilla groups were created; the members were young men from elite classes

3.3.1. They would use torture tactics on criminals and even those of the middle and upper class; "Their confrontation with these forces put them in contact with what ordinary Brazilians of the lower classes had been subjected to throughout their history" (55).

4. The Economy/ Earning A Living Wage

4.1. Outer appearance is the determining factor in getting a job

4.1.1. "Gloria's daughters found it extremely difficult to secure decent working-class jobs with adequate pay because of their observable racial and class characteristics, a combination that worked against them" (60)

4.2. Afro-Brazilian women took the lowest paying jobs because it was all that they were given

4.3. Requirement: "boa aparencia" = "good appearance"

4.4. The middle and upper class often have domestic workers instead of doing the work themselves (they do not know how to)

4.4.1. "Yet this dependence on somebody else--this very helplessness--has become a positive form of status and prestige for these classes" (68)

4.4.2. The middle class was not to do manual labor, but it was also said that they are responsible for the economic movement of the country.

5. Race, Class, And Sexuality In Brazil

5.1. Brazil and the United States differ in terms of race & class because: North Americans are more comfortable talking about race, whereas Brazilians tend to avoid the topic of race or affirmative action (never had a civil rights movement)

5.2. Elements that appear African or too closely related to slavery is seen as ugly (facial features, dark skin color, etc.)

5.2.1. "Despite the economic legacy of slavery, poverty in Brazil is conceptualized as a class problem rather than a race problem" (105)

5.3. Lighter skinned or those with "white" characteristics have a greater chance at leaving shantytowns and being offered good job opportunities

5.3.1. Women without these traits believe that their way out is to go through with their fantasy: seducing a coroa, who are old, rich white men (could also be a black person)

5.4. As Gloria researched the terms "Brazil" and "mulata," her discovery was that mulatas are solely viewed as sexual objects on pornographic websites

5.4.1. "This very contemporary Internet gaze clearly echoes the historical that began at the slave auction block and continued forward in postabolition representations of black women" (114).

6. Life Out On The Streets

6.1. The increasing number of "street children" is a problem occurring in Brazil

6.1.1. These children are often targeted by gangs to perform the dirty work of drug dealing (children usually receive lesser sentences)

6.2. Middle and Upper class citizens have different strategies on how to handle this issue

6.2.1. STRATEGY #1:

6.3. Researcher Da Matta notes that there is a difference between the streets and the home

6.3.1. "The home is the female domain; it is identified with a hierarchical and personalistic moral world, whereas the street is both more egalitarian and more individualistic" (149).