Dual Nature Of Art Analysis

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A complex physical force of nature, violence is portrayed as more than just a cruel and brute force in both Maggie Nelson’s “Great to Watch,” and Tim O’Brien’s “How to Tell a True War Story.” Art is an expression of the human imagination and as Nelson describes it, violence is a form of art. Some people might even define violence as another form of expression- one of anger. Both authors find that the creators of this violence or art have the ability to shape the way their audience perceives the world. In addition, the reactions of the spectators influence the way media and stories are portrayed. Art is an expression of creation, whereas violence is an expression of destruction. Although people find it wrong to depict violence into a form of…show more content…
When people read a story, they are able to allow their imaginations to flow. People can shape their own level of violence; however, through movies, and other visual forms of violence, audiences see the level of violence an artist or creator wishes to display. Nelson poses a question to describe how audience’s feel when seeing violence and cruelty and their enjoyment of it to a certain extent. She poses the question: how can something so cruel and obscene invoke such pleasure and appeal? This dual nature to violence often serves as a reason people have mixed feelings towards it. One factor that Nelson points out about violence is that it makes it difficult to discern what is real and what is not. She points out that most people tend to have “wily reserves of malice, power-mongering, self-centeredness, fear, sadism, or simple meanness of spirit” (301). By this she means that people often have the desire to inflict pain because sadism is a part of human nature. Tim O’Brien also focuses on reader’s visceral reactions and the beauty of war. He mentions that “It can be argued, for instance, that war is grotesque. But in truth war is also beauty. For all its horror, you can’t help but gape at the awful majesty of combat...It’s not pretty, exactly. It’s astonishing. It fills the eye. It commands you. You hate it, yes, but your eyes do not…[It] has the aesthetic purity of absolute moral indifference- a powerful, implacable beauty- and a true war story will tell the truth about this, through the truth is ugly” (322). In this contradictory statement, O’Brien, similar to Nelson, explains that although war and violence can be all these terrible things, yet, they have a dual nature because there are certain beauties to them. He explains that although the life before, during, and after war can seem like hell, there is often a beauty and accomplishment after it. He explains that because something is not nice, does not mean it

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