The Godfather: The Novel — Transcendentalism Runs in the Family

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The Godfather
is considered a classic in both film and literature.  But the novel by Mario Puzo was made before the films, so in this post I would like to specifically single out the book and tie it into Transcendentalism.  Do I dare?

Yes.  I do, because the family values of the novel heavily relate to Transcendental ideals.

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One of the best stories about the Mob ever constructed, the novel deals with the Corleone crime family, headed by an aging Vito Corleone, and his three sons.  The oldest is Santino “Sonny” Corleone; the middle child is Frederico “Fredo” Corleone; and the youngest is Michael Corleone.  When the old man is ambushed by a rival family led by Virgil Sollozzo, the sons must stand up to the Five Families before their family becomes obsolete in the crime business.  This is an example of Transcendentalism because society’s corruption is represented by the Five Families and Sollozzo.  Their corruption causes them to lose their individuality as a family; therefore making the family start to fall apart after the old man’s injuries cause him to step down.

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Al Pacino as Michael, Marlon Brando as Don Vito, James Caan as Sonny, and John Cazale as Fredo in The Godfather

Later on in the novel, (which takes place in the film The Godfather, Part II), Michael has trumped over the Five Families, assassinating Sollozzo and Barzini of the Tattaglia family.  Sonny has been killed, and Fredo consults with the family consigliere, Tom Hagen.  Michael’s biggest threat that he faces now as the new Don is that of Hyman Roth and Johnny Ola.  A hit was put out on Michael, which is said to be ordered by Frank Pentangeli, by later on is revealed that Roth initiated the attack on Michael’s home.  Michael now knows that Roth plans to kill him, but then he finds out that Fredo had worked with Johnny Ola, making it evident that Fredo was working with the enemy.  This displays Transcendentalism because Fredo had been corrupted by society, therefore compromising the integrity and individuality of the Corleone family.

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John Cazale as Fredo and Al Pacino as Don Michael in The Godfather, Part II

The Transcendental Backbones of POP Art

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The ’60’s were an influential decade regarding many things, but art from back then is still used today.  Who would’ve thought that pop art could tie into Transcendentalism?  But, of course, it does.

Pop art was pioneered by artists such as Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton, and it conveyed subject matters which related to the paradoxical imagery of American pop culture.  This ties into Transcendentalism because pop art was a different kind of art.  It completely disregarded conformity, and showed a new side of the arts.  People that created pop art showed off their individuality, and threw a society of conformity and corruption out the window, making way for their new innovations in the art industry.

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All in all, the pop art movement struck down the walls of conformity, and made sure that people’s individuality would not be tainted by society’s corruption.

The Pork and Beans: Transcendentalist Influences of Weezer

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Weezer has been a great influence on the world of pop-punk music along with the likes of Blink-182 and Green Day, but that’s not the only thing that they have influenced.

In their popular song “Pork and Beans,” the lyrics speak of not conforming to standards of society, and doing whatever their individuality drives them to do.

The chorus line reads:

I’mma do the things that I wanna do,

I ain’t got a thing to prove to you,

I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans,

Excuse my manners if I make a scene,

I ain’t gonna where the clothes that you like,

I’m fine and dandy with the me inside,

One look in the mirror and I’m tickled pink,

I don’t give a hoot about what you think

This obviously displays the non-conformity component of Transcendentalism, and speaks for people that fight for their individuality, and try their hardest to resist society’s corruption.

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