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Journal of English Philology

Ed. by Kornexl, Lucia / Lenker, Ursula / Middeke, Martin / Rippl, Gabriele / Zapf, Hubert

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.17

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.148
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.672

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Volume 132, Issue 2


Melodrama, Emotion, and Environmental Advocacy: A Cognitive Approach to Erin Brockovich

Alexa Weik von Mossner
Published Online: 2014-07-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2014-0031


The essay explores the emotional and political valence of melodramatic storytelling in Steven Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich. It uses the analytical tools of cognitive film theory to explore the ways in which Erin Brockovich employs affective appeals to engage viewers in its melodramatic representation of a historical case of environmental injustice. Not only are viewers encouraged to empathically share the characters’ feelings of pain, fear, and anxiety about economic and environmental risks and hazards, they are also invited to get sympathetically invested in the protagonist’s struggle to reduce her own suffering and that of others she has learned to care for. As a melodramatic narrative that also provides a good amount of comic relief, Erin Brockovich promotes both alignment and allegiance with its morally righteous heroine, thereby encouraging viewers to share her activist stance in cases of environmental injustice that affect the suffering bodies of others.

About the article

Published Online: 2014-07-17

Published in Print: 2014-07-01

Citation Information: Anglia, Volume 132, Issue 2, Pages 292–309, ISSN (Online) 1865-8938, ISSN (Print) 0340-5222, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2014-0031.

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© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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