This is a class blog run by Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and her students in the course "Telenovelas, Culture and Society" at the University of Georgia during Spring 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Universal Language

It's so interesting how the telenovela encompasses so many cultures. Today in class, when we were talking about 'India, una historia de amor', I had to take a moment to separate the many cultures that were influential to the clip we viewed. Obviously the Brazilian culture had its influence as this telenovela was originally from Brazil and first broadcast in Portuguese. In addition, the influence of the Spanish culture was evident as the episode we watched was dubbed in Spanish. However, both of these influences are the types that one would expect to see in a telenovela. Then, the writers had the brilliant idea to set the story in India. It seems like such a random place for the backdrop of a Latin American telenovela, however, it seems like this is a creative way to draw people outside of the Portuguese/Spanish speaking population in.

While it's obvious that the telenovela is able to reach people from different backgrounds and cultures, I wonder what is it about the telenovela that makes it relevant to so many different types of people. I think the answer to this question lays in the title of this telenovela....'una historia of love'. No matter where you're from or what language you speak, everyone has an interest in love. Whether it’s the joy experienced from returned love, the heartbreak from unrequited love, or the curiosity from never having experienced either-everyone has feelings towards it (even if they choose not to admit it). For this reason, the telenovela really speaks to people in a universal language--the language of love (not to sound overtly cheesy). As a result, the telenovela has been put in a position where it has the ability to reach and influence people the world over...because, when it comes down it it, what do people care about? Yes, people care about material possessions, but what they really care about is one another. We are wired to search for companionship in others, whether it be the love of a family, a friend, or a lover. The telenovela plays on this fact, and for that reason one does not have to be a Spanish speaker to relate to the storyline. We are all familiar with the concept of love, and as a result the telenovela continues to remain relevant to people from all different cultures.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you mention the geographical and language-surpassing qualities of love.
    It really makes a lot of sense that a Latin American telenovela could result in a few hours of peace in war-ravaged Kosovo. Because we are all human beings, we can emphasize with the feelings displayed throughout the intricate storylines: love, anger, despecho... who has not felt betrayed by a friend at some point or another in his or her life?

    At times telenovelas can even reflect our own lives.

    This is what allows my english-speaking friends to sit and watch Eva Luna with me whilst not being bored out of their minds. Even if specific words and expressions evade them, the feelings and charged atmosphere are communicated in a way unique to the genre.