Moral vocabulary’s in the Simpson episode “Mother Simpson”
The episode begins with the workers of the Springfield cleaning up an area close to a waterfall from thrash. Homer unwilling to work fakes his death by throwing a dummy of him down the waterfall, which caused everybody else to believe that he died. There is no conflict at the beginning of the show until forced by his wife to fix the issue of his apparent death Homer visits his grave. But first he mistook the grave of Walt Whitman as that of his Mother and he insulted “The Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman in his rage. This one scene foreshadows a mayor spoiler in the Belief of his not so deceased mother, who like Walt Whitman could be categorized into the category of Expressive individualism, but more on that later on. He meets his mother near his grave and they reconcile. At home the family gets suspicious about the fact why she left Homer in the first Place so they demand an answer. She was part of a peace-protest against Montgomery Burns, local owner of the power plant, who during the sixties tested biological warfare. Here lies the major Moral class of the episode which I will analyse now.
Burns represent the evil republican side of the American nation. He is a business man at its finest and he tries to profit from any source. Furthermore he is a firm believer in might makes right. His moral standards are on the evil side as he doesn’t care about the health issues of other people and freely tests his inventions on random people. Mona Simpson, Homers mother, on the other hand at first, in a flashback, showcased a responsible attitude until she saw something on the TV which awoke her free spirit. From that moment she became an example of expressive individualism, as she fought against Burns chemical test with protests and later on with an “Antibiotics bomb”. Burn found her when he collided with her when he went to check out what caused the explosion at the facility where he kept his experiments. She was branded a fugitive soon after. Mona forms a close relationship with Homers daughter Lisa. Both of them showcase a strong expressive attitude during the episode showing strong attachments towards individual feelings and intelligence. The moral conflict between the republican tradition and expressive individualism is resolved when Mona was forced to leave so that she does not endanger her family.
The only other moral vocabulary somehow expressed is the utilitarian individualism expressed by Homers father Abe. He did not care about anything other than watching TV all day. When he finally meets his wife after twenty seven years his only question was after telling her what a terrible wife she is, was to ask can they have sex and what’s for supper. Here his worth is show he only cares for his own self-interest and any situation that comes along he tries to change for his own better.
While the moral vocabularies were not as obvious at first glance they were obvious if greater attention was given to the work as whole. The Republican tradition stood from a position of power and was challenged by expressionism in its position of what was right. While the struggle between those two was being waged the showcase of utilitarian belief of self-reliance was introduced in Abe, showing that in the grand picture most of the common people did not care much about the conflict between those two.