Answer to Vivie's 3rd question:
I believe that even though Mickey's Mellerdrammer is in and of itself melodramatic literature, it is mostly meant to hint at certain characteristics of Melodrama--using sarcasm--and the extent to which those certain characteristics can affect the pubic. The most obvious of those characteristics is as Williams puts it that "Melodrama focuses on victim-heroes and recognizing their virtue" (29) and that "Even happy-ending melodramas are heavily invested in displays of bodily suffering as the means to the recognition of virtue." (29) In Mickey's Mellerdrammer uncle Tom is portrayed as a weak old man who is physically mistreated which stimulates the audience towards hatred against the evil character. At the same time the reaction of the audience is shown to be exaggerated and extremely emotionally driven. The response of the audience to this melodramatic play very well shows the impact of melodrama on the public and how easily people's emotions are stimulated which makes them react solely based on their emotions, without actually looking for a logical explanation.
Answer to Laura's 3rd question:
I believe that Mickey's Mellerdrammer is a parody of melodrama rather than a parody of the themes of Uncle Tom's Cabin. It was very easy to notice that the purpose of the cartoon was not to actually dig deep into the story of Uncle Tom's Cabin but to rather use a melodramatic story to portray people's emotional responses to melodrama--in an exaggerated way. It shows how people unquestionably hate the evil character and whoever is associated with him/her--in this case goofy, and how they unquestionably support the good character. They do not show any empathy for the evil character and always see the good character as innocent--even though uncle Tom was dancing and was completely healthy before the act started.
Answer to Yuchen's 1st question:
The first chapter of Playing the Race Card was on the primary thesis of "melodrama is neither archaic nor excessive but a perpetually modernizing form that can neither be clearly opposed to the norms of the "classical" nor to the norms of realism". (12) Based on this statement, melodrama has a very broad definition since it is modernizing--constantly changing, and is neither opposed to realism nor classical writings. Keeping that in mind, we can expect melodrama to evolve as the time goes by and conform to the norms of the modernizing society. At the same time there are many literary works that are not melodramatic and do not follow the melodramatic norms. For example realistic writings of the 19th century made an attempt to portray things truthfully without manipulating people's emotions or dramatizing the situation. Therefore, I believe that even though melodrama has such a wide definition and it is constantly conforming to the changes in society there are many works that are not considered melodramatic and do not follow the central purposes of melodrama.