Monday, February 27, 2012

Freaks vs. Spurs: Interpretation of Characters

    In the short story written by Tod Robbins in 1923, Spurs, we follow the dog-riding circus performer midgit Jacques and his love for normal-sized horse back rider Jeanne Marie.  Upon having his marriage proposal accepted by her, he soon discovers that there is really know love from her and that all she wants is his money.  In the end, he finds a way to seek revenge by killing her ex-lover, Simon.  This story was later adapted into a feature length movie entitled: Freaks.

    In the short story, there is an overall theme of seeking revenge.  The reasoning behind why Jacques must seek revenge is clearly adressed within the story.  For one, there is a strong polarity between Jacques and Simon: Jacques is a dog-rider, pretending to be a brave horse-rider, whereas Simon is the real thing.  This point alone showcases an inevitable and innate jealously and hatred from Jacques to Simon.  So long as Jacques can have what he wants (in this case, Jeanne Marie) then there is no need to pursue this hatred of Simon, correct? Well, soon after the marriage proposal, it becomes evident that Jeanne Marie does not really love Jacques as she begins to make fun of him and take advantage of him at each and every moment.  Because of Jacques want coming into conflict, hatred and revenge towards Simon became an inevitable theme.

    In the film, Freaks, we get more of an odd and appalling atmosphere.  This is created by the addition of new characters who actually possess bodily defects.  The theme of the short film seems to revolve more around defending your kind.  In the short story, there is a sense of disconnect between each individual as they, for instance in the marriage dinner party scene, rant on egotistically about how people come to see only them.  This instills a sense that every character is fending themselves in this world.  In the film, we see the freaks come together as a whole against everyone else.  This is showcased in many scenes.  A great scene that stands out, however, is when all of the freaks crawl beneath the wagons, coming after Simon.

    All in all, the short story and the feature length film present new view points.  In Spurs we follow the story of a midgit seeking vengeance, whereas in the Freaks, we follow an even greater group- we follow freaks, as a whole, and their quest to defend one another in this harsh world where no one can understand them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Smoke: Paul Auster's Use of Coincidence

    Smoke, the film adaptation of the short news article "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story," showcases the great multitude of stories that reside within each and every person and brings forth the question: are these stories true? Whether or not the story is of truth, however, may not completely be of the matter.  What is most important is if you believe in it.
    The author Paul Auster has a deep fondness for coincidence.  This is shown within both the film and the short story.  For instance, in the article, it is highly coincidental that Auggie Wren has a perfect Christmas story for the writer. (However, this can partially be attributed to the fact that Auggie Wren is [possibly] lying, therefore creating the perfect story, rather than relaying it.)  In the short film, Auggie Wren happens to have a picture of the writer's deceased wife.  This serves as a device for us to connect up to and understand the appeal and warmth of Auggie Wren.  Additionally, this is also obviously the authors love for coincidence being played out.
    Aside from the narrative examples of coincidence in Paul Auster's works, the style of both the film and short story showcase coincidence and irony.  The short story is literally the article that the writer character set out to write, thus furthering this process of stories being captured and forever known, regardless of there validity. The film tells the story in "chapters"-- each chapter clearly acknowledging the ark of a specific character's story.  This further emphasizes the feeling that there are many stories to be heard, and many faces to discover (just like in the pictures.)
    In both the short story and the film, the writer has a moment of doubting the truth behind the Christmas story of Auggie Wren.  However, this is quickly replaced with acceptance.  This moment of doubt is a clear representation of Paul Auster's questioning of reality versus fiction.  It seems as though the author implies that we should always accept a story that does no real over all harm, but rather, brings joy.