Department of English, University of Louisville
Phone: (502)852-6770 or (502)852-6801. Fax: (502)852-4182.
I do think the Keitel character is an improvement to some degree, partly
because it seems to me that there's a significant class difference that cuts
across gender difference in the film, and that makes the distribution of power
between keitel and Hunter less grossly inequitable than that between Hunter &
O'Neill, partly because there's a point at which Hunter's character, having
taken much more control of her desire and her body than she had when she
arrived, chooses Keitel's character. Also, Keitel does eventually give her the
piano which, though the circumstances are problematic, does seem better than
cutting off her finger. And I think that in valuing her music, the Keitel
character does in some sense recognize her as a subject. I don't mean in this
to ignore or dismiss his earlier extortion.
I too have problems with the ending as it is, partly because her speech
seems such a surrender for her, such a recuperation for the audience, and
partly because their home at the end is so completely assimilated to
"civilized" domesticity. I think it would at leats be stronger if she
continued her silence. But I do find myself preferring her continuing to live,
rather than her drowning like Edna Pontellier in THE AWAKENING.
bitnet tbbyer01@ulkyvm; internet [log in to unmask]
Thomas B. Byers
Department of English/University of Louisville
Louisville KY 40292