The Butterfly Connection

     A butterfly--it is DollyWood's trademark, a symbol of spring, and the latest fashion craze. For years butterflies have been sought after and collected by many for their delicate shape and intriguing beauty, but could there be a connection between the capturer and the captured?

     In Luis Buńuel's 1954 film Los Abismos de Pasion, based on Emily Brontė's 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, Earnesto Alonso's character, Eduardo, collected butterflies. This hobby says a great deal about his inner character. He was a very weak man full of many fears. His greatest fear was losing his beloved Catalina (Irasema Dilian). This constant weakness and insecurity drove him to find someone or something he could dominate and make subservient to him since he realized he could not control Catalina's wild spirit. It is only natural that he turned to butterfly collecting. He was able to boost his own ego because he could capture their "wild spirits" and force them to obey he wishes such as adorn his walls.

     In George Cukor's 1964 film My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion, Rex Harrison's character, Professor Higgins, also collected butterflies. This too was synonymous of his inner character. Higgins was a selfish, egotistical, and insensitive man who was incapable of possessing true feelings for anyone other than himself, but all of this changed when he met Eliza (Audrey Hepburn). Just as a caterpillar is an unattractive, unappealing creature before its transformation, so was Higgins. As he labored to transform Eliza into a charming, educated young lady, so her character rubbed off on him and transformed him into a human capable of possessing human feelings.

     Both Eduardo and Higgins were two collectors whose collections mirrored their own character. In some ways their characters were similar but they were different in that Eduardo's collections were for a self-gratifying purpose and Higgins' collections served as a reminder of his self-transformation from a "caterpillar" into a "butterfly."

Christy Stephens

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