Effects of Culture and Climate

         As stated in the prompt, each original literary work reflects its own historical climate, as does its film adaptation. Two of the best examples of such reflection are the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan and based on Tennessee Williams'1947 play, and the 1961 film The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton and based on Henry James' 1898 novella, The Turn of the Screw.

         Both the film and play versions of A Streetcar Named Desire are set in New Orleans. These works are so reflective of both culture and climate that I can almost feel the muggy heat in the hot New Orleans weather. Such extreme weather does something to people; in fact, psychological studies have shown that people behave more aggressively in hot weather. Stanley (Marlon Brando is the epitome of aggression. Perhaps he would have behaved differently in a cooler climate (or if the Kowalski family had air conditioning).

         Stanley speaks of the Napoleonic Code which entitles him to ownership of the belongings of his wife, Stella (Kim Hunter). Since New Orleans was founded by the French, the implication of this code is definitely cultural.

         In both The Turn of the Screw and The Innocents, the governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), is isolated and left in charge of Miles (Martin Stephens) and Flora (Pamela Franklin), the children of someone else. This is most definitely a reflection of culture.

         All of these works are excellent at depicting the historical and cultural aspects of their respective eras, and in some ways, they provide a great understanding of a life most would otherwise know nothing about.

Kasey Wilson

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