The Principles of Love and Marriage

         All throughout this semester, the class has read numerous novels and plays and watched the movie counterparts, all depicting good and bad characteristics and examples from which the class can learn. Effective examples are George Bernard Shaw's 1913 Pygmalion and the two movie versions, Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard's 1938 movie, Pygmalion, and George Cukor's 1964 My Fair Lady, based on Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe's 1956 musical play;  Another good example is Tennessee Williams' 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, filmed in 1951 by Elia Kazan. A third fine example is Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, filmed twice in 1973 by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland, respectively.

         One example that could be learned is just because one follows someone around and buy her flowers does not mean one will get her; sometimes the hard-hearted man who bosses her around and ignores her will win the battle for her, as in Pygmalion and My Fair Lady. The most important principles that could have been learned from these literary pieces are about love and marriage. As in the opening paragraph, it was explained that the "nice guy" does not always win, as in the case of Eliza Doolittle's (Wendy Hiller/Audrey Hepburn) stalker, Freddy (David Tree/Jeremy Brett). Poor Freddy is so in love with Eliza that he is too busy drooling to see that she lacks that interest in him. Some wonder if Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard/Rex Harrison) should be Eliza's father figure or her lover; in either case, she has grown too dependent upon him while living with him to be with anyone else, especially Freddy. She has grown accustomed to waiting on Higgins and taking verbal abuse about her looks and her talk. Love's principle in this case is, no matter how handsome and caring a man, it is not certain he will get the woman.

         In A Streetcar Named Desire, Stanley (Marlon Brando) and Stella (Kim Hunter) are a happily married couple until her psychotic sister, Blanche (Vivien Leigh) arrives for a long-term visit. Stella is a pregnant housewife, and Stanley is a drunken card player. Mix those two with a deranged hormonal woman and get a weird family reunion in the Big Easy. Blanche, the sister, is a woman who sees all men as possible targets; even the forbidden fruit of Stanley is desired by her. Stanley dodges and ignores the attraction; but, after he discovers her promiscuous past, he decides to take advantage of her while Stella is in the hospital for labor pains. The marriage principle learned from this play is never, ever mess with fire, especially if it is family fire.

         In A Doll's House, Torvald (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins) and Nora (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom) are a married couple with their life ahead of them and only one big secret between them. Torvald was ill and had to move to Italy for the winter to get better; they lacked the money to make the move, so Nora forged her father's name on a loan from a man, Krogstad (Edward Fox/Denholm Elliot), that Torvald did not like very much. Eventually, her little secret inches its head out of hiding. Torvald receives a letter from that man and lashes out on Nora, slapping her across the face, when she eventually leaves him because of lack of knowing who she is herself. The principles of marriage learned from the piece of literature are never hit one's spouse and never keep a secret from one's spouse that would invite the hitting in the first place.

         There are many more lessons learned from this semester's readings and viewings; this is only four or five lessons that could have been learned. Each person takes his own lessons learned from a piece of literature--written and filmed. Therefore, what one might learn, another could learn a completely different and opposite lesson. This is only the my point of view, and it is not to be taken as the truth or as fact; it is merely a way upon which to review a movie, a novel, or a play, and the principles of love and marriage is only one subject that can be learned from in literature.

Sarah Chandler

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