Unappreciative Men

         All women who work with, live with, or date men know that they are often unappreciative for all that women do for them. Women cook, nurse men when they are sick, and even allow them to control the television remote. Yet, most women are lucky if their birthday gets remembered. There are a few exceptions, but it seems it is just the nature of the male sex.

         The 1913 play Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw and filmed in 1938 by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard, features two "confirmed old bachelors" who take on the project of turning a "Cockney" flower girl into a duchess. The two old bachelors, Colonel Pickering (Scott Sunderland) and Professor Higgins (Leslie Howard), teach the flower girl, Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller), how to speak and act properly. They successfully pass her off as a duchess before the Queen of Transylvania. However, they take all the credit for the success when Eliza is the one who had to learn and prepare to execute the language properly. In the play one reads about Colonel Pickering and Professor Higgins' behavior and how they act after Eliza is a success. However, in the movie it is shown as complete cruelty when Eliza is standing right in front of them while they go on and on about which one of them is responsible for the success.

         The 1879 play A Doll's House, written by Henrik Ibsen and filmed twice in 1973 by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland respectively, shows an even worse case of a husband being unappreciative. Torvald's (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins) wife, Nora (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom), learns that he will die if he does not get to a warm climate for a while. Nora does not want Torvald to know of his condition, so she claims her father has left her money and she wants to travel. She really has no money, so to pay for the trip she takes out a loan from a man, now working at the bank, Krogstad (Edward Fox/Denholm Eliot), while forging her dead father's signature. For eight years she works secretly to save money and make monthly payments on the loan. Eight years after their trip, Torvald is named manager of the bank and is going to fire the man with whom Nora has her loan arrangement. The man, Krogsted, tells Torvald of the loan and the forgery because Torvald is going to fire him. Torvald explodes with anger at Nora even after she explains that he would be dead if he had stayed in Norway through the winter eight years ago. Torvald (David Warner) in Joseph Losey's version does not seem as angry as Torvald (Anthony Hopkins) in Patrick Garland's version. However, in both versions Torvald has more concern about his position at the bank being comprised than Nora's having saved his life and having sacrificed much of her own trying to pay back the loan.

         Colonel Pickering, Professor Higgins and Torvald all need a lesson in paying respect to the women who make their successes possible. Pickering and Higgins would have never been successful if Eliza had not worked as hard as she did to make her speaking perfect. Torvald would not even have lived long enough to become manager of the bank if Nora had not taken out the loan for their trip. I think all this goes to show that women are usually unappreciated and under respected by men.

Paige LeFan

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