PLS – 392-98
Seminar in Humanities
Professor Amanda Putnam
Appearance vs Reality - The Literary Devices in Eve's Bayou
Using clever antics writer and director Kasi Lemmons takes her audience on a very provocative journey through the posturing of an upper middle class Creole family literally coming undone by the pull of the truth and appearances. With a patriarch appearing to suffer from all the pitfalls of his profession as a medical physician whose charisma casts spells on countless numbers of female patients and whose character spirals both he and his loved ones into the inescapable grasp of tragedy. An elegant southern belle like, wife who suffers the lot of women who are so entrenched in their roles as mothers and dutiful wives they scarcely have any presence as individuals, existing in the shadows of their husbands suffering in silence for the trappings of the privileged lifestyles they live at the cost of love. Next the aspect of female children, who seem to nearly hate and also profoundly love one another while seemingly wanting not to share their parents with each other, is a powerful issue in this film. Then there is finally, Mozelle who just as her brother Louis seems almost as if to be a pied piper of men as much as Louis is of women. They each seem the male and female mirror image of one another. Mozelle, causes the men in her life the conflict that victimizes them to their very death, in much the same way as her brother Louis is victimized by his passion for other women including the wife of Lenny Mereaux. In the end Mozelle watches her brother suffer the same victimization the men in her life ultimately see their end by, because of their unchecked love and lust. Lemmons presents each of these dynamics as connected to the underlying motivation that pulls and tares away at the core fiber of this family. Finally in the ultimate confrontation that occurs through Louis the facades are all ripped away, leaving the gritty truths which the characters in this story seem desperate to avoid facing. Lemmons presents this journey as she does to bring her audience face to face with the appearances and the harsh realities of the lives of the members of this family which might be the appearance and harsh realities of any family.
Cleverly Lemmons presents a thread woven throughout the film in not so subtle messages. Enter Eve Batiste presenting tempting treats, chocolate covered sweets, handsomely arrayed in a beautiful golden box, which she presents as if laden with mouth watering treasures to be party favors for all who will partake of them. Instead, these tempting treats are actually chocolate covered figs, the flavor and texture of which might not be as tempting to the taste as they might look. Eve offers them first to an adult; her Uncle Harry, whose remarks give the impression that despite the gritty texture, the flavor was not entirely unpleasant, at least to him. Contrary to his response, when Eve’s brother Po, is presented with these sweets, largely out of Eve’s angry reply for her brother receiving what Eve thought to be a needlessly auspicious greeting from their mother, which was in contrast to the way that Eve was by her mother at her entrance to the festivities. [ (Samuel L. Jackson) ] Within the context of this scene Lemmons has introduced some powerful conflicts and caused some strong assumptions to ferment in the minds of her audience. First of all Eve making herself the purveyor of sweet treats that contain such conflicted ingredients as figs covered in chocolate is more than a statement, it is a declaration of sorts. The very gritty texture of fig being deceivingly camouflaged with creamy milk chocolate makes a statement about appearances. That a character named Eve is the panderer of such deceptive treats also brings a rather biblical connotation of sorts to mind. When you consider the aspect the fig in terms of some of the historical...