Comparitive Study Essay - Pygmalion & Pretty Woman

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Comparative Study Essay (Pretty Woman/Pygmalion)
The comparative study of Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw and Pretty Woman by Gary Marshall has enhanced my perception of the shared concerns of the two texts. The representation however, is altered by the differing political, historical and social context of the time period of production. Both composers have illuminated the central concerns of the transformations of their female protagonists; Eliza and Vivian from rags to riches while also exploring and criticising the social class division within society. Both composers convey their protagonists as working class citizens who are far from living their dream. Eliza in Pygmalion, a young flower girl who sells flowers in Covent Garden (a place where all social classes come together) is portrayed as a vulnerable, illiterate girl who reassures herself of being worthy of achieving her goals. This is represented when she states “Im a good girl, I am” as it shows that she has faith in herself and that she will do whatever it takes, for one day she may work in a shop of her own. In contrast with Eliza, Gary Marshall characterizes Vivian as a typical American prostitute. The scene introducing Vivian is set in her cluttered house illustrating her ‘trashy’ and unorganised lifestyle. Marshall uses dark lighting in the nightclub which gives us an overshadowing idea about Vivian’s life being dark and cynical and like Eliza, very vulnerable. Transformation is slowly taking place upon the two girls as Higgins and Edward are introduced into girls’ lives. Higgins helps with Eliza’s phonetics and pronunciation of speech. Eliza is determined to become a ‘lady’ after Higgins is dared to turn her into a duchess and gradually she learns the basics to becoming a lady. The first representation of her progress is at the ‘at home afternoon’ with Higgins’ mother. Here we notice that Eliza has learnt the basic traits of a woman but her vocabulary is not wide enough to keep a conversation. She gets...
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