White Colonial Master

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Chocolat

In the film Chocolat the main characters Aimee and Protee have an intense sexual desire towards each other, which they must deny. Their relationship is an impossibility because Aimee is a married French colonialist, and Protee is her African servant. In an interesting power struggle, Aimee represents French colonial power while Protee serves as the moral authority.

Aimee demonstrates control over Protee and the other servants in the film because she is their white colonial master. She commands them in their daily duties and in particular gives Protee orders constantly. In addition, Aimee is desirous of Protee the entire film and comes on to him several times. She of course knows that an affair with Protee would destroy both their lives yet she still makes advances because she has the power as the dominant colonizer.

Protee, however, resists her advances every time. His character serves as the moral center of the film because Protee knows his position in the colonial structure. He knows that giving in to his sexual desire and betraying his role as black servant to Aimee's family is the worst type of transgression. Even though Aimee has the colonial power behind her, Protee has moral superiority and is therefore able to tell her no. When Aimee actually caresses Protee's leg towards the end of the film he grabs her roughly and stands her on her feet, basically putting her back in place as the superior. He maintains the separation between white and black, colonizer and colonized, and masculine and feminine. Furthermore, Aimee reestablishes her colonial dominance by sending Protee to work in the garage instead of the house. This can also be seen as an act of bitterness or revenge on Aimee's part, because Protee turns her down she then relegates him to the less desirable job of working in the garage.
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