How Do the Authors of the Two Texts Not Without My Daughter and the Pianist Use Their Protagonists to Explore a Response to Violent Social Change?

Topics: Roman Polanski, Nazi Germany, Academy Award for Best Director Pages: 5 (2032 words) Published: March 22, 2011
How do the authors of the two texts Not Without My Daughter and The Pianist use their protagonists to explore a response to violent social change?

A response to violent social change is explored within the two texts, Not Without My Daughter written by Betty Mahmoody, with William Hoffer and the film The Pianist directed by Roman Polanski. In these texts the authors use their protagonist to explore the idea and impact of the violent social change that these characters must survive. Protagonists, Betty in Not Without My Daughter and Wladyslaw in The Pianist respond to the violent social change presented to them in different ways. The authors of both texts used different literary and film techniques to convey these themes to the reader and viewer. The authors express the characters initial response to the developments through two different emotions, fear and pride. Used by both authors, this technique helps to evoke different emotional responses in the reader and the audience. The response to the violent social change is also expressed through the characters appearances and cultural costumes throughout the two texts. Both authors use the gender and race of the protagonists to explore their response to violent social change and hence create a particular perspective for the reader and viewer.

Equally, the two authors use their protagonists to show their initial response to violent social change. Both authors use different literary techniques to express the emotions felt by their protagonist. In Not Without My Daughter the character Betty experiences the social change over a longer period of time, when compared to Wladerk in The Pianist. Betty expresses feelings of apprehension from the beginning of the text. The author does this through her literary technique- word choice, a ‘This is a mistake, I said to myself. If only I could get off this plane right now’. The reader, is led to believe that Betty is uncertain about her family’s holiday, and later are made to feel sympathise for Betty as her fears are realised. The novel is also presented from her point of view, another literary technique, which enhances the reader’s perspective of Betty. This differs to The Pianist as it is an autobiography written by Betty after her ordeal, whereas Wladerk’s story was written by another person. Therefore we have one person’s autobiographical accounts to real change and the film’s interpretation of a real man’s situation - the plight of Jews in Nazi German. This makes the viewer and reader more empathetic to the characters as they are more aware of the seriousness of the situations the characters are in, more than if it was fictional characters.

Betty first sense is fear. This is expressed by the use of descriptive language emphasising her uncertainty towards Tehran and the different culture, ‘another disagreeable sensation- the overwhelming stench of body odour, exacerbated by the heat’. On the other hand Wladerk in The Pianist holds too much pride for his family and religion to change in accordance with Nazi Germany and its new regime. As he was a Jew in World War II, Wladerk and his family had to evacuate their house but because of his sense of pride Wladerk wanted to stay, ‘If I’m going to die, I prefer to die in my own home. I’m staying put’. As the viewers have prior knowledge of the context of this war, they know that Wladerk will soon lose all his wealth and health. The director has placed Wladerk to the left of the camera, revealing the rest of the house, an empty space, with not a soul to be seen. His wealthy home, filled with luscious furnishing and his suit and tie, suggest to the viewer that Wladerk is not the type of person to get his hands dirty, yet enjoys comforts of his home. The film maker evokes a response by the viewer to construct an empathetic feeling towards Wladerk as he goes from a wealthy lifestyle to living on the streets. Both authors express their protagonist’s initial response to the situation...
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