supposed to be. Like the scene I mentioned, I feel like the cheery music and the scenery takes away from the fact that Nettie just like Celie has been abused by their father. Such a scene is supposed to have a serious tone and could’ve allowed Nettie and Celie have a heart to heart moment but instead the structure of it makes it seem that we should ignore or gloss over the fact that the both have been sexually abused by their father. To top it off we get Mister walking into the frame telling Nettie she looks beautiful in her dress in front of Celie which gives off this eerieand similarity to their father. For a film that includes subtle stereotypes it’s quite ironic that Spielberg mentioned that the novel was not about race and if it had been, he wouldn’t be the right director for it. As Bobo expressed, “Spielberg's view of the novel, that race was not its predominant feature, raises the question of how he envisioned it” (pg. 279). For instance, a subtle stereotype I noticed throughout the film was the way Misters son Harpo talks. There’s a scene where Mister is in sucha hurry getting ready to go see Shug, so he yells at a now adult Harpo out the window to saddle up his horse to that Harpo replies “I’s getting to it, I’s getting to it.” However, earlier in the film when Mister asks a young Harpo for the same favor he replies, “I’m gitting to it.” So why is the language all the sudden different to when Harpo was young to when he’s an adult? If Celie learned how to read and talk properly from her sister and Mister as well talks properly, wouldn’t 3
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have Harpo picked up on it? According to Bobo, “Nowhere in the novel is that kind of language used. Alice Walker carefully uses what she categorizes as Black ‘folk language’ to show how Black people at a particular time and in a specific setting talked, and still talk in many instances” (pg. 281). Haven’t not read the novel yet myself, this statement from Bobo just tells me that Spielberg was categorizing Black ‘folk language’ in random settings, sort of like just throwing it out into certain scenes so we can notice how they spoke. Which meant he obliviously changed upcertain characters dialogue to speak this way when then weren’t supposed to, completely ignoring Walkers use of the language in correct settings. When it comes to negatively or removing the spotlight of the women in the film Spielberg sure is a pro. For starters, the character of Shug appears to be a strong female characterwho is free and off doing what she pleases without a man giving her orders. She almost gives Celie a sign of hope that she too can be free one day. However, in the film Shug is constantly seen to be always seeking the approval of her father who is a preacher and isn’t fond of her lifestyle. Instead, the film tries to overshadow Shug’s “I don’t care attitude” with one that she is obsessed with a man’s approval of her. A scene that stood out to me is towards the ending of the
Aminah Bakeer Abdul-Jabbaar
White people, Steven Spielberg, Afro-Latin American, Mister
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