Subject The Piano
Posted by Christy Yip
Posted on Mon Jan 8 12:41:49 2001
From IP  

Edda's daughter has undergone the processes of socialization and therefore changed her relationship with Edda and George gradually. The socialization gives the innocent girl a sense of morality later.
At first, the child plays an innocent role while she is gathering with her mother day and night. She speaks for Edda, plays and sleeps with Edda. The relation between them is as close as sharing one identity. From the dream telling scene, she tries to explain her mother's dumbness (who is pressed by society) through the fairytale form (for the reason of the thundering) that shows her innocent character. As the dream is seen from the child's point of view, she seems not realize the society's pressure on her dumb mother. Therefore, she has not been socialized yet.
However, the relation has a slightly changed while she was being kept waiting outside Ben's house by her mother. At this stage, the child is separated from her mother. She seemed to share one identity with Edda before, but now she is forced to find her own because her mother is keeping her away and ignoring her loneliness. Later, we can see her new identification with her father.
Yet the turning point of the daughter's role starts after she peeps at Edda's having sex with Ben, which is considered as children's primal scene. The peeping scene through the hole forces her to go through the process of socialization. The child's sexual initiation was shown when she kisses a tree (which symbolizes penis); she was immediately stopped by her father. "You should feel shame for the tree". Father's scolding impresses her with his authority, and she starts to obey to him afterward because he holds the power in the family.
In the Oedipus complex, she realizes her father's authority, and starts to deny mother. After the identification with father, the girl accepts the social values. At this stage, the daughter is constrained by the superego. It is because she understands that her father is the only man who dominates Edda, and Edda is not allowed to have sex with another man. The superego drives her to follow and stop Edda going to Ben's house, and even shouts and curses on her mother when Edda ignores her. Moreover, as the piano key represents her mother's love to another man, she betrays Edda and gives the piano key to George. It is obvious that Edda is trying to challenge George's authority, so she gives it to George in order to confirm his power.
Through the socialization, the child learns to suppress her feeling under the social values. For instance, the bloody punishment for her mother upset her a lot and gives her a great shock, but she dares not to speak for Edda. While witnessing mother's finger is cut by her father, she does not try to stop him. She chooses to witness the bloody scene for a distance and scream helplessly. Because she is again shocked by father's authority, she dares not to help Edda or disobey him in order to save herself from father's punishment. Therefore, she follows father's order and to give the finger to Ben though she is not willing to do so.
By wearing the pairs of angel wings, she represents the social morality that judges her mother's wrongdoing and helps father to punish Edda. She, who is wearing the wings, represents an angel while she is helping father to punish mother in order to achieve morality. On the other hand, she, who is wearing wings, also represent a devil while she is the one who witnesses the bloody punishment for her mother but dares not give any help because she fears that her father would abuse her. But after struggling between the angle and devil sides, she chooses to wash the bloodstain on the angle wings and brings it with her again as to compromise the social values. At this stage, we can see that she has already been constrained by the social morality through the processes of socialization.

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