Subject Re: The Piano
Posted by Michelle
Posted on Sun Jan 14 19:22:26 2001
From IP  
In Reply to The Piano

The Piano
Ada is a character that is extraordinarily stubborn. She is not able to ˇ§communicateˇ¨ with clear words or conditions, so that being stubborn and insistent becomes the best way for her to solve too many opportunities to be willing to argue with others. There are only two things worth caring about for Ada: one is her daughter, Flora, and the other is her piano. Both of them are tightly connected with her, and they both mean an important thing for Ada: language. As far as Ada is concerned, this piano does not only mean a simple musical instrument for her, instead, it is a certain tool with sounds to reflect and express her feelings and passion. That is why those women in Stewardˇ¦s house have been very confused that Ada always plays piano in a very different way. As for Adaˇ¦s daughter Flora, she can be a very basic tool for Ada to communicate with the outside world.
At the extremely conservative period of Queen Victoria in 19th century, women cannot live for themselves not only because of the realistically financial sources but also conservatively social views towards single women. Therefore, under this kind of pressure, Ada has to marry somebody as a woman having a kid without marriage. She comes to New Zealand with a great expectation to have a good relationship with her new husband, but as we can see, on the first day Ada displeases at her new husband a lot because he donˇ¦t understand how important the piano is for her. While he sees Ada carves the keyboards on the table, he is dominant enough to be upset for his own destroyed property; besides, Steward even sells her piano to Baines. Perhaps it is also the main reason for Ada to realize that the relationship between her and her husband will not work out any more. At that time, she shifts her love to another more attractive manˇXBaines.
While seeing this film, I was impressed the most at the scene that Baines took Ada back to the beach. Ada plays piano beautifully, and Flora dances around just like an angel. That could be an important moment for Ada to enjoy being with her most beloved things, and it should be the first time for her to be dominant, disobeying her husband, asking for another man secretly. Perhaps Baines, in this way, falls in love with Ada because of her charming dominancy at the piano. Besides, he stimulates Adaˇ¦s expectations on passion and desire by seducing her to earn the keys by visiting him.
Steward is a lonely man to fight for the lands, and he is also very dominant to stay what he regards to be right even he got a new family. Steward also has great hope to stay happily with his new wife, but he is disappointed by Adaˇ¦s coldness and over-politeness. When he discovers his wifeˇ¦s affair, he peeps their lovemaking full of curiosity through a small hole. He becomes very child-like to do this peeping as if going back to his childhood curiously watching his parentsˇ¦ lovemaking. There is a question that why Steward cuts Adaˇ¦s finger instead of Baineˇ¦s. Steward should hate Ada more than Baines because Ada, a woman makes him lose a manˇ¦s dignity and authority. He eagers to own her so much, but she not only refuses allow him to touch her but never plays piano for him. Furthermore, he realizes that he is not powerful than Baines. Out of envy, sense of inferiority, and knowing that fingers are significant for pianists, Steward cuts Adaˇ¦s finger as Bainesˇ¦ belongs to challenge and threaten him.
As for Adaˇ¦s daughter, Flora, she displays the significant process of socialization. Except the piano, Flora plays another role as Adaˇ¦s language to communicate with others. Originally Flora is a very sweet child who is connected with her interesting creation and imagination, which is just like her mother is connected with the piano. She describes the fairytale-like reason that makes her mother dumb like a storyteller. She speaks for her mother, and shares everything, even the same identity with her mother. She feels important as a person taking care of her mother. Through the journey to Oedipus complex, she finds out the inferiority that ˇ§castratedˇ¨ as her mother because of ˇ§penis envyˇ¨, so that she is forced to identify herself to Ada. While she is always being left outside during the piano lessons and peeping her motherˇ¦s sexual behavior with another man, her super-ego that stands for morality is awakened. She tries to ask Ada stop going to Bainesˇ¦ house because she gradually identifies herself with her ˇ§moralˇ¨ father Steward. Therefore, she disobeys her mother to hand the piano key to Steward instead of Baines. Since she grows up without a father she desires for the fatherˇ¦s figure a lot. Hence, she recognizes Steward as her father figure, though she originally says that she is not going to call anybody ˇ§fatherˇ¨. The piano key is the phallus symbol for fatherˇ¦s dominant power, and ironically, the reason that Flora gives the key to Steward may be the image that Steward is in lack of it. The cut finger is another phallus symbol to echo the piano key for Flora to prove that she feels inferior under her fatherˇ¦s authority. She obediently takes the finger to see Baines to show him the punishment of immortality. Flora successfully passes the process Oedipus complex to identify herself from her mother to her father.

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