Symbolism In Beast Of The Southern Wild

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The 2012 movie Beasts of the Southern Wild, director Benh Zeitlin’s debut movie, sees 6-year-old Hushpuppy living with her father Wink in a remote village called the Bathtub. When Wink mysteriously falls ill, it seems that mother nature falls ill with him, with temperatures rising, ice caps melting, and rising waters threatening the Bathtub and its community. In one key sequence, the aftermath of the flood shows Wink and Hushpuppy searching for survivors, and eventually finding some at the local pub. Once safe from the flooding outside, Wink and Hushpuppy hunker down at the pub and reminisce about Hushpuppy’s mama. In this scene, there is a strong theme of change and loss, shown through the key symbol of hope represented by Hushpuppy’s mama. …show more content…

After finding refuge in the pub, Wink and Hushpuppy hunker down for the night with the other survivors of the flood. This scene takes place within Hushpuppy’s imagination, while Wink is telling her a story about her mother. This scene has a bright and dream-like feel to it, this effect is achieved by the bright lighting, and indefinite shots of Hushpuppy’s mama, giving the viewer clarity that this isn’t a flashback from Wink’s point of view, and is instead a dream from Hushpuppy’s. A low-angle shot is used almost every time that mama is portrayed throughout the scene, just showing fragments of her body. This is crucial to the scene as it ensures that Hushpuppy has no clear idea of what her mama actually looks like, just what Wink has told her. An important shot in this sequence is when Hushpuppy narrates “back when daddy used to talk about mama, he said she was so pretty she never had to turn on the stove, she’d just walk into the room and all the water started to boil”, which we see as the camera follows mama walking past the stove, water beginning to boil. This indicates how Wink feels about mama, and how lovingly he has described her to Hushpuppy, also how Hushpuppy, and children in general take things literally. This also introduces a magical realism element in the film. From this quote, we can also understand that Wink no longer talks about mama, this could be due to Wink not wanting to show much emotion in front of Hushpuppy, and judging by the way he feels about mama, he may let out too many emotions. Mama is a symbol of hope shown throughout the movie, seeing Hushpuppy wearing mama’s shirt, drawing mama and even talking to mama, using her childhood imagination to make it seem real, with this scene being a strong indicator of that. The light and dreamy way this scene is shot makes the viewer want Hushpuppy to meet mama, especially as in this scene mama is portrayed by

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