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Describe a strong relationship or conflict in the text. Explain how verbal and/or visual features of the text help you understand this relationship or conflict.
In the film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape directed by Lasse Hallstrom a strong relationship is developed between Gilbert and Becky. How they thought about each other was reflected in their actions and conversations and this helped me to understand why their relationship was so strong.
Gilbert Grape lives in the small American town of Endora. In the beginning of the film we hear Gilbert’s dull and dreary voice describing living in Endora as “like dancing to no music”, “it’s a place where nothing much ever happens and nothing much ever will.” This verbal introduction helped me to understand that Gilbert has lost all of the spark out of life; his monotonous voice represents his repetitve daily patterns. Since his father died and his older brother “got away” Gilbert has had the tedious job of looking after his unusual family. This has eaten away at him as he feels trapped and he now is a shell of a person – alive but not living.
When Becky unexpectedly arrives on the scene we are immediately made aware that she will bring a change to Gilbert. Visually in scenes we often see her connected with air or water which helped me to understand that she was there to cleanse Gilbert. We can also tell that Becky looks at everything in a positive way when she expresses, “I love the sky, it’s so limitless.”
Becky does bring to Gilbert change so that he can view his world in a different light. Their relationship develops into a strong one because for Gilbert he has met someone who for the first time demands nothing from him. Becky also opens Gilbert up emotionally which is demonstrated when she asks,”What do you want for you? Just for you?” only for him to reply, “I want to be a good person.” We also understand from the visual and verbal features that Gilbert trusts Becky which is represented when he takes her to visit his very obese mother. This is a significant turning point because usually he is ashamed of his mother the “whale” and has never taken anyone to her before. Their relationship eventually leads to the next level but through the features of the film we can understand that it is because they are both so in touch with one another, not because they want to use each other.
Gilbert and Becky’s relationship is a strong one and the features in the film can help us to understand why. Verbally Gilbert opens up and his voice takes on a happier tone. However, by visually watching it we can understand that Becky is the catalyst for change about and it was her that bought this change about. They may not get married with a fairytale ending but Gilbert is at last free of his repressed feelings and emotions and that is why their relationship is so strong.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape Essay
By Claire Bolto In the film "What's eating Gilbert Grape?" Gilbert does not lose our sympathy after he belts into Arnie, despite his earlier proclamations and advice. The act may seem hypocritical but by knowing and understanding Gilbert's character, we can find reasons to justify his actions. There are many components in Gilbert's life that drive him to this one act and by exploring these different issues, we can gain a better understanding of why the viewer retains sympathy for Gilbert, even after his behavior in this scene.
Gilbert has had a traumatic family life that has left the rest of the family very dependent on him. Several years back Gilbert's father committed suicide, hanging himself in the basement of their home. After this incident his Momma, Bonnie Grape, fell into a terrible depression which has left her obesely overweight and unable to cope with daily household chores. This has meant that her children, Gilbert, Arnie, Ellen and Amy, are left to look after themselves and cope with the housework, as well as care for their adversely affected mother. Amy, although she has finished school, cannot hold a job because she is needed at home to do everything their Momma can't manage. This has left Gilbert, in the expectation that he will take over the role of "man of the house", to be the sole income for the whole family. Ellen, who is still at school, can't concentrate on her study and things such as her trumpet lessons because she does not have the freedom, nor the money to develop in these areas independently. Ellen is very aware of these obstacles that their family situation presents to her, and she often acts out in resentment, mistaken for selfishness, throughout the movie. Arnie is Momma's youngest son and he is mentally challenged. Because of his disability Arnie is unable to take care of himself and requires constant supervision. This is yet another burden on the family, especially Gilbert, as he is usually left with the responsibility of watching him. Gilbert's position within the family is very demanding of him, and by looking at his family situation the viewer can sympathize with him and understand the pressure he is under.
The many responsibilities Gilbert must cope with put him under a lot of pressure. Most importantly, he is the predominate person within the family who cares Arnie and they have a very close relationship. However, due to his disability, Arnie often doesn't take may of Gilbert's warnings very seriously which leads to problems. For example, after the incident involving the police issuing a serious warning to both Arnie and Gilbert, telling them if Arnie attempted to climb the water once more,...
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