Change: 'Taming of the Shrew' by Shakespeare,'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' directed by Lasse Hollstrom and 'Window' by Jeannie Baker.

Essay by misaHigh School, 11th gradeA-, November 2007

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It is change, continuing change, inevitable change that dominates society.

Through detailed analysis of ‘Window’, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and “The Taming of the Shrew”, the responder experiences a journey in understanding change; its causes and effects.

“The Taming of the Shrew” demonstrates how change can alter our lives permanently as we attempt to better ourselves and others.

Jeannie Baker’s ‘Window’ is a picture book depicting the accelerating industrialisation of land releases through each window driving families towards the outer city as they search for the perfect home.

Lasse Hollstrom’s film; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, explores the life of a young man in a secluded town, constantly fighting to support his failing family. Through outside catalysts for change, he builds momentum of respect and understanding for his quarrelling siblings and radically-obese mother. Hollstrom encourages the concept that change is healthy and inevitable.

In both ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ and ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, change is forced onto Gilbert and Katherina by others.

Both of their perspectives are modified through the influence of human catalysts. Hollstrom explores the changing perspective of Gilbert on life and society and strives to present the perception that even a stranger can effectively act as a catalyst for change. When Becky is introduced to Gilbert, he gravitates to her relaxed confidence and understanding of the outside world as symbolised by her map pinned with the many states she has visited. She convinces him to see his family through a positive mentality and to appreciate them. At first he shows off his mother to curious onlookers ‘see that beached whale in the lounge? That’s my mum.’ however, over time, Becky’s advice and perspectives begins to affect him. With the death of his mother at the end, the Grape family agree to burn down their home to prevent further embarrassment to her when a crane is needed to remove her body. Gilbert seizes the reins of the family and promotes this decision citing; “I’m not gonna to let her be a joke”.

Katherina desires to be genuinely loved and lashes out at anyone who tries to change or exploit her. Petruchio siphons her spirit and determination to ‘break’ her. His most productive strategy is as the servant reveals; ‘He kills her in her own humour’, in which he elucidates the detriment of a shrew’s temper, yearning for her to become more patient and affectionate. In conjunction with being deprived of rest, food and resolve, Petruchio maintains his excessively enthusiastic desire for her and after an exhausting performance; Putruchio begins to see his progress when Kate finally accepts him. This is paramount because, for the first time, she is being loved for who she is.

This text is set in a patriarchal society where Kate is the single beacon of defiance. But through the transition of ownership from her father to her husband, coupled with Petruchio manipulating her view and beliefs, she realises she can’t forever defy the expectations of those who surround her and willingly accepts her new place in society. Conclusively, she succumbs to Petruchio banishing her individuality and is ‘tamed’.

‘Window’ embodies the warning that society and industry’s proliferation nullifies the tranquillity and beauty of the flora that we depend on. I believe that this text is the most compelling presentation of change. The caution behind the simple picture book hammers the core of modern society, in which, every person is driven and pressured to earn their living by being a part of industry or commerce. Baker illustrates how man nurtures the factories and high rise apartments, placing emphasis on material change.

Isaac Asimov’s quote on continuing and inevitable change is evident throughout all the texts. Kate challenges the demands of her society but her intentions are broken by Petruchio. Similarly, Gilbert aims to live his humble life casually, but Becky’s influences Gilbert to see himself and the outside world through different eyes, In stark contrast to the characters adjusting each other, Jeannie Baker changes, us, the responders and implores for us to accept our societal problems and change our way of life.