Flowers in the Attic

Essay by jcassidyUniversity, Master'sA+, February 2005

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The movie "Flowers in the Attic is based on the on the best selling book of the same name by V.C. Andrews. The story begins with a happy close-knit family of four, a bread-winning father, a happy housewife Corrine, and four children--Cathy, Christopher, the twins Corey and Carrie. They seemed like the perfect family until the father dies in a terrible car crash on his birthday, while the family waits to surprise him at home. Cathy, the eldest daughter narrates the story Flowers in the Attic.

After selling everything they own to survive, the mother Corrine decides to return home to her rich mother's house. Corrine was disinherited a long time before for marrying her cousin. Corrine planned to return home to win back her father's love, and once again become heir to his fortune. However, to do so she had to hide her kids from her dying father.

So, Corrine warns them that their grandfather must never know of their existence or all will be lost.

The kids soon learn why they have never met their grandmother. Within minutes of being in the mansion--Fox Worth Hall, their grandmother began telling them what to do in a very threatening way. She quickly locked them away in a tiny room with only two beds and established very strict rules they had to live by. They had to always be fully dressed. They could never open the drapes even just to peek out. They always had to keep their room clean and never be idle. They had to study for five hours a day and learn one quote from the bible every day. Additionally, they were to avoid looking at members of the opposite sex unless absolutely necessary, and had to stand at attention when she entered the room.

The dominating grandmother always dressed in black and carried a bible wherever she went. She gave Corrine seventeen lashes for living in sin with here cousin, one for each year she was with him. The grandmother also told the children they were all evil because their mother had married her cousin. The children would live for several months would pass for the children in their small room and attic where they played.

For a while, Corrine would visit regularly, bringing food and company. Soon her visits became less and less frequent. Sometime weeks would pass before she would make an appearance. Only the grandmother would come and admonish them and tell them they were the product of an unwholesome union. She also told them they deserved to be treated like the devil's span. When their mother finally did show up, she finally told them about the secret door in the closet that led up to the attic. The attic would become their only refuge from their solitary confinement. It would become their home.

Late one night Cathy and Christopher unhinged the bedroom door and snuck into the house. They found their mother room and discovered that she was living like a princess. They became outraged, and eventually confronted their mother on her next visit. They asked how she could live like then when they were suffering and becoming sick. Corrine told them of her plan was working. She was becoming reintroduced into society and would get married to soon. She was just about to succeed.

Soon after Cory became seriously ill, and they demanded he be brought to a hospital where he died. Then Christopher made an awful discovery. Christopher found that Cory was poisoned with arsenic. They were all being slowly being poisoned by arsenic powder their mother was sprinkling on cookies.

On their next trip to the house, they discovered that their grandfather had been dead for some time. They also found a copy of the will and learned that their mother was in the will. However, if it were ever discovered that she had children, she would be instantly disinherited. They never would be let out of the attic. If the children were found, the mother would loose everything. The kids knew they had to act fast, before their mother killed them. They had to escape for the last time, for good.

Fox Worth Hall where the story takes place is derived of its own cultures. The family had a strong religious background a form of Puritanism. Thinking and feelings with in the family were few. The Grandmother, an authoritarian figure in the story while the Grandfather a passive man. The Grandmother states that the children should not speak unless spoken to. She having, the upper hand, with rules to follow. She spouting words from the bible and placing punishments upon the family. This is the culture in which she had been raised, carrying it over into her own family. Fox Worth Hall would be its own society of wealth and social aspect.

Being brother and sister, Corrine and her deceased husband would be united out of human need. Not receiving any love or bonding from their own mother it was a way of survival. They would bring this culture and behavior into the family by inbreeding.

The language, in which the incest had occurred, would be transmitted in their own offspring. They would allow the children of different genders to sleep and bathe together. Also there could have been a possible occurrence with the eldest daughter from her father showing her more favoritism. Had this been occurring with his sister (Corrine) and her own father?

The brother and sister had formed a hypothesis linguistic relativity in which this was the only language and world they had produced around them, unable to differentiate other living conditions and aspects of life. One could only imagine what had gone on inside Fox Worth Hall. The normative dimension consisting of norms, sanctions, and values were defiantly broken. Under such norms by the brother and sister sleeping together, having intercourse and children from this, would be considered not normal. Breaking the sanctions in which one would follow, along with the values a person must maintain. Even their own parents had unique methods how they raised their own children. By following the scripture they punished the children according to the holly writings. They too probably had some unethical value or moral dilemma that they placed upon their son and daughter.

The cognitive dimension of the parents own values would be taught carrying it on from generation to generation. In which the next generation would cease the values, in this case it would occur in Flowers in the Attic. The children would produce their own family making it what they thought it should be and how it should function. They had tried to produce a family of love but did not understand the norms or mores. Cultivating incest to continue in the family. Inbreeding was a way of survival amongst royalty. This was done in order to keep the thorn or crown within the family.

The material culture was the Fox Worth Hall itself of parties, social life and wealth. Corrine had come back with her children because her needs of life of materials no longer existed. She had no husband or money to support her children. She went running back to the life she knew as a child where money was present. In the mist she gave up her newfound freedom. In order to gain what she stated was entitled to her, riches. She would also agree to the terms of her parents. Giving up the children and even killing her own children.

Cultural diversity is present in Flowers in the Attic. Social categories were shared with both generations of brother and sisters such as their age, sex and religion. Using the counterculture both generations opposed their parents and grandparents of certain things like sleeping in the same bed. When using subculture both generations, became part of a group from ancient history long ago or from their own right.

In terms when using ethnocentrism in judging Flowers in the Attic, one has to understand the aspects of his or hers own culture and not judge another persons culture in which he or she was raised. One must place themself inside that culture to understand it. Corrine and her brother had reasons to do what they did. The children produced out of this had to suffer for the mistake in which their parents and grandparents forced upon them.

Lastly, the parents and grandparents brought different cultures amongst the children causing pain and conflict.