Chopin And Athenaise
In the story "Athenaise," Chopin portrayal of the character Cazeau is
almost a direct reflection of the character Karol Karol from the film
" Both men love their respective wives deeply, but they also
realize that their wives do not feel the same. These men have to struggle with
the inner turmoil of letting go of the women they love. In the film
"White," the director portrayed the change in Karol Karol through the
use of flashbacks. Kieslowski uses flashbacks to show us Karol's past. This is
done many times throughout the film; the audience saw Karol Karol reflect back
to his wedding day as he walked up the steps of the court house on his way to
his divorce hearing.
This flashback was interrupted when a bird relieved himself
on Karol Karol; the author used the bird as a subtle kickback to reality.Kieslowski uses this method many more times in the duration of the film, and as
a result he shows the importance of Karol Karol letting go of his wife. Chopin
also used flashbacks to show us the change in Cazeau. The character Cazeau is in
love with Athenaise, but she like Karol's wife Dominique does not feel the same
about Cazeau. Athenaise ran away to her parents house, and Cazeau followed her
determined to take her home with him. The flashback occurred on their trip home.
Cazeau and Athenaise passed an oak tree on their journey, and this tree
triggered the flashback. Cazeau upon seeing this tree recalled a memory of when
he and his father were returning a runaway slave to their home. This memory
caused Cazeau to feel as if he were treating Athenaise as a slave. The author
used the flashback of Cazeau's youth to make the character realize the
importance of freeing his wife. Both, Chopin and Kieslowski used flashback as a
tool to bring about a change in both Karol Karol and Cazeau.
In both stories the
husbands loved their wives, but upon remembering a event of their past the
husbands both felt that for all to be happy it would be best for them to let go
of their love. There is a strong similarity between the way both characters went
through their change, and also in the change that occurred.