Consider ways in which Diane Samuels explores ideas of identity in this play in Act 1 Scene 2, and elsewhere in the act. Kindertransport is a short play, written by Diane Samuels. The play reflects various themes throughout, including the contrast between past and present, childhood memories, mother and daughter relationships, and most importantly the role of identity. An immediate strong indication of Eva’s identity, when she first arrives in England at the beginning of Act One, Scene Two, is her German language. The language is noticed when an English officer speaks to Eva.
Despite the officer speaking to her in English, she replies in German, she does this because she barely understands English. “I’m sorry, love. I can’t understand a word you’re saying. ” The officer tells her. This shows how Eva is instantly alienated from England on her arrival. It also illustrates authority the officer has over Eva. Lil plays a big part in diminishing the German within Eva, and replacing it with English. When Lil first meets Eva at the train station, she immediately removes Eva’s Star of David. Eva is hesitant but does not stop Lil, she seems wary of throwing away the star.
This reflects how throughout the play, Lil encourages Eva to throw away her German identity. To add to this, further on in the play Lil assures Eva that her religion is not real. “Look love, if it’s God you’re worried about, the Lord Jesus said that we needn’t keep to the old laws any more. They had their days years ago. ” This again presents to the audience how Lil pushes Eva into the English culture. As the play progresses, Eva learns English and speaks it almost fluently. However, she often speaks German when she’s feeling upset. For instance, on page 37, Lil is unhappy with Eva after returning late home from school.
Lil lectures her, but Eva will only reply in German. This demonstrates to the audience how Eva is comforted by the language; it may remind her of her past she longs to relive. “Don’t hide behind the German. It won’t protect you and you know it. ” Lil harshly tells her. Eva hiding behind her German language shows her vulnerability to the audience. She seems to feel comforted by the language, and depends on her German culture despite what has happened. It also illustrates how Eva chooses to rebel against being pushed into an English identity. Eva is forced to leave Germany and her Jewish culture at the young age of 9.
Despite this, her values are still very strong. For example, a very traditional Jewish view is that pigs are dirty animals and therefore should not be eaten. When Eva is offered ham, she refuses it. “Got ham in. I not to eat ham. It from pig. ” Alike to a lot of children when doing something that’s not approved of by their parents, Eva believes that her mother will find out if she disobeys the Jewish rules and eats the ham. This shows how although Eva is no longer living with her Jewish family, she still continues to abide by the rules she has followed her entire life.
This displays to the audience how Eva holds onto her past, and her Jewish/German identity . Throughout Kindertransport, Eva often seems confused as to whether her identity remains English or German. On her first arrival, she is very much more German, however as the play progresses and Eva spends more time in England, her English identity widens. Eventually, she decides to change her identity once and for all. She changes her name, to a much more English name - Evelyn. She changes her birthday to the first day she arrives in England – this suggests that she believes she began her life on this date, almost as if she was ‘born again. To add to this, she also gets an English passport. However, although Eva, now Evelyn continues her life as an English citizen, she still does not completely destroy her past. She keeps documents, photos, toys and more of her old life, locked away in the attic. This symbolises how although Eva has changed her identity, she still loosely holds onto her past and despite how much she may want to, she finds it impossible to forget. By keeping the objects locked away in the attic, it reflects how although her German identity may not be visible on her surface; deep down, locked away, she still remains part Jewish.