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January 26, 2010

though nothing can bring back the hour
of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower
we will grieve not, rather find
strength in what remains behind      -william wordsworth

The film ‘splendor in the grass‘ has long been a favorite of mine, since i was too young to even know what the film was about.  but watching it tonight set off several bells and whistles in my feminist brain.  taking place in 1928, it is the story of two teenagers in love and, unfortunately, in a sexually repressive environment.  the main character, deanie, has ‘feeling’s’ for her boyfriend bud. when deanie asks her mother if it is normal to have those feelings, her mother says ‘no’, that women don’t feel the way men do about sex (though that word is NEVER uttered).  bud’s father, on the other hand, explains that a ‘girl like deanie’ can get a boy like bud into trouble;  if ‘anything happened’, bud would have to marry her.  again, pregnancy, sex, etc are not mentioned at all.  bud’s father explains, more or less, that there are women you fuck and women you marry; and never the twain shall meet.

suffice it to say, both teenagers go through a mental breakdown, though deanie’s is considered more drastic since she attempts suicide because bud rejects her for being a ‘nice girl’, i.e. a girl you marry, not a girl you fuck.

i am fascinated by stories where women have complete and total mental breaks that cause them to either reevaluate their lives or die…nice options, huh?

i think this film is very relevant to women’s studies and the history course i teach.  if only i had more time to show films that historically put into context what men and women were going through.  damn.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 12, 2010 2:03 pm

    Have you seen this other film starring Natalie Wood called Sex and the Single Girl (1964) which she did three years after Splendor in the Grass? It’s a stupid romcom but there’s a lot to discuss in that one as well. I haven’t seen too many of Wood’s pictures, other than her famous ones, but I just remembered thinking how interesting both of these were if you want to use them in feminist critiques. I think I might have it. You can borrow if I can manage to find it.

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