It is signaled by the first shot of the film in which she looks at the world from behind her hand and through her fingers. In the relation of incorporation, the Other is reduced to a mere reflection of the Self.
White There is a wealth of imagery associated with incorporation in The Piano. In one of the first scenes in the film, Stewart looks at a framed photograph of Ada, his mail-order bride, whom he has yet to meet. What he sees, however, is his own reflection in the glass, which he uses to comb his hair. Looking at the Other and seeing only a reflection of oneself is a recurring Sartrean image. The scene on the beach in which Ada and Flora find shelter under a hoop skirt that serves as a makeshift tent is another image of incorporation — indeed virtually a return to the womb.
Subsequently the jungle-like forest itself becomes a womblike space of organic forms that resemble entrails — a space that allows for none of the distance required for the objectifying gaze. And Flora is required to speak for her mother in a variety of contexts.
Fuga Y Formas Musicales
Sartre on Freedom and the Causa-Sui Project For Sartre, our freedom requires that we be unconditioned — undetermined — by contingent facts such as those of our biology, psychology, history, and birth. This idea is given a psychoanalytic interpretation in the work of Norman O. Sartre refers to the idea of Causa Sui and the desire to be God explicitly and as such in Being and Nothingness. Brown Thus, at least for the girl, the castration complex revolves around the relation to the mother, and needs no father; in the Freudian psychology of women the girl turns to the father only after and as a result of the castration complex.
In a brief sequence whose significance is underscored by its extreme stylistic anomalousness — it is presented in animated form — Flora imagines the death of her real father by lightening. Thus Flora eliminates her father, setting the stage for her own act of self-creation. Flora pursues the causa-sui project in another brief sequence, when in a startlingly vehement monologue, she imagines the rape of her mother from a perspective that can only be described as participatory. Furthermore, in response to the triangular relationship between Ada, her lover Baines, and her husband Stewart, Flora takes the side of, and identifies with, the jealous husband.
In the climactic episode of the film, Ada attempts suicide by tangling herself in a rope tied to her piano, which is being tipped over the AnnalSS 6, White side of the Maori canoe. Our relation to Being-in- itself is defined not by our concepts but by our reaction of nausea. Being-in- itself is quite literally too much — de trop — and, as we have seen, is associated with everything that is viscous — neither solid not liquid.
It resists categorization and exceeds all proper boundaries.
Being-in-itself stands in diametric contrast with our agential being, Being-for-itself. Being-in- itself is what conditions us and makes that freedom impossible. The Apollonian is associated with sight, rationality, boundaries, ideals of beauty and perfection, particularly as regards the body, Greek sculpture, and the sky gods of Mount Olympus. The Dionysian is associated with music, liquids, the earth, lack of boundaries, and intoxication.
By contrast, Sartre privileges the Apollonian and devalues the Dionysian. The Apollonian and the Dionysian seem to recapitulate sexist associations with men and women respectively. Traditionally these have served to underpin essentialist characterizations that have always worked to the disadvantage of women. There are many images of the Apollonian in The Piano. Images of the sky are clear examples, since the sky is associated with the gods of Mount Olympus and with vision — particularly that vision that gives us objects at a great distance.
Views of the sky in The Piano are rare once the action moves off the beach. Such images as do exist are associated with the Europeans, who clear the land and build fences, producing the vistas that the natural landscape precludes. A dramatic instance occurs during the episode in AnnalSS 6, These vertiginous images of Olympian heights will stand in stark contrast with the imagery of her symbolic birth into this world as the result of the betrayal.
The European characters, particularly Stewart and Ada, reveal their ideals of perfection in their concern with personal appearance. As we have seen, Stewart combs his hair on the expedition through the forest prior to meeting Ada, and his suit and hat seem absurd in this veritable jungle.
The Europeans use their clothes and manners to manipulate distance and decorum in order to assert their difference from, and implicitly their superiority to, the Maori. Baines is criticized for his tattoos, his informal mode of behavior, and especially for his acceptance of the Maori on terms of cordial familiarity. Flora is punished and made to feel the seriousness of her infraction for her overfamiliarity in playing with the Maori children — playing that involves a miming of sexual relations.
The point is not the lack of innocence that the play might be thought to reflect, but the lack of proper distance from the Maori. Ada, who is in most respects a model of decorum and distance, is criticized for playing the piano in a way that dissolves personal boundaries by making the music seem to emerge from within the listener. Of the images of the Dionysian and of liquid nature that pervade the film, mud is particularly important. By far the most important images, however, are those of the ocean, especially those shot underwater. It is echoed in the shot of the Maori canoe from underwater at the end, just before the piano is tipped over the side.
The equation of the ocean and the unconscious is also suggested in AnnalSS 6, In this she is more faithful to Hegel than Sartre is. In The Second Sex, Beauvoir gives this historicization and politicization a modern twist by identifying the Other with women. She suggests that their being cast in this role is a matter not of metaphysics, but of historical and political contingency, at least in being subject to change in the future.