The movie “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, presents the creole culture in three different ways; housing, cooking and clothing, and the language. Even though Hushpuppy is only six years old, her presence in this movie is strong and contributes to the lifestyle of the deep creole swamp.
The community of the “bathtub”, as it is known in the movie, has a very direct way of living. The housing presented was a multitude of different living situations. Hushpuppy, for example, was born and raised in the bathtub and yet lived by herself while her father lived in a different home not too far from her. Many were not related to each other but still joined together almost every night and day to eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company. The housing itself was built of used materials and old trailers. Although New Orleans was just a boat ride away from them, they felt pride in not living the same way as they did. Living off the land purely was a stamp of symbolism for each person that resided there. The poor housing structures meant that they were simply not adequately prepared for hurricane Catrina to hit. The bathtub itself went completely underwater because of the levee set up by New Orleans. The people in New Orleans may have seen them as “poor” because of the way that they decided to live.
Clothing for many in the bathtub was not a necessity like it is everywhere else. Although they did have clothes, most of them didn’t change clothes throughout the entire movie. Hushpuppy wore mainly an old ragged white t-shirt that didn’t seem to fit her. The standard that they held for each other was much lower than it is in a normal city setting. The fact that they were family to each other is a huge playing part in how they view things such as personal hygiene, schooling for their kids, and the behavior they held towards each other. The four kids in this movie were around the same age, which is the reason why they were siblings to each other, although they had different parents. The kids were raised by the entire community that lived in the bathtub. Hushpuppy did know who her parents were but her mother figure throughout the movie was Ms. Bathsheba. She was a mother figure and a teacher to all four of the children. Schooling in the bathtub was very different than it is in a normal setting. Ms. Bathsheba was their teacher but taught them things like medicine, cooking and about the aurochs that arrive later in the movie. The material that she taught them was different than what would be taught in a traditional school environment.
The communication held between the members of the bathtub and the dialogue from Hushpuppy is unique compared to the modern New Orleans area. The accent of New Orleans is held throughout the movie but the language that they use and do not use shows the lack of education in the bathtub. Since they pick up only what each other say to communicate, it makes since why the slang is so different there than it is in New Orleans. Quotes like, “All the time, everywhere, everything’s hearts are beating and squirting, and talking to each other the ways I can’t understand. Most of the time they probably be saying: I’m hungry, or I gotta poop. [listening to bird’s heartbeat] But sometimes they be talkin’ in codes.” Spoken by Hushpuppy shows the slang used in the bathtub and how it compares to outsiders.
Although slight, the differences between the culture of the bathtub and New Orleans shows how unique every detail is in the bathtub. From the clothing to the language held between its members, the bathtub is the raw base of the creole culture.
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