Beastsof the Southern Wild
Thispaper reflects on the American film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”The paper is designed as a summary of the movie, outlining the mostimportant events. The storyline is set up in a small rural islandknown as Bathtub in Louisiana. The main characters are Hushpuppy andher father Wink, who share a brief part of their lives with jovialmoments and sad ones all the same. Hushpuppy is a young girl who isbeing brought up by her father who struggles to raise her up on hisown. The two live in different houses that are set up a few metersaway from each other. There is a rope that is connected to bells onboth sides that is meant for communication between them. The familyof two keeps various domestic animals such as a pig, dog, cat andchicken.
Themovie begins as Hushpuppy is communicating with chicks. She claims tobe listening to them and understanding their needs. In one instance,she listens closely to a chicks heart and concludes that wants towater she makes a sought of trough from mud and fills it with waterfor the chick. The young girl has a special attachment to animals andunderstands them as well as she understands humans.
Thetwo use a homemade boat to cross over the waters to go meet withother people. In a certain scene, they travel to a celebration withother people from their locality. Hushpuppy asserts that thecelebrations happen once in a year and, therefore, they had to giveit their best shot. The grownups take beer, dance, and are in amellow mood. The sky is lit up with fireworks as the celebratory moodfills the environment. Hushpuppy chases his dad into the woods andteases him with fireworks before blowing them up into the sky. Thisis one of the moments where we see Hushpuppy and her father having agreat time and bonding. Wink stares in amazement indicating that themoment really moved him the feeling of paternal love.
Thereis tutor who offers the kids lessons about their land, the past andwhat they ought to expect in the future. She passionately explains tothem that they ought to learn survival tactics as the future holds amisery for the people living in Bathtub. She explains that long timeago, there were animals that were referred to as Aurochs that wereruthless to the cavemen who existed at the time. They were invincibleand caused the death of lots of people. However, they were containedby ice blocks where they have been engulfed to the present day. Thelurking danger is that the ice is about to break and that willtranslate to the Aurochs getting back to the surface to continuetheir mass destruction. The tutor describes the animals as huge andmerciless. She exhibits tattoos of the animals preying on humans onher thigh. Hushpuppy, together with other children is taught that thefirst step to survival is the understanding that every animal ispalatable as it is made of meat. This lesson is later advanced byHushpuppy’s father in his many lessons to his only daughter.
Hushpuppygoes home to find that his dad was not there. She calls for herclaiming that it is dinner time but his dad is nowhere within thevicinity. She lies on her bed making drawings on her sheets of hermummy, who she fantasizes about every time. She questions how herworld would look like without her both parents and she is left tolive in the woods. She goes ahead to complain about her side of theworld that has no civilization. She talks of her stale pants thatcapture the issue of poverty and neglect of hygiene. She attendsclasses and declines her tutor’s offer of giving her a ride home,claiming that she is waiting for her to fetch her. The scene capturesthe kid’s dissolution and sadness for not having any of her parentsaround. She then begins feeling that it is unfair that her fatherleft her without informing her.
Hushpuppygoes home and makes a meal all by herself. During this time, shevirtually communicates with her mother whom she imagines is seatedlooking at her cook. She explains to her mother the gratitude shefelt having being taught to cook and at the same time expresses hersadness of having no one around her. After the food is ready, shegoes out with it in her hands to try and find her dad. Luckily shemeets him this time he is not ready to talk to her about anythingand declines to have the food she has prepared. Hushpuppy mockinglyeats it up but pursues his dad to talk to her about where he has beenand why he is in a medical gown. Hushpuppy is harshly chased to thehouse as well as slams the gate as he gets in. From this point, thereader is able to learn of a mysterious illness affecting Wink, andmust have attended a hospital where he was been operated.
WhenHushpuppy returns to her house, she is angry and decides to tease herdad by starting a fire from the cooker where she had been cooking thefood. She hides under an empty box and her dad hysterical searchesfor her. At that time, she draws on the walls. She is afraid that herdad may kill her and she would want to leave a legacy behind so thatthe scientists many years later would talk about her. Her dad has tochase her outside so as to catch her. Wink scolds his daughtertelling her that she wants to kill him. Hushpuppy, in anger,retaliates by retorting to her dad that she would want him to die andthat when he dies, she is going to eat birthday cake on his grave,all by herself. She hit him on the chest and he falls to the ground.This shows the resentment that she holds for her dad at that point intime.
Atthat point, the ice begins to break and the whole place is in fear aspeople run to save their lives. Hushpuppy rushes to her tutor whooffers her medicine that could help her dad. She runs back to thescene where she had left her dad and finds no one. She imagines couldhave turned into a tree or a bug. She then hides the jar thatcontains medicine in a tree trunk. She goes back to town where shefinds her dad chatting with a group of friends who appreciate herpresence though Wink does not like it. He carries her from holdingher shorts and they head back home where they prepare for theoncoming storm. Wink explains to Hushpuppy that it is his duty toprotect her from the death and that he will do anything to ensurethat she survives. He gives her floaters which he fixes ontoHushpuppy’s arms and forces her to sit in a boat and to sleep. Sherefuses to sleep and it gets her father angry. At this point, Winkgets psychic as he goes out and starts shooting into oblivionclaiming to be shooting at the storm in order to stop it.
Notonly doesn’t the storm cause havoc and destruction, but also leadsto the awakening of the Aurochs. The Bathtub area is flooded as waterlevels rise to almost cover up houses. Plantation is no more andpeople have to survive from the little they had preserved forthemselves together with the animals that they could gather. Thefollowing day, after the storm, Hushpuppy and her dad have to maketheir way out of the house through the roof. They use their boat tomove around the high water in search of survivors in theneighborhood. At some point, Hushpuppy becomes hungry and plucks offa leaf from a nearby tree which she first listens to before chewingit up as her dad watches. Her dad feels the frustration and decidesto teach her how to catch fish with bare hands. Hushpuppy depictscourage and is willing to learn from her father. She knows within herthat Wink will leave her alone at some point in time, and she willhave to survive on her own and as her teacher had told her, she hasto learn all the necessary survival tactics.
Theyarrive at the bar where the rejoin with friends and enjoy the fewmeals left behind. The most hilarious part is when Mr. Wallace rushesoutside his door with a beer bottle held in his mouth. He surgesforward not remembering that the whole place is flooded and fallsinto the water. He is however, rescued by Wink and Hushpuppy. At thebar, they all share happy moments and drink beer. Hushpuppy enjoysseeing his dad happily chatting with his friends. Hushpuppy is thentaught by his father how to break a crab. Everyone cheers her as shesuccessful breaks it up. Wink is aggressive and determined to makeher daughter independent by ensuring that she obtains all the skillsto survive by herself. During the drinking spree, Wink tellsHushpuppy a story about her mother, and the day that she wasconceived. The story within a story is important as it gives a roughpicture of what Hushpuppy’s mother is like. The story harbors a lotof hyperbolic illustrations like when Hushpuppy’s mother is said tohave been so beautiful that she did not even require to light up thestoves they lit by themselves when she passed by.
Thenext morning they rise to modify the house that they were living in.Hushpuppy recalls her teacher’s lesson that they ought not to sitdown idly waiting for the worst to happen to them, like the cavemendid. Instead, they ought to rise up and be active in findingthemselves a safe aboard. Hushpuppy actively helps men in building asthey all repair the place and put together they animals to evaluatehow food they have at their disposal, before the water level goesdown. They also plant a few crops in containers which the waterregularly. At some point, Hushpuppy’s tutor offers the children alesson on how to take care of one another in case one was not feelingwell. The tutor claims that the lesson is the most important one thatshe could ever teach to anyone.
Duringthe nights, Hushpuppy goes to look at his dad’s scar and wonders toherself why his dad would not talk to her about it. She sits outsidefacing the lake where she always sees a flashing light from afar. Sheconvinces herself that her mother must be residing in that place andalways begins a conversation with her in her thoughts. In themeantime, the fearless, ruthless animals are the rampage and aregetting close to the hideout where Wink, Hushpuppy and folks areresiding. Hushpuppy notes that it has been weeks and they must havenot fed on anything and they were therefore, very hungry as they wereclosing in. The huge animals even prey on their fellow animals asnarrated by Hushpuppy. She says that they are the kind of animalsthat feed on their moms and daddies.
Theymove around the waters after a few weeks where they find out thatalmost everything had died. Wink tries to catch fish but his attemptsare futile as he only fetches dead ones. Wink and two other men makeup a plan to break the Levee so that the water level would go down.The teacher is opposed to the idea and, therefore, Wink and hisfriends have to sneak out early in the morning with their explosives.They inform no one apart from Hushpuppy who greatly supports themove. The rest wake up to find them gone. The teacher sets out tofollow them and stop them from executing their plan. She arrives ontime and is able to get to the switch before it ignited theexplosive. Luckily, Hushpuppy has been hiding in the teacher’s boatand defies her pleas and sets off the explosive. The Levee is brokenand the water level goes back to normal. Hushpuppy remembers whereshe had hidden her medicines and fetches it to help her dad recover.However, Wink refuses to take the medicine even though his ailment isgetting worse by the day.
Thefollowing morning they wake up to a group of visitors: an evacuationteam that is out to help them get to safety and access medicalservices. However, the residents are adamant to leave and they haveto be forcefully driven out. They land in a medical facility wherethey find others who were ill and had arrived before them. At onepoint, Wink quarrels with a health attendant as Hushpuppy is givensnacks to feed on, something which he harshly detests. Hushpuppy isamazed by everything around her most remarkably being that she wasdisturbed by the fact that sick animals (people) had to be plugged tothe walls. She instead is keen to listen to the heart naturally, asopposed to the artificial methods that she came across. Her dadreceives medical attention but his disease was not curable, even withmodern science.
TheBathtub natives plan a breakout so that they could return to theirhomes. When Wink learns about it, he makes up his pretty fast andsmart. He lures the kids into believing that they had to run awaywith him. He leads them into a waiting bus so that they would betransported to safety. Hushpuppy realizes that her dad was planningto get rid of her and forces the driver to let her out. She headsback to her dad to question why he would such a thing. Wink explainsto her that his health condition would not allow him to look afterher, like he had done over the years. Hushpuppy adamantly refuses toleave his side giving his father the hope that he wouldn’t die itwas conviction that her father of all the other people would not diethat easily. Wink is helped up and they all head back to their homes.
Hushpuppysympathizes with her dad but has little to offer in form of aid. Shemakes up her mind to go and look for her mother, who allegedly swamaway when she was very young and small. They run off with her fellowgirlfriends into the water where they swim for miles before they getthe help of a boat that crosses their way. They are happily assistedby an old man who ferries them to the other shore. Here, there was arestaurant and they are guide inside where they meet many people,mostly women who are happy about their presence in that place. Thegirls are warmly welcomed and they each find a lady who takes care ofthem and dances with them as the songs play. Hushpuppy wonders at howgood the place looks until she bumps onto a lady who offers her someimportant tips about surviving in town. She makes her a good meal asshe watches and learns how it is prepared. This must be Hushpuppy’smother. They later dance together and Hushpuppy recounts of the timesshe had been lifted up and rested her head on someone’s shoulder.She then explains that she had to return home as her father neededher.
Hushpuppyand the three girls head back home to the Bathtub. Hushpuppy carriesa small box containing food so as to feed his dad with it. However,the most breathtaking event is that they are closely followed by theAurochs. Aware of their might and attitude, one shudders in terror inimagining what the Bathtub would look like in a few hours time. Thegirls safely arrive but the Aurochs get too close to them. Hushpuppyexhibits her courage and turns around to confront them. The animalsstop as they sniff at her and slowly lie down. Hushpuppy calls one ofthem a friend and explains that she needs time to take care of herbusiness. The huge animals, surprisingly, leave at the request of ayoung girl. Hushpuppy heads to her father’s bed and feeds him ofthe food she had carried from the town she had been too. Winkemotionally tears down and so does Hushpuppy.
Themovie ends as Hushpuppy and her father’s friends pay their lastrespect to wink after he passes away. Hushpuppy is sad but recollectsherself by encouraging herself that even after she dies, she willhave left a legacy of a life well-lived with her dad in the Bathtub.