The Piano, The Phallus, and Dinosaurs
I have to say that I am rather disappointed with the "approving comments" thing on this blog. Shouldn't people have the right to say anything without the judgement of others to decide what is ok to post? The reason I mention it is because I wrote a rather lengthy comment in regards to the Jurassic Park and The Piano piece that a classmate wrote, and it was rejected. Maybe my comment wasn't even received and I'm complaining for no reason, but regardless, I just wanted to comment on that.
Since I don't know what happened to my comment, I'm going to write it here.
In regards to the brilliant analysis of Sam Neill in Jurassic Park and The Piano made by Darth Nep0wix, I just wanted to draw it out further in terms of the power of the phallus and the castrated male. The reason I'm choosing to do this reading is because, like Mulvey and other feminist writers, psychoanalysis is always a fun theory to play with in film. In particular, Jacques Lacan's idea of the phallus as the signified power men are "supposed" to embody plays really well here. Freud's idea of castration and lack is important also. Keep in mind, "to castrate" is representative of gaining power back whereas "being castrated" is representative of losing power, lacking.
In both films, Sam Neill is a horribly castrated or lacking male. For instance, In Jurassic Park, he is quite tiny in comparison to the giant beasts that terrorize the people on the island. In The Piano, he is castrated by Ada because she does not consider him to be the ideal, and desirably masculine husband, she refuses to have sex with him. When playing with psychoanalysis in film, it is always a matter of either how the character is lacking (or castrated) or how/if the character will fulfill lack to become complete. For example, some feminist theorists say, women fulfill lack by overcompensating with a masquerade of femininity. The same can be said about men. As for Sam Neill in The Piano he relies on material objects to fulfill his lack: an axe to "castrate" his wife (taking her power away by cutting her finger off, cutting her voice off) or a gun to intimidate Georbe Baines. In Jurassic Park, it is pretty obvious when he comes into contact with beasts of such incredible phallic power. He leaves the island, barely alive because the power of the dinosaur phallus castrates him and the only choice he has to to leave their turf. EIther way, in both movies, he gives up his own phallic power to others of greater phallic power (naked George Baines-whose nudity almost stands as an image of total phallic power and Dinosaurs of beastly phallic power).
The Piano is such a great example of female power because Ada constantly chooses to do what she wants. She objectifies and castrates Sam Neill's character by objectifying his body and not allowing him to touch hers. Her silence, muteness, stands as a complete refusal to give into normal patriarchal power. In the end, she is able to learn to speak again as she is granted real "phallic" power when she marries the man she desires, and even regains her lost finger. Ada stands as the ultimate figure of "phallic" power.
(The reason why we use the patriarchal term "phallic" is a different question for a different blog.)