One of my favorite movies is Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. If you haven’t seen it, please do. I don’t want to ruin this piece of art for any of you . . . So I’ll just say, that without any disrespect meant to the great Japanese director, I’d posit that the main gist of the tale is a he-said she-said situation: a horrible event happens and we see it through four POVs. Some tellers of the story are deeply invested in their version of the events, others less so. But each iteration of the story is believable and therein resides one of the beauties of this cinematic study . . . .
I think I enjoyed Rashomon more than many of my college classmates when I first saw it because I’d already learned that messing with POVs could be fun. When I was in high school, I had a class where I wrote an impassioned paper about why arranged marriage was a stupid idea. I finished the assignment early and the teacher offered me extra credit to write an entirely new paper from the opposite POV. I did. And I loved throwing myself wholeheartedly into the different argument, finding its nuances and defending them as strongly as I’d done the first time round.
It was a good lesson in seeing the world from someone else’s perspective . . .
We all know Dorothy’s Midwestern school-girl take on Oz and we’ve gotten a different perspective in Wicked. But dow did the munchkins perceive this witch-killing giant with the flying house and motley crew of associates?
What would the story have been like if we’d known the true motivation behind the wolf’s attack in the Three Pigs? Maybe his long-time lover had left him and he had a death wish? Maybe those three pigs weren’t the angels we’re lead to believe . . . perhaps they were hoodlums, graffiti artists that had destroyed a bucolic mural the wolf had created the day before the unveiling.
What would Mrs. Rochester have to say about her life with Rochester in the West Indies? About his betrayal with Jane Eyre? About having to spend her life cooped up in a joyless room with the surly, coarse and frightening Grace Pool? Apparently, Jean Rhys has done it!
What was Helen’s perspective on the Trojan War and why it was really fought?
What would Mrs. Hudson’s story be about her upstairs tenant and his constant companion? Would she speculate about Sherlock Holmes’ sexuality? Would she kvetch about his messiness?
You get the idea.
Today, rather than a question, I’d like to loosen up our collective creativity, get it flowing for the new week. Are you up for it?
Task: Take a favorite story/narrative and give us another character’s POV. Let’s have fun with this!