Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's a Hard-Knock Life

John Hustons Annie tells the story of the young orphan Annie and her adventures in the Big Apple, New York City. During the musical Annie is rescued from her horrible orphanage run by the evil Ms. Hannigan and is brought to live in the Warbucks mansion for a week. Through many musical song and dance numbers Annie lives her dream and finds a place in Mr.Warbucks heart then eventually gets adopted by him. Being a part of Annie: The Musical last year at my old high school (I played the part of Cecile the maid) I have come to love and understand the characters, songs, and the plot.
   From the beginning we are presented Annie, this super lovable, red haired, little girl. We immediately sympathize with her and the other orphans in the orphanage due to the way Ms.Hannigan acts towards them. It is obvious through the way she comforts little Molly that she has a big heart, a strong sense of leadership, and she dreams of a better life for everyone in the orphanage. One of Annies most admirable attributes is the way she refuses to give up, even when it looks like everything is down in the pits. Annie is almost always a positive source of energy. Her attitude towards the world is similar to the idea of the American Dream, a set of ideals where freedom in America includes the opportunities for prosperity and success through hard work and determination. Annie is basically the characterization of this idea and it is due to that fact that Annie is taken and adopted by the Warbucks in the end.
     Poverty and the Great Depression are main features of the film. We are brought to the two extremes of success in this film. From Miss Hannigans orphanage, where everything is basically nasty and rotten to the Warbucks Mansion, where there is everything from a tennis court to a swimming pool. In the song "It's a Hard-Knock Life" we are brought into the world of the lower class quite quickly and we are given a sense of the hard ships that those in that social class face. In the song "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" which is preformed when Annie first arrives at the Mansion  Annie sings "Used to room in a tomb where I'd sit and freeze" and it gives us the drastic difference between the two environments. Annie is not used to people being there, loving her, and doing things for her so at first she is confused on why she doesn't have to clean. This also goes along with the idea of the American Dream that if you work hard you will get what you deserve.
     Annie is a wonderful musical film that brings us into the world of the Great Depression and the life of a determined dreamer. It is a wonderful film that shows us that as long as you keep your head up and work hard, things will get better.


1 comment:

  1. CLARIFY: Overall your post is very clear, but it seems like from your opening paragraph your post will be about how you understand the characters, etc, not how the American Dream is a pervasive theme in the film as realized through the characters and plot, which is what I think you are ultimately concluding.

    VALUE: Overall very well written. I think your description of Annie's character is excellent! You definitely prove that she is the embodiment of this type of American Dream, and the optimism that many people feel when thinking about that concept. The idea that she never gives up - that's perfect. Very well said. Also great examples of the two songs you included.

    CONCERNS/SUGGEST: I feel like you still don't really explore the other side of the idea - how there are characters and situations in the film that are trying to not be like Annie (honest, hardworking, loving) and therefore contrary to this American Dream idea. I just think your analysis is kind of one note, and you are ignoring those other aspects of greed, poverty and wealth that pervade the film. Of course in doing this you'd prove your last point more - because the characters that are going about their American Dream through deceit and theft get in trouble at the end. But you also ignore what is missing from the prosperous Warbucks Estate (the thing that Annie brings them) - the idea that money means nothing when you don't have love.

    You also should have addressed the idea of "spectacle" in the musical numbers - certainly you touch on the idea that the two numbers you mention are "integrated" (though you don't explain that outright) but the post was also supposed to address the musical numbers from an analytic standpoint, too.

    I really like the fact that you pointed out your personal relationship to the musical, but a slight revision and rearranging would help to make it clear. Perhaps you leave that little bit until the very end of your post. Or perhaps you bring it up earlier in your opening paragraph.

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