Washing Women/Siren Scene
Direct link to the Odyssey
The washing women/siren scene displays various conceptual and character links to the Odyssey. This includes the concept of infidelity and deception, as well as characters such as Calypso, Circe, the sirens, the crew and Odysseus himself.
As Everett is in search of his wife, before she is wedded to a suitor, like in the Odyssey; but the concept of be loyal, in regards to the sirens in this scene, does not seem to be a present issue, also in the Odyssey. The concept of infidelity is addressed in the Odyssey, as that which only concerns women, which is also a constant concept, as Everett
Role in the Appropriation Storyline
The techniques that are used in this scene are specifically used to emphasise the links between the appropriation storyline and Homer??™s Odyssey, as well as to develop the main concepts addressed in the movie, O Brother Where Art Thou, itself. Certain techniques that have been used for these purposes include, colour association, positioning and framing, also music, sound and song, in addition to allusion and symbolism.
The main colours that are emphasised in this scene are in the surroundings. The autumn trees are dominant, as they are bright oranges, reds and yellows. These colours are associated with the idea of warmth and security. This is able to associate this idea as a contrast, and accentuate the false sense of security that sirens are able to lull men into.
Through the positioning and framing of characters, there is able to be focus and centre to the scene. An example of this is the opening point-of-view high angled shot, which centres and focuses on the sirens and are framed by the trees. This shot displays the isolation of the women, connecting this with the concept and desolation of sirens and the Odyssey.
Music, both song and background noises, play a major role in this scene. The lyrics that the sirens sing are important in the appropriation of the Odyssey as well as the relevance that it has to the storyline. The song can be interpreted in various ways; firstly having a seductive connotation, or in association with the context of the depression, or, finally, linking the scene with the Odyssey. Firstly, the seductive connotation is mainly established in the movement of the women as they sing. Secondly, the lyrics imply the struggles and results of the depression; this is evident is such lines as ???Everybodys gone in the cotton and the corn didn??™t leave nobody but the baby???. This suggests the idea that people had no other choices but to work on the fields on farms, as a result neglecting their children. The concept of neglected children, emphasises the absence of Everett in his family life. Which then leads to the link between the Odyssey and the movie, as the entire song is about a baby left alone. This is hinting at the character of Telemachus, and the absence of Odyssey and the lack of a father figure. Also, the concept of mythological Greek sirens is highlighted by the background noise, of birds and running water. Sirens were originally perceived to be bird-like creatures with their magical voices. Also the consistency of water not only in this particular scene, making the concept of sea sirens apparent; but also throughout the movie, links the concept of Poseidon??™s control in regards to Odysseus??™ journey, and while in this appropriation the oppression is not from gods but from the bank, it is able to hint at the original story. Finally, in regards to the impact that music is able to have on the scene, as we are introduced to the washerwomen there is a consistent, repetitious beating of the washing being hit against the rock, as a result producing the same noise that we are introduced to and that represents the chain gang throughout the movie, which is the sound of the rocks being broken. This then hints at the idea that the men are still running from the law, as well as at the concept that the are only falling into a situation where they have no control, like the chain gang.
Finally, symbolism is used in the form of washing. The sirens are washing, more specifically regarded as a women??™s chore at the time of the depression as the men went out to work, but also online essays for sale alludes to the idea of the Phaecian women in Homer??™s Odyssey.