Contrasting "the Black Girl" and "the Ballad of Noriyama"

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Symbolism varies from culture to culture. The messages of different factors are interpreted differently. Also, there are varying strengths to symbols within a culture. While suicide is a bold statement in any culture, it is represented in a variety of ways with many meanings. For instance in the movie "The Ballad of Norayama" suicide is looked upon as a good thing in that the old woman was helping the rest of the village to thrive. In a movie like "The Black Girl," suicide is the only option that the girl had, and she kills herself to make a point to her former mistress. Suicide has a negative connotation, but it is with that connotation that it serves its point. Some of the most striking points are made with the dramatic use of suicide. In "The Ballad of Norayama" and "The Black Girl" suicide is proposed in two different lights, and leaves the watcher with two different feelings about the significance and value of suicide.

In "The Black Girl," the conflict lies between the main character's need for freedom and her reality that she is basically in a slave position working for a family who treats her as such. It is apparent that the girl is unhappy, but her death at the end is shocking because it is so dramatic. The drama, such as it is, allows the audience to feel what the director was trying to accomplish. The audience realizes that the girl cannot go back to her family because she left in the first place to better herself, and if she were to go back she would be a disgrace to her family. She can't simply go looking for another family to nanny or be a housekeeper for because she is thouroughly unfamiliar with the country, given that her employers never gave her a day off. All of these factors weigh in and the girl feels tha...

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...eciate the need for population control in such dire circumstances. When there is barely any food to feed the majority of the people, the fewer mouths to feed the better.

"The Ballad of Norayama" uses suicide as a sort of religious process. The life that Orin gives to the god of the mountain is also a life that she gives to her family members as there is now one less person to take care of. Because the death was talked about throughout the film, it was less of a shock than in "The Black Girl" it still left the audience quiet and contemplative.

It is clear that suicide is used to prove bold points that could not otherwise be made. In "The Black Girl" suicide was used to shock the audience into realizing exactly how bad the conditions were for the main character. In "The Ballad of Norayama" suicide is used to show how traditions are in place for a function.
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