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Nellie's childhood imagined... 
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Broadway Legend
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Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2002 11:23 pm
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Post Nellie's childhood imagined...
Dear "South Pacific" Fans,

What sort of a childhood do you think that Nellie had?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
:?:

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Sat Sep 13, 2008 6:58 pm
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Broadway Legend / MdN Veteran
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This is a really good question.

Nellie, to me, is the girl who wanted to live in a fairy tale. The musical takes place during WW2 so it's safe to assume that she grew up during the advent of the ultimate and often definitive fairy tale created by Disney, Snow White. But I think that's what gives her that cock-eyed optimism. And she wants to find her prince, which comes (maybe a little differently than she might imagine) in the form of Emile.


Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:08 pm
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Chorus Member
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Keep in mind, too, that she's grown up in a Southern state in the 1930s/40s. She's probably never seen a dark-skinned person who wasn't a servant, waiter, or Pullman porter...and interracial relationships are RIGHT out. Which should help to explain why the thought of Emile's first wife--and his bi-racial children--sent her reeling.

A friend of mine admits she can't get behind Nellie's attitude, but I try to remind her that this was simply the way things were. Would Nellie ever be cruel to a black person? Probably not. But because of her upbringing, she's internalized the idea that blacks are naturally inferior. Or, to paraphrase Ethan Mordden in his excellent book on Rodgers and Hammerstein, she wears her racism unthinkingly, like her own skin, but once she has a chance to really think about it, she casts it aside.

It's a good writer that can create a sympathetic character who sometimes has unsympathetic attitudes...and make you understand why the character has them.

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Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:17 pm
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Tony Winner
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It was a childhood where the color of skin mattered vry much but if , say, you had killed someone, you didn't blink an eye.


Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:00 pm
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Tony Winner
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GungaDin wrote:
It was a childhood where the color of skin mattered very much but if, say, you had killed someone, you didn't blink an eye.


Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:32 pm
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