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Relationships in "Bel Canto" and in "An Evil C

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Alannah Cranwell

on 5 October 2015

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Transcript of Relationships in "Bel Canto" and in "An Evil C

Relationships in "Bel Canto" and in "An Evil Cradling"
Hostage-captor relationships
Relationships are created forcefully
Hostages have no choice in their interactions
Captors have the superior role within the relationship
Hostage-outside world relationship
Bel Canto
Written by Ann Patchett
Published in 2001
Written in third person ominous narrative
Based on the Japanese embassy hostage crisis that took place in December 1996
14 terrorists took over
Inter-hostage relationships
Bel Canto
Bel Canto
Held 72 hostages for 4 months
An Evil Cradling
Autobiography written by Brian Keenan
Published in 1992
Written in first peron narrative
Recounts his time as a lecturer of English at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon
Taken hostage by Shi'ite militia
Held for 4 1/2 years in variety of captivity locations and conditions
What effect did the hostage crisis have on the formation and growth of relationships between characters in "Bel Canto" and in "An Evil Cradling"?
Hostages bond together due to their shared experience
Completely understand what each other is going through
Form relationships in an effort to have human friendship and companionship in such frightening situations

Katsumi Hosokawa & Roxanne Coss
Katsumi Hosokawa & Gen Watanabe
Simon & Edith Thibault
Roxanne Coss & Tetsuya Kato
An Evil Cradling
Brian Keenan and John McCarthy
Gen Watanabe & Carmen
Gen Watanabe & Generals
Roxanne Coss & Carmen
General Benjamin & Katsumi Hosokawa
An Evil Cradling
Bel Canto
Joachim Messner
An Evil Cradling
Intellectual match

Occupy their time by playing each other in chess

Do not belong to the same social classes that would allow them to play together outside of the hostage crisis
"...Mr. Hosokawa and General Benjamin played chess for hours at a time..." (p.227, Ch. 8)
"General Benjamin was a good chess player, but he was no better than Mr. Hosokawa." (p.228, Ch.8)
Gen acts as translator for all of the captors conversations with the hostages

Only obliged to translate for conversations involving Mr. Hosokawa
"...Tetsuya Kato, a vice president at Nansei whom Gen had known for years...began to play." (p. 126, Ch. 4)

"From all over the house, terrorist and hostage alike turned and listened and felt a great easing in their chests." (p. 127, Ch. 4)
Unlikely pairing - Kato had never publicly played nor told anyone of his secret hobby

Created a pleasant distraction that brought joy to all

Connected all the characters together, forgetting about their roles (terrorist or hostage)
Accidental relationships formed as the captors had come for the President, not any of their hostages
""We are not here to kill people. We are here to take the President and to go."" (p. 82, Ch. 3)
"Traductor...Traductor" (p. 40, Ch. 2)

"Gen Watanabe, the young man who worked as Mr. Hosokawa's translator,..." (p. 14, Ch. 1)
Kindly offers his services for all who need it

Strangely being generous to the terrorists who caused this situation - fear of punishment
Gen worked as Mr. Hosokawa's translator for many years

Changed from an obligatory working relationship to one of mutual friendship, love, and respect
"Gen was so central to the way he thought now that Mr. Hosokawa forgot sometimes he didn't know the languages himself, that the voice people listened to was not his voice" (p. 18, Ch. 1)
Took advantage of their marriage outside in the busy world while living in France, but began to appreciate each other in this new country
"Simon Thibault had loved his wife, though not always faithfully or with a great deal of attention...he felt that old sensation, the leaping of his heart, the reckless flush of desire...he was breathless" (p. 36, Ch. 2)
Hostages' and captors' only direct contact with the outside world
""Tell them I will act as their liason."" (p. 41, Ch. 2)
"Imprisonment would be something else altogether without you." (p. 134, Ch. 5)

"He was a comfort to her. In the absence of language..." (p. 155, Ch. 5)
A kiss in so much loneliness was like a hand pulling you up out of the water, scooping you up from a place of drowning and into the reckless abundance of air." (p. 207, Ch. 7)
"Now that Roxanne knew Carmen was a girl she let her sit on the bed with her and drink out of her cup...liked to braid Carmen's hair...only thing that made any sense at all to her." (p. 162, Ch. 6)
""He is a great man, your friend,"..."I have always thought so"" (p. 211, Ch. 7)
"...for Simon Thibault...wearing his wife's blue wrap like a flag. Everyone knew that Thibault was in love." (p. 212, Ch. 7)

"And Simon Thibault, who even in his sleep thought of nothing but his wife." (p. 305, Ch. 10)
"Both parties were intractable...the government was always intractable, no matter what the country, what the circumstances. The government did not give in...you could count on it. As Messner saw it, it was his job not to hammer out a compromise but merely to steer them clear of a tragedy. There wasn't much time left for this work." (p. 296-297, Ch. 10)
Hosokawa's generous nature started their relationship
Overcame the language barrier between them - desperate for connection and love
Provided each other with comforting presence
Relationship would not have blossomed if not for constant, enclosed contact in mansion
"Mr. Hosokawa was in love with Roxanne...the way she chooses him. She's always sitting with him and they can't even talk. He's so peaceful. She would want to be with him." (p. 202, Ch. 7)
"She thought of Katsumi Hosokawa...and she wondered how it was possible to love someone you couldn't even speak to." (p. 238, Ch. 8)
Separation strengthened their relationship - became more grateful and more cognizant of how good their relationship has been
Began as a secret - teaching Carmen literacy
""Teach me to read...teach me to make my letters in Spanish"" (p.158, Ch. 5)
Unlikely pairing - captor usually older and malicious towards hostages
"Gen was in love with Carmen...he dreamed of Carmen...yes, a terrorist from the jungle...who dresses as a boy...the women you love puts her gun beside a blue gravy boat at night so that you can teach her to read....came into your life through an air conditioning vent..." (p. 203, Ch. 7)

"Carmen forgot, too. She did not remember her direct orders to form no emotional bonds to the hostages." (p. 304, Ch. 10)
Both aware of unusual and uncertain circumstances = relationship developed rapidly
"There needed to be whole days together. There needed to be weeks and months of uninterrupted time to say all the things that needed to be said...Carmen leaned forward and kissed him. There was no time for kissing, but she wanted him to know that in the future there would be." (p. 207, Ch. 7)
Companionship offered distraction from their situation's inevitable outcome
Developed a familial-type bond - welcome distraction for them both
Spent time together due to the nearly non-existent female population within the mansion
"...they were sisters, girlfriends, the same. They were happy together when it was just the two of them alone." (p. 162, Ch. 6)
Representative of the Red Cross
"The sign of the Red Cross...stood for peaceful neutrality...They did not spy...would have no more told the terrorists what the military had planned than he would tell the military what was happening on the other side of the wall." (p. 297, Ch. 10)
Acted as the voice of reason between both parties
Brian Keenan and other prisoners
Patchett, Ann. London, Harper Collins, 2002. Print.
Bel Canto.
Kennan, Brian. London, Vintage, 1993. Print.
An Evil Cradling.
the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru
Rapidly formed friendship - spoke same language in foreign setting

Unlikely pairing - contrasting backgrounds (N Ireland vs. England)

Friendly banter acted as distraction from dismal circumstances

Companionship comforted and strengthened one another

Established close bond through shared experiences
"...the suppressed joy of being able to speak to someone, to have a meaningful conversation...made us both very relaxed." (p. 99, On the Move)
"I was very grateful that this man was so different from me; without knowing it he was an enrichment to me." (p. 123, The Emperor's New Clothes)
"...constant competition for hours and hours each day...fierce competition we insisted on maintaining was full of vicious but good-humoured banter." (p. 114, Abed's Hotel)
"...no matter what happened we must not be separated. Our strength lay in one another." (p. 143, The House of Fun)
"That night, I prayed for my companion's safety and comfort as I knew he would be doing for me." (p. 168, The Hammam Mail)
Disregarded their backgrounds - desperately needed to feel united in their mutually shared experience

Tried to ally together against the captors in any way they could

Communication acted as a coping mechanism

Established strong connection - greatly appreciated each other's company
"That coming together over the long months and the years that lay ahead was the remaking of humanity and the re-creation of a meaningful future that seemed to have been stolen from us." (p. 105, Abed's Hotel)
"Those men with whom we had spent so much time and whom we had come to know with such intimacy had left a deep impression on us." (p. 314, Back to Beirut)
"We all need the reassurance of a human voice and the touch of another human to make those words of comfort meaningful and real." (p. 188, The Hammam Mail)
"...his own version of the deaf and dumb alphabet...like learning to read and write again...Our hands became our mouths. They danced in the air, telling silent stories and jokes." (p. 176, The Hammam Mail)
Formed using violence
Forcefully began their interactions with Brian - one sided effort

Immediately took away his freedoms

Isolated him - language barrier
"The driver with a hand pistol and three other young men in their mid-twenties, each with a Kalashnikov in his hand and a hand gun in his belt..." (p. 29, Kidnapped)
"...my first blindfold was my father's shirt, tied tightly around my head...feel them scrape against my skin...restrained me..." (p. 32, Kidnapped)
"...the voices of my captors in a disembodied language which I didn't understand but could hear being spoken, being whispered, being shouted beyond the walls of my cell." (p. 34, Kidnapped)
Contrast between guards' behaviour
Aggressive and violent
Casual and courteous
Constantly beat up and tortured the prisoners

Used extreme measures during prisoner punishment

Made obvious to all prisoners their violent tendencies

Lost all respect from prisoners - ruthless
"The Grim Reaper...frequent beatings...kick and beat and scream at some unfortunate..." (p. 45, Jailhouse Rock)
"They had tried to torture him with wires connected to a car battery." (p. 188, The Hammam Mail)
"...heard the sounds of a man being beaten...try to block out the sounds of the blows landing on naked flesh and the smothered moans of a man in pain." (p. 193, The Great White Safari)
"This man had ceased to have an element of humanity. I could not consider him human. Twice now he had beaten me and sought to humiliate me..." (p. 227, Rape)
Acted kindly towards the prisoners - attempted to make their imprisonment as pleasant as possible

Enjoyed looking after the prisoners

Acting respectfully towards prisoners
"...they would attempt to tell jokes..." (p. 105, Abed's Hotel)
"...announcing light-heartedly 'Abed's Hotel is now open'...great pleasure in cooking us different meals on each of the days he was there...he enjoyed coming to 'care for us'" (p. 105, Abed's Hotel)
"Another guard spoke in the most polite English. He was extremely well mannered..." (p. 105, Abed's Hotel)
Inhumane treatment of prisoners
Similarities to treatment of animals

Provided the bare minimal survival necessities

Completely defenseless and vulnerable to all treatment inflicted upon them
"The guards came to wash us and to feed us, much as one does with animals..." (p. 46, Jailhouse Rock)
"Then those cries of pain becoming screams of a kind of animal helplessness...This was a man being tortured." (p. 50, Jailhouse Rock)
"...an apple being thrown through the bars above my head...The way a zoo keeper throws food at the animals. I would never eat this food. I felt the humiliation of it and the humiliation made me angry." (p. 56, Jailhouse Rock)
Prisoners had very little contact with the outside world - valued all that they had

Connection through newspaper - learned of actions of country's government

Any actions taken by home country's government preserved their hope that their situation would eventually come to an end

Arrival of letter strengthened their optimistic hopes - provided much needed motivation and reassurance that they would be released
"...the Irish government had placed a large advertisement in the local Arabic newspaper...appealing to my kidnappers for my release." (p. 43, Jailhouse Rock)
"Our hopes soared...convinced that this was directly related to our imprisonment." (p. 179, The Hammam Mail)
"A piece of paper was put into my hands...addressed to 'the Irish Hostage'...a signal that something might be happening...The letter, whoever it came from, was mannah from heaven. Whatever bruises or pain I felt were extinguished instantly." (p. 276-277, Letter From Home)
Throughout my presentation, I have shown that unique relationships were formed between the characters due to the hostage crisis portrayed in both these novels, and that they evolved based on how the hostage crisis developed.
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