Appearances vs Reality in Eve’s Bayou
Mignon Adeloye PLS – 392-98 Seminar in Humanities Professor Amanda Putnam Appearance vs Reality – The Literary Devices in Eve’s Bayou Using clever antics writer and director Kasi Lemmons takes her audience on a very provocative journey through the posturing of an upper middle class Creole family literally coming undone by the pull of the truth and appearances. With a patriarch appearing to suffer from all the pitfalls of his profession as a medical physician whose charisma casts spells on countless numbers of female patients and whose character spirals both he and his loved ones into the inescapable grasp of tragedy.
An elegant southern belle like, wife who suffers the lot of women who are so entrenched in their roles as mothers and dutiful wives they scarcely have any presence as individuals, existing in the shadows of their husbands suffering in silence for the trappings of the privileged lifestyles they live at the cost of love. Next the aspect of female children, who seem to nearly hate and also profoundly love one another while seemingly wanting not to share their parents with each other, is a powerful issue in this film.
Then there is finally, Mozelle who just as her brother Louis seems almost as if to be a pied piper of men as much as Louis is of women. They each seem the male and female mirror image of one another. Mozelle, causes the men in her life the conflict that victimizes them to their very death, in much the same way as her brother Louis is victimized by his passion for other women including the wife of Lenny Mereaux. In the end Mozelle watches her brother suffer the same victimization the men in her life ultimately see their end by, because of their unchecked love and lust.
Lemmons presents each of these dynamics as connected to the underlying motivation that pulls and tares away at the core fiber of this family. Finally in the ultimate confrontation that occurs through Louis the facades are all ripped away, leaving the gritty truths which the characters in this story seem desperate to avoid facing. Lemmons presents this journey as she does to bring her audience face to face with the appearances and the harsh realities of the lives of the members of this family which might be the appearance and harsh realities of any family. Cleverly Lemmons presents a thread woven throughout the film in not so subtle messages.
Enter Eve Batiste presenting tempting treats, chocolate covered sweets, handsomely arrayed in a beautiful golden box, which she presents as if laden with mouth watering treasures to be party favors for all who will partake of them. Instead, these tempting treats are actually chocolate covered figs, the flavor and texture of which might not be as tempting to the taste as they might look. Eve offers them first to an adult; her Uncle Harry, whose remarks give the impression that despite the gritty texture, the flavor was not entirely unpleasant, at least to him.
Contrary to his response, when Eve’s brother Po, is presented with these sweets, largely out of Eve’s angry reply for her brother receiving what Eve thought to be a needlessly auspicious greeting from their mother, which was in contrast to the way that Eve was by her mother at her entrance to the festivities. [ (Samuel L. Jackson) ] Within the context of this scene Lemmons has introduced some powerful conflicts and caused some strong assumptions to ferment in the minds of her audience.
First of all Eve making herself the purveyor of sweet treats that contain such conflicted ingredients as figs covered in chocolate is more than a statement, it is a declaration of sorts. The very gritty texture of fig being deceivingly camouflaged with creamy milk chocolate makes a statement about appearances. That a character named Eve is the panderer of such deceptive treats also brings a rather biblical connotation of sorts to mind. When you consider the aspect the fig in terms of some of the historical meaning of figs.
Adam and Eve used portions of the fig tree foliage to cover themselves with. fig leaves in order to hide their nakedness from an omniscient creator from whom they could not hide anything, a new level of suggestion is added to the dialogue of devices employed by Lemmons. The fact that Adam and Eve attempted to use the foliage of the fig tree to help to hide the evidence of their deeds is profound. In this case, the hidden treasure is the flesh of the fig fruit, but in the case of Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden the hidden treasure was their flesh and disobedience.
In the case Of Eve’s Bayou the actions being covered and veiled, are the commission of infidelity which will be revealed in Louis, Matty and Louis’s sister Mozelle. They each live double lives, covering their actions with appearances in much the same way the flesh of figs are presented covered by milk chocolate. This seems to bare some relationship also to the aspect of forbidden fruit considering the fact that a fig is quite a unique fruit. According to the University of Purdue website; Ficus Carica is a botanical with a unisex flower.
In a process of absolute uniqueness, it is said that when the flowers of this fruit blooms they do so inside a structure that is a kind of long stem open ended corridor which being hollow, allows the entry of a specialized insect. This insect is a Fig Wasp and the facilitator of pollination of the internal unisex flowers of the fig fruit by way of these insects’ actions eggs become fertilized by its mate. [ (Morton) ]In the case of the Fig fruit, which unlike most fruit the edible structure is matured ovary tissue.
The fig fruit has an inverted flower with both male and female flower parts enclosed in stem tissue. The structure is seen botanically as a synconium. [ (McEachern) ] At full growth the interior of the fig contains only the remains of these flower structures, including the small gritty structures usually called seeds. Supposedly, these so-called seeds are simply the unfertilized ovaries that failed to develop, and they result in what horticulturists refer to as the resin-like flavor associated with figs. (Morton) ] There is an aspect in the nature of figs, which is reflected in the reality masking of “keeping up appearances”. The aspect of the fig flowers structure and its self contained corridor allowing for the secrecy of sex/pollination hearkens to the aspect of the secret liaisons between Louis and Matty and the love triangles of relationship memories Mozelle gives oral histories of in Chapter 18’s scene with reflections regarding Maynard and Hosea. There is also a whole healing aspect to the fig. “Figs are referred to as restorative”. K & W Farms)This fruit is said to be one of the best foods that can be eaten by those who are brought low by long sickness and are on the way to recovery. Figs are said to “increase the strength of young people, preserve the elderly in better health and make them look younger with fewer wrinkles”. (K ; W Farms) It is said that the early Greeks so highly prized fig fruit, that they considered it an honor to bestow the foliage and flesh on others. Another little known fig fact is that during the original Olympic Games, winning athletes were crowned with fig wreaths and given figs to eat. Morton) Perhaps a fig being coated with chocolate is a reference to the aspect of honoring others but maybe also going back to the biblical connotations it is referential of the covering of one’s indiscretions. When you consider the way the fig flower is pollinated in such a very clever methodology use of the fig makes a clever statement and association. Fig is a fruit that is said to grow abundantly is environments with standing water, such as would be plentiful in Louisiana’s Bayou.
Either way a subtle yet clear message is inferred regarding the attributes of fig in direct reflection to the afflictions of the characters in this story. In the juxtaposing the dynamics of her characters to fig like attributes and also contrasting the profoundly in-similar ingredients in the treats Eve presented, the smooth richness of chocolate with the gritty course flesh of the fig, ironically a similarity to life seems to resonate, gritty realities that lay just beneath sometimes beautiful facades that give powerful clues of what lies just past the surfaces in the lives of the Batiste Family.
Lemmons uses strong situational conflicts to paint colorful appearances juxtaposed against the true reality of the relationships in this story. For instance, after presenting Lenny and Matty Mereaux appearing to be very much in lust with one another and maybe in love, in one of the first scenes, the Mereaux’s appear almost intoxicated with their desire for one another. [ (Samuel L. Jackson) ] Perhaps there is a point to be made by the dance of Matty and Lenny Mereaux; they are dancing to their own tune, not the music that is clearly playing in the background of this scene.
In fact, rather than dancing, it literally seems as if they are engaging in a kind of public intimacy with one another. While other guests are dancing in a way that is not just appropriate for being in public but also for the Zydeco like rhythms of the music playing, in the background, the Mereaux’s are dancing to what they are feeling, and to the music of their bodies. The point that appears to be intended by this is that of fidelity between a man and a woman, but that is merely the appearance, nothing could be further from the truth for this man and this woman, to say the least.
This display of bodily melding seems, based on later actions of Mrs. Mereaux seems to be more of a signal, a message or a calling card being left to some unnamed respondent, as well as, also to the audience watching the activity unfolding before their eyes. The Batiste siblings have all joined the festivities after the first few scenes of the film and they along with their mother, aunt and uncle as well as others become on lookers and witnesses to a blatant almost foreplayish interaction between Louis Batiste and Matty Mereaux.
Uttering to Matty for all to see, hear and perhaps speculate about, in a very flirty and lascivious manner, Louis declares to Matty “you in trouble now”. He speaks these words meaning them both literally and symbolically, Louis presented a kind of verbal challenge and reply to Matty’s own messaging which was literal and figurative in the way that she’d danced with her husband and was being beaconed by Louis to dance with him a man who is not her husband in the literal sense, but as is revealed later is in the carnal sense.
Based on the wild eyed gaze they both give one another there is clearly a dialogue going on between them; in dance, in the flirtation, in the heavy sexuality the is oozing from every gesture and movement. Louis spoke his words as if to say for daring to engage in the dialogue of dance, the consequences would be duly dispensed and presented to Matty. It seems a very strong innuendo stirring both overtly and subtly between the two, in plain view of all the onlookers including Louis’s family and friends, as well as, Matty’s husband Lenny.
Matty was not simply going to be put to the test of a vigorous dance in front of the party guests, but she also has a private dance to do with Louis also. They engaged in the dance as a sort of public foreplay and preparation for what they will do when out of the spotlight and with the gaze of everyone present obstructed by their absence. Curiously, both Lenny and Roz among the onlookers, each appear to be rather pleased with their spouses’ brazen behaviors.
Roz in particular gazes as if granting her approval for the unabashed flirtation of both Matty and Louis with one another. Matty and Louis finish their dance, their flirtation and the titillation of not just one another, but clearly their spouses and possibly even others among the crowd, as implied by the comments to Roz by a woman who admonishes her; “Roz look at your husband. ” [ (Samuel L.
Jackson) ] No sooner than Matty and Louis had firmly planted speculation in the minds of all who were willing to receive it, Louis takes the floor with his eldest daughter Cisely and now appears transformed into a doting father basking in the glow of the budding womanhood of his adolescent daughter. A song plays in the background, that seems to send a message of sorts by way of its lyrics which include the following; “I pretend I’m loving you”, “I pretend I’m loving you, what else can do? ”, “What else can I do? ” “Cause um loving, um so in love with you now. ” [ (Samuel L.
Jackson) ] The song and its lyrics are very suggestive given the situation. Louis has just unbeknownst to almost everyone there finished a dance with his current lover and is using the dance with his daughter to re-veil himself in the cloak of fatherhood and being a good family man, performing as it were, a sort of rights of passage with his adolescent almost womanly daughter. It seems fitting as a number of the onlookers where doing just exactly as the lyrics admonished; pretending perhaps that they were loving Louis or even perhaps imagining the innocence and forbidden fruit of a womanly child such as Cisely in their minds.
As it is later revealed, from Cisely’s own actions, perhaps she, Louis’s own eldest daughter is as she dances with him, fathoming taboo pretenses in her own mind given her very profound adoration for her father. Here too, Lemmons astutely using every mechanism possible to build her story telling by way of her characters and the conflicts, takes advantage of the music of the era as part of her clever technique.
Not only where there a significant number of onlookers gazing at Louis with lust, but Lemmons presents that even his own wife and child appear to be engaging in a kind of imaginary trysts in their minds perhaps the object of which being stepping forward boldly in a gesture to save Louis from himself. Gazing and perhaps wishing, imagining that the love that they could give would settle Louis’s wandering heart while quieting the longings that they themselves silently struggled to subdue. Though they loved Louis they in fact were not availed of the privilege of sharing a place in the spotlight with him.
The attention of Louis towards them was very fleeting and impermanent; they were availed of it for nothing more than brief moments. This was the case for Cisely though she was dancing with her father and also for Eve and Roz though not even asked by Louis to dance. If Roz gazed as if pleased with Louis’s dance with their eldest child, Eve’s gaze was the essence of venom and envy at the sight of Cisely enjoying the place in the spotlight with their father she so fervently desired. She wanted to enjoy her father’s affections and bask in the spotlight of his attention that seemed to be all but inaccessible for her.
At her father’s approach Eve gazed in pleasure, until realizing that in fact she was not the one who was to join her father in his next dance. The profound rivalry that appears to be in Eve’s heart for not just her older sister but her younger brother becomes all too obvious. Less obvious is why Lemmons includes these details in the minutiae she provides to her audience. Perhaps this is yet another tactic being used to draw focus towards the evident disparity between the appearances among the Batiste Family vs. the realities.
These appearances are pointed up in a night scene in which the girls have clearly waited up for their father’s arrival home. Cisely greets her father after he enters the house, poised to play bar tender when suddenly, enter Eve joining them at the obvious displeasure of Cisely. Rushing down the stairs to her father, Eve bounces into his arms and almost acrobatically, an adoring child embracing him, her undivided attention riveted on him. They both in a child’s “daddy’s home excitement” openly exhibit their displeasure at the sight of their father’s undivided attention being drawn away from them, each time it occurs.
It seems like there is a meaning to this clear device that is used to perhaps present connection between Louis’s roving eye and his wandering affections for women in comparison to his conflicted effort to be everything to his young girls. Lemmons using this play of rivalry between Eve and Cisely brings to the attention of the audience the displeasure each of the budding little women in Louis’s life exhibit at being unable to hold his focus on them for more than minutes at a time.
It suggests his inability to settle his attentions and affections with the only women he had a right to have a wandering eye for, his wife. Perhaps this is a statement also regarding the absence of the ability of even Louis’s lovers to hold his undivided attention and for his wife to hold it also for more than just briefly before Louis’s focus is locked on to the longing for the excitement of his next conquest. This aspect of un-kept sole attention seems to make early appearance as a kind of longing in the Batiste females.
Eve not only gazed grudgingly on her mother’s public display of affection for her younger sibling, but she appears disheartened by what she sees even with her Father towards her older sibling Cisely. During Sunday family dinner, Eve engages a dialogue of almost verbal blackmail towards her father when he appears to come to the defense of her older sibling when her grandmother addresses Cisely’s back-talk towards her mother. Annoyed with her father’s protective one towards Cisely, Eve protests, her being spared their grandmother’s wrath and brings her displeasure to her father’s attention uttering; “you let her threaten me! ” In response to this, Louis gazes over his reading glasses with an expression much like the expression he gave to Eve at the close of the Chapter 11. , of the “House Calls” scene; during which Eve so cross examined Louis that he clearly realizes she is cognoscente and putting everything she see’s together in her mind.
Such disconcertion washes over Louis’s demeanor, that the twitch of his bottom lip was faintly evident, possibly as he puts together the thought of the astute awareness and intuitive grasp of the hidden truth well beyond her years in his oh so young daughter Eve. Despite this fact Louis manages to skillfully send Eve on her way without her noting his intention that she no longer have the opportunity ply her trade at his expense, as he visited his patients during an ebb in his house calls route.
Contrary to that experience during house calls, Sunday dinner put Louis in a position of vulnerability and gave the control to Roz with her objections, and Eve with her acquisitive tone using words literally right from Louis’s own mouth, when she repeated the words “some sickness is hard to put a finger on”. Louis is literally and symbolically putting it all together in his mind and feels placed at a disadvantage and respond to this by quickly taking his leave, saying he had patient’s to see. This scene literally in action and words seems to pit the Batiste females against the Batiste Patriarch; Louis.
Before Louis is able to make his exit from the stressful exchange, Roz posses a question to him as if continuing Eve’s cross examination of him asking; “Which one of your patients you going to see? ”, to which Louis retorts “ Woman go get your palm read and let me do my work”. This scene offers up one of the few instances of Roz’s divulging of the true nature of the relationship between her and Louis. She displays the first signs of her unexpressed awareness of Louis’s wandering eye and his way with the women most of which might be his patient’s.
Glimpses of trouble in the relationship between Roz and Louis are first hinted at in Chapter 10 Eavesdropping during this scene the action starts with Eve and Mozelle returning after a walk to find Roz seated head in her hands, crying. A sudden scene shift occurs when Mozelle requests of Roz, “What is it now? ” The next dialogue includes Roz yelling hysterically, “I said well I got three of his dam children,” “How dare that women call this house. ” These words need little further explanation or additional details given the level of emotion from Roz.
It is clear based on the utterance or “how dare that woman call this house” that Roz had encountered a female with whom Louis is more than a physician to. It is also clear that Roz though she has shown little evidence of it previously, does have some concerns regarding Louis’s inferred infidelities. Ironically, instead of Roz coming out and immediately confronting Louis, she joins her energy with that of her mother and sister-in-law and they hold court regarding the fact that an unidentified female has called the Batiste home and caused some implication that Louis has in fact been unfaithful.
Based on Roz’s crying and the hysterical yelling she engages in, it is clear that she has some profound concerns regarding what is going on with husband. Only late into the film does Roz begin to show signs of unspoken concern regarding Louis’s long hours and seeming dedication to the heath of his patients. However, during the scene at the Sunday dinner table Roz does appear to question Louis’s urgency to see patient’s of all times on a Sunday.
When presented with Roz’s questioning as if to mean, are you really checking on patients on Sunday? , Louis retorts to her, “Well when you find a way to put sickness on an eight (8) hour five (5) day a week schedule you let me know. ” To which Roz retorts, “Well what’s wrong with um they can’t wait a day? ” This is the first direct resistance that Lemmons presents her audience with from Roz to Louis’s indifference towards her. Roz asserting herself as a concerned spouse seems to say Sunday is your day with your family, not your patients.
With this Lemmons has presented Louis’s relationship with his patient’s as usurping the authority of his duty, obligation and importance of his family. Though she speaks to the obvious power and significance that Louis appears to have given his supposed work, and his patients, Lemmons seems to do so for the impact Louis’s absence has not simply on his wife but also his relationship with the children born to his marriage. Here, Roz addresses the effects of Louis’s being married seemingly to his work and patients and not his life with his wife, but also his non-commitment to his children.
In yet another, scene Louis returning home is greeted just past the door by Cisely, who quickly tells her father that her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, appear annoyed with him. They are seated in the parlor together as if three queens, holding court. Louis clearly having little fear of any consequences from the women’s anger, pokes his head in to see them and just as quickly as he does so he utters in reply to Cisely’s “who them, they’re always mad”. This exchange says a lot about how these women responded to Louis and how Louis did to them.
Clearly Louis, saw himself in a position of powerfulness and not powerlessness. Because of the very comfortable life he provided for his family Louis clearly thought himself veritably unstoppable, and invincible in the situation. Glaring an almost patronizing smile at them he appears to just as quickly and he came, leave continuing his house calls. With this scene Lemmons seems to make a statement regarding gender roles and social practices that guide the gender power and differences between men and women possibly at the time this film is set in, which is the early 60’s.
Yet another aspect of her working with appearances and reality. Here too she juxtaposes appearances against the real reality which was that the 60’s were a very racially charged time and African American’s even of Creole ancestry would not in large numbers have been likely to be living as they are depicted in this film at this time. Introducing the magic of voodoo and the history it holds worldwide as a cornerstone of the Louisiana Bayou Lemmons makes by way of the actions of her characters strong use of some very taboo social mores to address the dysfunctions of the Batiste family.
Surprisingly, Roz takes the admonishing that Louis gave to her in telling her to “ get your palm read”. While visiting the fisherman warp Roz and Mozelle have their fortunes told by Ms. Elzora a supposed witch, who tells Roz to look to her children. [ (Samuel L. Jackson) ] This seems interesting considering given the limited experience of the children, they seemed to be more knowledgeable about the real truth of Louis’s double life than Roz was as Louis’s wife.
Mozelle just like Louis lived a double life, though it might have appeared that she had been a happily married woman with all three of the loves she recalls. Mozelle often made statements regarding herself and Louis being “two of a kind. ” Unlike, Louis Mozelle’s loves had all resulted in the heartbreak of irrevocable separation in death. Unlike, Mozelle’s Louis’s, wandering eye was less about the loneliness he felt than the power he got from meeting the needs of others, in particular lonely women.
This fact runs parallel to what had been Louis’s experience as a womanizer. Lemmons makes an insightful commentary on male and female relationships and sexual freedom during the early 60’s with the context she places on Mozelle’s relationships with men in direct juxtaposition to Louis relationships with Roz, Matty as a kind of unacknowledged menage et tois they were part of although Roz who was not a willing or even aware participant in this aspect of the relationship Louis carried on with Matty.
Mozelle seemed much more truthful and open in her relationships, a fact that is demonstrated in her memory of Maynard and Hosea in which she describes how she stood ready to leave her husband behind and go away with her lover. This is the polar opposite of the approach both Louis and Roz took to their relationship with one another, they seemed to deal with it both figuratively and literally like the fig flower being hidden and not visible with a presence not outwardly acknowledged. Based on the scenes they seemed to have very little direct interaction with one another.
Not only did Louis not dance with Roz in the one social scene during the film at the party, very little of the interaction between Roz and Louis seemed as if of a loving married couple. Theirs seems a marriage of routine and expediency; Roz keeping the household and children nurtured and Louis making the living so that the home and children could be maintained. Lenny and Matty as well, also appeared to be living their own version of denial of the truth and a blurred line between faithfulness and infidelity that lurked in the secrecy of unacknowledged relationships.
Lenny’s almost casualness regarding his long distance work he does, seems almost as if he just as Matty could carry on a clandestine relationship and no one ever be the wiser because of the double life he too has the potential to live as a remote professor at a Louisiana college and a frequently absent husband to his wife Matty. It seems that there was the presence of two sidedness in each of the lives and relationships these couples carried on.
They each in their own way were engaged in lifestyles that were not the norm and in their own ways they were living counter to the culture, in their attitudes regarding extra marital affairs, they were embracing the aspect of possessing something that is not theirs to have. Eve’s visit to the farmer’s market offers yet another rich device with which Lemmons effortlessly plays off of the undeniable impact of words and images, appearance and reality in the case forbidden fruit or things taken that were not her right to have.
Eyes riveted on table after table of fresh fruit, as if mulling her selection over in her mind. Eve seems to be deciding what of the bounty before her, she would decide to purchase and take home with her. In one moment she morphs from a thoughtful eye-buyer, into a novice thief picking up a pineapple and unsuccessfully attempting an escape. As suddenly as her decision was made to take the fruit and run, the menacing persona of Ms. Elzora appears and in an indicting voice declaring to Eve, “Bad Girl”, “Bad Girl, little pineapple thief! Laden in this occurrence, is the re-appearance of the notion of “forbidden fruit”, and also perhaps un-acknowledged guilt, Eve decided that she would lay claim to something that was not hers to possess, in much the same way that both Louis, Matty and even Eve’s aunt Mozelle by virtue of their infidelities had been guilty of doing. In this attempt at theft by Eve the director is brining into the dynamics of the story the negative effects of things that are taken unlawfully. Given the actions of Louis, Matty and Mozelle, this indictment could easily have been directed at either of them.
For Louis and Matty after their rendezvous in the carriage house, and Mozelle when her lover arrived at her home brandishing a gun with which he killed Mozelle’s husband Maynard. Clearly any one of them could be labeled “bad” based on their disregard for matrimony even surprisingly Cisely could and should be added to the list of the guilty. Yes, even Louis’s adolescent daughter could see the indictment of “bad girl” placed on her actions the night her father returned home slightly drunk and Cisely in an effort to perhaps save her family, breached a boundary that was taboo.
By kissing her father as if his equal with no connection to him biologically Cisely took her adoration and her efforts to step in to save her parents relationship too far. By doing so Cisely took her relationship with her father to a place it should never go. Not only hurting her father she placed herself in a position to hurt herself by feeling that she needed to step in to such a taboo space. All of the situations, words and actions that I painted this tale to exemplify represent the clever tactics to which Lemmons can give credit to for the powerful effect that her story telling has on the unfolding of Eve’s Bayou.
This film weave’s dynamic visual of appeal in the appearances and realities among this prominent Creole family during the early 60’s in the Louisiana Bayou. From beginning to end it veritably reads as if a modern day epiphany of a Greek Tragedy with the swamp land of the Bayou as its royal court. In much the same way as an ancient Greek tragedy does Eve’s Bayou speaks on many levels. Not just telling the tale literally, it also tells a story figuratively. It veils the truth with the perceptions of its characters who do not want to face the reality that the father they adore is not the hero that he seems.
In the final spiral of drama befitting calamity comparable to Greek tragedy, Cisely distorts truth in order to hide the reality of her own guilt, in making a pass at her own father, when she shares with Eve that the father they both adore has touched her in a most unspeakable way. Of course nothing could be further from the truth but the mere inference is enough to profoundly impact the stability of the Batiste family even further. Because of the machinations Eve plant’s in the mind of Lenny Mereaux, a seed grows that spawn’s the actual poison leading to the destruction of Louis Batiste.
Eve in her attempts to address the irreparable damage she mistakenly thinks has been done to her sister and family because of Cisely’s mis-truth’s regarding her father’s actions and not the power of voodoo or even powerful medicine deal the final blow to the Batiste house of cards. Speaking very suggestively to Lenny Mereaux regarding the loneliness of women such as Matty and even her mother Roz, Eve conjures the vexation that occurs in many a Shakespearian tragedy. By speaking to Lenny as she did, it was as if Eve loaded the gun that would be used, providing the incentive for that pull of the trigger by Lenny Mereaux.
In the most heighted appearances vs. reality device of the film, Cisely Batiste offers herself to her father not to appease his out of control lusts and desires; she did so as if in an effort to use herself to salvage the withering relationship between her father and mother. Cisely convinced herself that she could spare herself and her siblings and mother the inevitable divorce of her family from the misery her father brought them by presenting herself the forbidden fruit to him in an attempt to spare everyone his lose from their lives.
But in a cruel twist of fate Lenny finally in retaliation and as a grand stand for preservation of his male ego and his own semblance of keeping up appearances, presents a veritable fight for his honor on behalf of his wife Matty. Lenny retaliates against not just the blatant disrespect of Louis’s actions from the very start, he retaliates against the reality that Eve a child only a fraction of his years had seen the truth of Matty’s infidelity so plainly at so delicate an age; as ten.
This was a truth the impact of which was literally for Lenny, his breaking point. In the end he stepped forward out of the shadow of the appearances of his life and faced the truth that his wife was having an affair with Louis Batiste. In an era in which the sexual escapades of both men and women had become almost admired, Lenny behaves as if the hero Louis believed himself to be or desired to become, arriving at the eleventh hour to fight for the honor of his lady and vanquish the scoundrel lover that sullied her with passion, lust and desire.
In the end the appearances are ripped away and the gritty realities of the Batiste Family are left visible their gritty truth laid bare for all to see. Just like the tasting of the chocolate covered figs, they had gotten past the creamy rich milk chocolate on the surface and delved down deep enough to unearth the rough and grittiness of life’s realities. They were no longer maintaining appearances. They were also no longer in denial of the reality of their patriarch’s violation of his oath and his profound reputation and way with the women. The struggle amongst all the Batiste women named and unnamed had come to an end.
Louis having become a victim unlike his sister Mozelle because of his unfortunate belief in what he was doing chasing the lust and passion that he did, he was placing himself further in the service of the lonely women into whose life he had come to be their healers and rescue them. Louis Batiste convinced himself that he was doing a service above and beyond the duties of his oath as a physician, because he was treating not just the physical malady of the women but by way his own lust, he was healing them of loneliness and their broken heartedness.
In easing the heartache of his patients Louis brought on the frustration and insecurity of his wife, he caused the rivalry of his daughters and was an accessible yet elusive band-aid to countless unnamed women he lusted after. In the death of Louis Batiste Lemmons brings a tragic conclusion to the quiet torment of a loving wife, the rivalry of two adoring daughters and a sister as driven by her passions as was her brother Louis Batiste. Works Cited Eve’s Bayou. Tri Mark Studios, . DVD. Dir. Dir.
Kasi Lemmons. Perf. Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield. Perf. Jurnee Smollett. 1997. K & W Farms, Inc. History of the Fig . 11 October 2011 <http://www. meccagold. com/history. htm>. McEachern, George Ray. Figs Extension Horticulturist Texas A & M University. 9 December 1996. 14 October 2011 <http://aggie-horticulture. tamu. edu/extension/fruit/figs/figs. html>. Morton, J. Fig Ficus carica. 1987. 9 October 2011 <http://www. hort. purdue. edu/newcrop/morton/fig. html>.