3.1.14 Foreshadowing and allusion
Does Jackson use these devices in "Heavenly Creatures?"
[jp] The film is absolutely rife with foreshadowing and allusion, beginning with the whole narrative of the Prologue. Jackson uses foreshadowing, especially, as a means of building up dramatic tension to an unbearable level. It might almost be shorter to list things which aren't... Some examples are presented in this section. Since the reader must be an afficionado, some of the details of the connections are omitted or left as exercises. Contributions to this section are welcomed.
[jp] See 3.1.3 for an extended listing and discussion of foreshadowing and allusion in the archival footage in the Prologue, 18.104.22.168 for a more complete description of the "flight scene" and 22.214.171.124 for a detailed analysis of the "ship scenes." Brief reminders of things which pop up again and again:
Archival footage: daffodils, gay and golden, Rutherford, Christchurch gardens.
Flight Scene: smashing through the wooded underbrush, screaming, legs and shoes and stockings and feet and running, mud, overcoats, "Mummy," "Help us!", spattered blood and gore.
First Ship Scene: legs and running, wooden decking, bright print summer dresses, "Mummy," streamers, an elegant woman in white, a man in an overcoat and hat, the sound of the wind.
The title sequence at school.
[jp] The title sequence is chock-a-block with foreshadowing and allusion, too. See 3.1.19 for a discussion of the music under the titles, "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," and all the references contained in this piece. Things to watch for later in the film: a six-pointed star, stockings, legs and feet, brown oxfords and sandals, school satchels, bicycles, brown gloves, "sit-tuh!" and distain of other commands.
What is the significance of Pauline's stockings?
[jp,lfr] We see Pauline hooking up her stocking to her garter belt in the opening sequence under the titles.
At the end of the film, Pauline constructs the murder weapon from one of her stockings. So, apart from telling us a lot about Pauline, and having her flash her thigh gratuitously in an allusion to the scandalous and salacious reputation of the case, this little scene is also a wonderful, almost throwaway, foreshadowing of the murder. It is just one example of an object or theme that appears in two forms in the film, first as something innocent and every-day, and second as its dark and sinister doppelganger.
Others, in no particular order:
- Horses, first drawn in Pauline's French notebook, are in practically every scene and somewhere on every set. Horses figured very prominently in the real case (see 126.96.36.199).
- The girls are thrown together by Art. They never abandon their singleminded pursuit of the Arts from that moment on.
- Running and crashing through foliage appears in the Prologue, repeatedly in the role-playing games at Ilam, in the "Donkey Serenade" scene, but before the murder... there is a gentle walk through the woodland. There is running and screaming in the Prologue and in the flight from 'It.' There is running and laughing, running for joy, running, running, running. The girls even run past a poster for "Jamaica Run." See 188.8.131.52.
- Juliet reaches out to shake Honora's hand when she "meets the Riepers" and Honora hesitates. Later, as Honora collapses, dying, in Victoria Park, she reaches out for Juliet's hand and Juliet reaches out... and takes the brick from Pauline. Inbetween, disembodied hands reach out for many things in "Heavenly Creatures." See 184.108.40.206.
- Juliet and Pauline stand side by side, hand in hand, for the first time at Port Levy and for the last time in the quiet sunset on the grounds of Ilam as unicorns graze peacefully nearby. And many times inbetween. See 220.127.116.11.
- The shrine at Ilam is made of bricks, and a half-brick reappears at the end, of course (see 18.104.22.168).
- We learn of Juliet's contracting TB when she coughs up and spatters blood onto her schoolbook. There is blood in the Prologue, of course, and blood in the final scene. Somehow, there is a terrifying difference between this blood, real blood, and the buckets of blood featured in paintings and Borovnian fantasies.
- Pauline hears of Juliet's diagnosis over the phone. There will be many more phone calls, sad and upsetting and even treacherous, before the end of the film. There were some extraordinary phone calls in real life, too. See 22.214.171.124 and 7.3.
- Pauline wears a silver bracelet at Port Levy, when she first experiences the Fourth World, and she wears it again on the "Loveliest Night of the Year" and on the day of the murder.
- "I got meself a pair of socks." Twice. And Wendy got a pair of stockings for Christmas 1953. Pauline wears 'sockettes', not stockings, on the day of the murder. That's from trial testimony.
- Honora brings Juliet fruit in the sanatorium and on the morning of the murder Juliet brings Honora... "Fruit."
- The first time we see Honora and Pauline hanging up the wash, Pauline declares "We are so brilliantly clever!" The second time, she says "...Mother will be dead. How odd, yet how pleasing." Pauline does a lot of laundry in the film.
- Juliet appears in a gold-lame gown on "The Loveliest Night of the Year" and obvious reference to 'gay and golden' in the Prologue.
- Juliet's coat with the prominent V-shaped lapels is mirrored by Diello's dramatic costume, with its prominent V- shape. Gradually, as the film progresses, Pauline comes to see Juliet as her real-life saviour as Diello had been Gina's saviour on so many occasions. Charles has a flying-V lapel design, too.
The whole final day of the murder is bursting with references to the foreshadowing that came throughout the film and with ironic allusions to the real case. Some of my personal highlights:
- Birds in the soundtrack. See 126.96.36.199 for more on birds.
- The reverential tone of "I am about to rise."
- Henry Hulme in Ilam's drive: "Thought I'd lost you." This one is particularly cruel if you know the real-life story.
- Juliet sits on Pauline's bed in exactly the same pose as the real Juliet's portrait on the wall behind her head.
- Juliet's hand reaches out and grasps the branch during the long walk through Victoria Park, and the sound breaks through for a moment and is lost. See 188.8.131.52 for more on hands.
- Juliet is scrubbing her hands as if she were washing away the blood, all through Victoria Park. See 3.1.15 and 184.108.40.206.
- Honora reaches out for the pink stone in an exact copy of Nicholas' motion. Both are near wooden bridges. See 220.127.116.11 for more on bridges and planking.
- Honora was wearing her 'good' clothes--the same outfit she wore to visit Juliet in the sanatorium and to see Dr Bennett.