Cultural Mythologies and Binary Oppositions in the Novel and Film, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Essay by TriXXyCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2003

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In the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg upsets the dominant social norms of human interactions by comparing the heterosexual relationship of Evelyn and Ed alongside the homosexual partnership of Idgie and Ruth. In the film, "Fried Green Tomatoes," the director Jon Avnet re-interprets the relationships described by Fannie Flagg in subtly asserting to the audience that the relationship between Idgie and Ruth is merely a friendship built on a strong foundation of trust and devotion. Jon Avnet's interpretation changes the theme of the film by contrasting the powerful friendship shared among Idgie and Ruth to the loneliness and displeasure expressed by Evelyn. The dramatic differences between the novel and film force the audience to explore cultural mythologies and choose whether the film is a credible production of the content and themes present in the novel. In the novel the relationship presented as homosexual is functional and loving, whereas the contrasting heterosexual marriage is portrayed as unhealthy and lacking in the strength and foundation necessary to a successful marriage.

The novel exploits the contradictions between both relationships presented to the reader in order to illustrate how healthy the homosexual relationship is, especially when compared against to the dysfunctional marriage of the heterosexual couple. This challenges the cultural mythology in our society concerning the normality of homosexual and heterosexual relationships by comparing what has been sewn into the conscience as normal interactions between heterosexual and homosexual couples. The film avoids the topic of homosexuality and uses the personal struggle Evelyn is battling and her lack of friends as a necessary element to the illustration of a common cultural myth. The contrast of the perpetual unhappiness endured by Evelyn because of her isolation from friendship and companionship and the excellent friendship that Idgie and Ruth share...