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The Last Virgin in Paradise is an enjoyable and fascinating comedy, which is very resourceful in the study of culture because it focuses on cultural aspects of small communities and ethnicities. In the comedy, there is an emphasis on adjustment of the play to match cultural beliefs of the target audience so that the comedy becomes relevant to the society.
This is clear because the play uses Hawaiian language and brings the people of the Pacific Island together. Moreover, the comedy employs political aspects in a comical manner and utilizes literary devices, which make the comedy very informative to the readers.
The comedy has a number of players like Temanu, Jean, Hina, and Helmut. Furthermore, the comedy presents societal challenges in terms of cultural practices and political identities. Therefore, the essay analyses the comedy, the Last Virgin in Paradise, using theories such as literary studies, feminism (gender and politics), and orientalism to present issues that relate to culture, politics, gender roles, stereotypes, and societal beliefs.
Some of the themes that the theory highlights in the comedy, the Last Virgin in Paradise, include culture, education, authority, and social interactions. In the comedy, Helmut demonstrates how culture values education when he tells Temanu that he will take Hina to school and give her a good education.
The theme of education comes out when Temanu says, “I will send her to school and give her an education” (Hereniko and Teaiwa 16). Thus, through Helmut the play displays how society perceives education. In addition, the comedy also incorporates cultural aspects into the play.
A good example is evident when Temanu tells Jean that she came back to study her culture and know her nature (Hereniko and Teaiwa 18). When Helmut asks Temanu whether she is married, the comedy brings to the fore the aspect of marriage (Hereniko and Teaiwa 16). This explains that the society values and respects marriage and family as sacred social institutions.
Furthermore, the theory demonstrates how society perceives authority. The theme of authority is clear in the comedy as it presents how society perceives authority and control. For instance, Helmut recognizes the authority held by Hina’s father when he tells Temanu “she is a young girl who is 19 years old, and her father is a high chief” (Hereniko and Teaiwa 16).
In addition, Temanu further elucidates the love of culture when she notes that Hina decided to come home and know her identity (Hereniko and Teaiwa 18). Therefore, the comedy displays some features that orientalism theory presents. The themes that the theory highlights are also clear in the comedy, and thus make the theory of orientalism practical and effective in analyzing the comedy of the Last Virgin in Paradise.
Literary Studies Theory
The theory of literary studies highlights themes such as culture, gender discrimination, and respect for education. The Last Virgin in Paradise presents themes such as culture, gender discrimination, and love for education. According to the comedy, the society loves and values education, and this is evident from the respect the society gives to Helmut who is a retired professor of psychology (Hereniko and Teaiwa 16).
The respect is apparent as Hina’s father and other family members persuade Hina to marry Helmut, without considering whether Hina loves him or not. Additionally, the comedy brings to the fore gender discrimination when Hina’s parents give Helmut the consent to marry, yet Hina is not willing to marry him.
Hina is not only young, but also she is not in love with Helmut. Moreover, the comedy uses Helmut to show gender parity. The play elucidates gender parity when Helmut tells Temanu that Hina does not have a choice except to comply with his principles (Hereniko and Teaiwa 16). The statement presents society’s notion and stereotype that women are lesser and weaker beings than men.
Feminism: Gender and Politics
In the analysis of the comedy, the Last Virgin in Paradise, it is evident that some features such as gender discrimination are imminent in the society.
According to the comedy, the Last Virgin in Paradise, it is clear that there is gender parity as brought to the fore by Helmut, a retired professor of psychology, who presents women as objects or minor beings who have no rights except the obligation to follow the rules of their husbands.
Gender discrimination is evident in the comedy because Helmut told Temanu that Hina has no choice but to accept marriage (Hereniko and Teaiwa 13). In addition, the comedy presents women as minor beings who do not only have minimal education, but also have no employment. For example, in the comedy, Helmut is retired psychology professor whereas Hina is as an uneducated young woman.
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The essay analyzes the Last Virgin in Paradise, which is a solemn comedy that emphasizes on the regular activities of small-scale communities. Additionally, the paper highlights cultural stereotypes that define roles and positions associated with either men or women in the society.
The essay uses literary studies, feminism (gender and politics), and orientalism theories in the analysis of political, gender, and cultural themes that the comedy presents.
Moreover, the comedy uses a setup of a practical society with various ethnicities such as Marawan, Palagis, and Europeans who have diverse cultures and lifestyles. The use of the three theories aids in the analysis of the comedy and presentation of social, cultural, political, and gender values, which are common in the society.
Hereniko, Vilsoni and Teresia Teaiwa. Last Virgin in Paradise. New York: University of South Pacific, 2001. Print.