Review of Movie : My Fair Lady

1530 words 7 pages

It has been theorized that the ability to communicate through language made the human species possible and in the same way, each individual becomes humanized as he/she enters into verbal communication with those around (Simmons-McDonald). If this statement is accepted as true, then it follows that the continued development of the human species depends on each individual being able to participate effectively in the process of communication. Was this the message of the movie “My Fair Lady”? Mr. Higgins certainly believed that a person’s accent and tone of voice determine his/her prospects in society and that ‘verbal class distinction could be extinct if the English taught their children how to speak.’
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He later recommended him to lecture on morals as ‘an original moralist’.

On the other hand, Mr. Higgins’ manner of speaking or way of encoding his message was so crude that he couldn’t help but get a negative response. For example, when Eliza visited his home to request lessons, he was most insulting. He referred to her as piece of baggage, deliciously low-class, horribly dirty and a draggle-tail gutter snipe. Mr. Higgins’s harsh: ‘Sit down!’ was a great contrast to Mr. Pickering’s: ‘what’s your name, dear; would you sit down, Ms. Doolittle?’ Mr. Pickering succeeded in doing what Mr. Higgins could not do. He got Eliza to sit. Mr. Higgins’ speech reflected his feelings of superiority and personal bias against people who could not speak ‘proper’ English. He obviously believed that Standard English i.e. the English of Shakespeare, Milton and the Bible was the only proper form of the language. Mr. Higgins also expressed some bias against women for whom he apparently had little respect (at least as a wife). He saw Eliza as ‘Something’, not as ‘Someone’ with feelings. The intervention of Mr. Pickering’s ‘what do you want, my dear?’, again got a positive response from Eliza. She wanted to learn to speak more genteel, in order to work as a lady in a flower shop.

Eliza’s ignorance and immaturity were also barriers to proper decoding. Mr. Higgins’ extrapolation of her offer of a shilling a lesson to 60 or 70 pounds from a millionaire, was interpreted as a request for


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