Tag Archives: Golde

Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Fyedka

This will be my last character review post for Fiddler On The Roof. The next story/group of characters I will be writing about is……I’m not telling you. You will just have to come back to this blog and find out.  

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Prejudice is unfortunately part and parcel of our daily lives. But even with the hatred and prejudice, there are still some that see the person, not the label based on culture or religion. In Fiddler On The Roof, most of the major characters are Jewish. There are a handful of non-Jewish characters, but for the most part, they are background players.

Except for Fyedka.

Fyedka is a young man of the Christian faith who falls in love with Chava, Tevye and Golde’s middle daughter. She is equally in love with him. But a marriage between a Jew and Christian, especially in pre-revolutionary Russia was a big no-no. Unlike his compatriots, Fyedka does not harass his Jewish neighbors. He is open-minded and treats them with courtesy and respect.

To sum it up: Sometimes a writer has to break the mold when creating a character. Fyedka could have been a stereotype, a Russian Christian peasant who hates his Jewish neighbors because they are Jews. But because he is compassionate, respectful and open-minded, he is proof that tolerance, understanding and dialogue between people of different cultures and religions is possible. The reader and the writer just has to be willing to take the first step.

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Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Chava

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

These days, it’s not uncommon to date or marry outside of one’s culture or religion. But we don’t have to travel back too far in history to a time when the worst thing a person could do was choose a spouse who was not part of their religion or culture. In Fiddler On The Roof, Chava is the third of Tevye and Golde’s five daughters. While her older sisters take baby steps when it comes to choosing their spouses, Chava takes a giant leap above her sisters. Not only does she marry a Christian boy, Fyedka, without her parent’s knowledge or approval, but also converts away from Judaism in the process.

Her father reacts as one would expect him to react. He pushes her away while she pleads for his blessing. In the end, Chava receives her father’s blessing for her marriage, if only reluctantly.

To sum it up: Some characters take baby steps toward who they will be. Others take giant steps toward that future persona. Neither is right or wrong, it is determined by the narrative and character arc. What the writer has to do is make sure that the arc for that particular character is organic and natural. If the character’s journey feels forced and inorganic, the reader/audience will know it. The last thing any writer wants is for their narrative and characters to feel forced and inorganic, it is a surefire way to push away the audience or reader. That is the last thing any writer wants.

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Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Hodel

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is only one certainty in life: change. In Fiddler On The Roof, Hodel is the second of Tevye and Golde’s five daughters. In the beginning of the story, Hodel states her choice of her future husband: the Rabbi’s son. Her elder sister, Tzeitel is quick to burst her bubble. Their father is a dairyman.  Daughters of dairymen do not marry Rabbi’s sons. Being the smart ass that she, Hodel laughs it off.

Then Perchik enters the picture. Perchik is a young man traveling through Anatevka who has ideas that do not mesh well with the locals. While tutoring Hodel’s younger sisters, it becomes clear that there is chemistry between her and Perchik. But when the time comes, Hodel will have to make a decision: stay with her family or follow Perchik into the unknown.

To sum it up: In choosing to join Perchik in Siberia instead of staying in Anatevka, Hodel is willing to accept change. Even if it means that she may never see her family again. Change often comes whether we like it or not. As writers, when we create a character who is faced with change, how the character deals with the change is a mark of their character. It’s up to the writer to determine if the character will accept the change or fight it.

 

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Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Tzeitel

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Love, especially young love, creates new sensations and a new reality. Especially when one lives in a repressive society where marriage is not based on love, but on family status and income. In Fiddler On The Roof, Tzeitel is the oldest of Tevye and Golde’s five daughters. She knows that marriage is in the cards for her immediate future. She also knows that in her world, she has no say in choosing her husband.

The husband that has been chosen for her is Lazar Wolf, the local butcher. The problem with Lazar is two-fold: first, that he is much older than she is. The second is that she is in love and has agreed to marry Motel, her childhood sweetheart. Her father does not know about Motel and might force her to marry Lazar instead of Motel.

In the end, Tzeitel marries the man she loves, but not before experiencing a few obstacles.

To sum it up: A young woman in love is not a new character trope or narrative. It is up to the writer to distinguish this very basic character and narrative in order for their story to stand out. In Fiddler on the Roof, Tzeitel is willing to break tradition just to marry the man she loves. In her era, women are second class citizens. The only career open to them is marriage and motherhood. By standing up for her love and her future, Tzeitel is taking a small, but important step toward feminism and female autonomy.

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Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Golde

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Some say that men are the rulers in their homes, the kings of their very own castle. As much as I would like to believe it, that is in fact a lie. The reality is that the woman is in charge of the house and the family.

“The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants”-My Big Fat Greek Wedding

In Fiddler On The Roof, Tevye thinks he is in charge at home. His wife, Golde, knows the truth. Golde is the ying to her husband’s yang. Golde is a realist, not afraid to tell it like it is and occasionally burst Teyve’s fantasy like bubble. Her husband is a dairy man whose income is on the lower end of the economic scale. Considering that they have five daughters to house, cloth, raise and feed, Golde’s position is not an easy one.

Like all couples in that culture, their marriage was not a love match, but an arraigned marriage. While there is no fairy tale like romance between Tevye and Golde, they remain loyal to each other and do the best they can to keep their family afloat.

To sum it: Golde is no one’s fool and no one’s pushover. She is smart, capable and does what she needs to do so her family can survive, even under the most difficult of circumstances. When a writer creates a character like Golde, he or she is walking a writing tightrope: the character must be firmly rooted in the world she lives in, while creating an undercurrent which will shape the destines of future generations. Golde may appear to be just another wife and mother, but it is her strength and courage that will inspire future generations of women to change the world.

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Fiddler On The Roof

The opening song Of Fiddler On The Roof is Tradition.

It speaks of a way of life that has been the standard for generations. But change is on the horizon.

Based on the stories by Sholem Aleichem, the original Broadway production premiered in 1964. 7 years later, the movie Fiddler On The Roof made it’s way to the big screen. Tevye (Topol) and Golde (Norma Crane) are a Jewish peasant middle aged couple with 5 daughters living in pre-revolutionary Russia. The world around them is changing. Their daughters are not content to let the local matchmaker and their parents determine whom they will marry. Outside forces are eager to see their Jewish neighbors forced out of the land they have lived and worked on for generations.

All great stories have a universality to them. Fiddler is no different. The themes of change and being fearful of that change, the dynamic between the older generations who want to keep everything as is and the younger generations eager of something new, watching your child grow up and make decisions that you might not approve of.

This show is part of my cultural DNA. I come  from this world, my great grandparents left the shtetls of Eastern Europe for America at the turn of the 20th century. I was lucky enough to see the 2004 Broadway revival. When the movie is on, I find myself singing along with the characters.

I recommend this movie.

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