Theme of Identity Explored in Kindertransport Essay
Theme of Identity Explored in Kindertransport
Kindertransport is tough and a moving insight into the complex relationship between mothers and daughters. It raises painful questions about family, safety, loyalty, and the need to belong. It deals with family secrets, the dark side of human nature, the cost of survival, loss of identity and the need to live. More specifically, it deals with mother-daughter relationships, and there are three sets in this play.
Eva was nine when she was placed on the train and never forgave her mother. She transforms on stage from a nine-year-old German girl to a stern British sixteen year old. She denounces her faith, accepts her adopted mother, changes her name from Eva to Evelyn, assimilates at school and stores all of her memories under lock and key in the attic.
As the older Eva, or Evelyn, she marries, has a daughter and divorces. When young Eva is finally reunited with her mother at sixteen, there are two scenes that have an unbelievable amount of pain, one where they see each other for the first time since the war, and the other where Eva decides not to join her mother on the trip to America.
An immediate strong indication of Eva’s identity, when she first arrives in England at the beginning of Act One, Scene Two, is her German language. The language is noticed when an English officer speaks to Eva. Despite the officer speaking to her in English, she replies in German, she does this because she barely understands English. “I’m sorry, love. I can’t understand a word you’re saying.” The officer tells her. This shows how Eva is instantly alienated from England on her arrival. It also illustrates authority the officer has over Eva. Lil plays a big part in diminishing the German within Eva, and replacing it with English. When Lil first meets Eva at the train station, she immediately removes Eva’s Star of David.
Eva is hesitant but does not stop Lil, she seems wary of throwing away the star. This reflects how throughout the play, Lil encourages Eva to throw away her German identity. To add to this, further on in the play Lil assures Eva that her religion is not real. “Look love, if it’s God you’re worried about, the Lord Jesus said that we needn’t keep to the old laws any more.
They had their days years ago.” This again presents to the audience how Lil pushes Eva into the English culture. As the play progresses, Eva learns English and speaks it almost fluently. However, she often speaks German when she’s feeling upset. For instance, on page 37, Lil is unhappy with Eva after returning late home from school. Lil lectures her, but Eva will only reply in German. This demonstrates to the audience how Eva is comforted by the language; it may remind her of her past she longs to relive. “Don’t…