Christian Nelson English 1010 Tue Thurs 9:30 Karma and “Manon of the Spring” Every day we are put into situations where karma seems to have a role in our fate. Whether you believe it or not, it is pretty compelling to wonder. Karma is a huge factor in the movie, “Manon of the Spring,” and plays into the story in several different instances. The theory of karma states that as one does good or bad, the good or the bad will come back around for this person. In the film, we are shown both forms of karma and in a variety of ways.
There are many smaller forms of karma in the movie that you may make a case for; however there is one main point that controls the outcome of the entire film as well as the lives of the people in the film. The unfortunate death of Ugolin has karma’s wrath all around it. This example plays a huge role in the outcome of the story and portrays karma at its greatest effect. In the story, we are shown the characters of Ugolin and Papet. Ugolin is Papet’s nephew and the only considered heir to his fortune simply for lack of a better option.
All of Papet’s life, he has wanted a son or daughter of his own to hand down his fortune. Unbeknownst to him, he had a son; and he is to blame for his death. Throughout the story we see Ugolin begin to go on a downward spiral due to an eccentric love craze. He sees Manon, daughter of the village hunchback, bathing nude in the springs. From this day forth, Ugolin begins to change in very mysterious ways. The furthest extent of this obsession is when he sews Manon’s ribbon to his bare chest.
Papet is pleased to find out that Ugolin finally has a woman to share his wealth, but he doesn’t quite know the specifics. The karma within this situation is only just beginning to present itself. Manon’s father was the village hunchback. Consequently, he was looked down on by the other residents. He was a teacher, an outdoorsman, and also owned his own farm. Due to his unfortunate mutation, he was a last priority in the village and when Papet is faced with the tough decision, he ends up cutting the water supply to the hunchback’s land.
Manon overhears this story and understands that the whole village had knowledge of this and Ugolin and Papet are to blame for her father’s death. She then tells Ugolin that she will never love him for what he has done and eventually finds out a way to cut the village’s water supply to get her revenge. You can see a form of karma with the water situation in this instance. Ugolin and Papet cut off her father’s water supply and the village does nothing about it, so out of spite Manon does the same to everyone in the village. However, the biggest display of karma is yet to come in the story.
After Ugolin is told by the love of his life that she despises him and will never love him, Ugolin feels no will to live. He can’t bear to live any longer, and unfortunately this results in his shocking suicide. Papet is left with no heir to his fortune and most importantly, he is left alone. Filled with depression and resentment, Papet is left to wonder how things escalated the way they did. Upon speaking with a very knowledgeable blind woman one evening, Papet is informed that his past lover, Florette, was pregnant with a son.
Papet kept in touch with Florette for a time by way of writing letters, but for some reason, they stopped coming. Among the letters that Papet did not receive were the letters containing the information being told by this woman. This woman informed Papet that Florette’s son was not only his, her son was the hunchback. A wave of emotions crosses Papet’s mind and eventually, he too has no will to live. Karma is at its greatest potential in this story’s resolution. Papet finds that the one thing he has strived for in life, an heir to his fortune, has been killed and he is to blame.
Karma even took the life of Ugolin, Papet’s planned heir, due to their own heinous act on the village hunchback. Upon lying on his death bed, Papet has one last message to his newfound granddaughter, Manon. He leaves the rest of his riches to her in an effort to somewhat put his mind at ease before dying. Also in hopes that someday she can forgive him for his wrongdoing. Once we see the story’s resolution, it is clear how big of a role karma plays into it. In tons of smaller ways and a few major ones, karma truly is the centerpiece in this film.
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