Literature Analysis

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The Greatest Showman is a 2017 American musical film directed by Michael Gracey in his
directorial debut, written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron,
Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya. The film is inspired by the story of P. T.
Barnum's creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus (1871–2017) and the lives of its star
attractions.
The movie is about Barnum when he falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy and
known socialite, his prospects change dramatically. She is sent away to a reform school, and
their communication is limited to only written letters. Once Barnum’s love returns, they begin a
life together, against her father’s wishes. Though his wife is used to a comfortable lifestyle of
class and beauty, she is content in her life with Barnum, swept away and enthralled by his
constant affection for her, in all ways. Barnum, alas, is discontented. He longs for a different
lifestyle, for class and beauty. Part of Barnum wants to prove his worth to his step-father, who
has never approved of him. In the movie, Barnum uses some documents from a company that
lays him off as collateral for a museum. The museum, though intricate, isn’t lively enough to
attract an adequate audience. Pulling from memories of his youth, Barnum starts a freak-show
and employs a plethora of unique people to star in his new show. At first, people are adverse to
the idea, and many protesters arise, along with negative reviews in the papers. Eventually, the
people fall in love with the glitter and music, the animals, and the experience of being at a
show. As P.T. Barnum’s “circus” gains popularity, he employs the help of a local and severely
unpopular playwright, Phillip Carlyle, who eventually joins the circus and falls in love with a
trapeze artist. Barnum goes through many struggles in the movie with his circus, his wife and
family, and his prospects for the future. His dream is the only constant thing, and when his
circus burns down as a result of violent protesters, he chooses to house his circus under a tent,
which is now a modern symbol for the circus life.
Historical Approach usually helps the critic and readers to understand all of the events
and forces that might affect the author as he or she is composing the work, and this gives us a
more comprehensive understanding to the work itself. The Greatest Showman shows the
history of circus. Circus started from a boy who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that
became a worldwide sensation. A boy that is orphaned, penniless but ambitious and with a
mind crammed with imagination and fresh ideas. When he grew up and already has a family, he
comes up with the idea of starting a circus to give his family the "life they deserve." Started
from buying Barnum's American Museum, an attraction showcasing various wax models but the
sales are slow; on the suggestion of his children to showcase something "alive.” Then Barnum
searches for "freaks" to serve as performers for his museum. This attracts a large audience
despite protests and poor reviews, prompting Barnum to rename his venture "Barnum's
Circus." Then searched for ways to further his reputation amongst the upper class, Barnum
meets playwright Phillip Carlyle and convinces him to join his venture. His circus caught on fire
caused by a fight between the protesters and the troupe. As rebuilding the circus in its original
location would be too expensive, Barnum rebuilds it as an open-air tent circus by the docks and
the revamped circus is a huge success. And that’s the circus we know till now.
Marxism is a political and social theory that argues that social change comes about
through economic class struggle.
Gender criticism is an extension of feminist literary criticism, focusing not just on women
but on the construction of gender and sexuality, especially LGBTQ issues, which gives rise to
queer theory.
There are a couple of lessons learned here. The first is that no one achieves these levels of
success on their own. Certainly Barnum’s wife Charity is a huge credit to him and supports his
work in spite of the mockery and disdain that are often thrown at him by the judgmental public
as well as her conservative father. A wealthy friend, Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron), who has lived
the life of meaningless luxury, finds himself in the work that Barnum has created. Through his
own growth and emerging sense of compassion for the people of the circus, Carlyle also
becomes a valuable partner in the building this entertainment empire. The second lesson
comes from the realization that although Barnum brought together people who were
considered outcasts by society for his own personal profit, he ended up creating a place that
many of them considered to be the first home and family they had ever known. Barnum
bucked the prejudices of the day and ended up embracing these outcasts as loving members of
his own extended family. The Greatest Showman may be primarily an escape into musical
fantasy, but its message of acceptance of people of all backgrounds is inspiring
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