Nanook of the North Essay

959 Words Jul 21st, 2008 4 Pages
Nanook of the North is an interesting film that documents the lifestyle of an Inuit family in Quebec, Canada. Robert J. Flaherty, the writer, producer and director of the film makes sure to film every aspect of the family’s daily struggles and duties. With nearly everything but cold weather in limited supply, it becomes very obvious that every aspect in their lives serves a specific role aimed towards survival; they have no space extraneous luxuries.
The community as a whole seems to be very amicable, with everybody willingly helping each other out. The fur trader treats Nanook’s children to some biscuits and lard, and then even gives one of them some castor oil after they overdo it on their snacks. Nanook is even shown helping out
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He goes out into the rugged land and hunts down seals, walruses, foxes, and even polar bears with nothing more than his bare hands and a harpoon, “the film enacts masculinist fantasies in mainstream American culture.” (Huhndork 137) Like a father would in the United States, Nanook even decides the where the family will rest for the night. Purveying the snow, he chooses where the snow is best for building and cuts out the materials for the family. He then lays the heavy snow bricks one on top of the other, even furnishing the igloo with an ice window. Meanwhile, the women complete the less rigorous task of filling the holes, and furnishing the inside while the children play around and sled down the hill. The inside of the igloo seems to be the one setting where the women get the most screen time; this is their “domestic sphere” (ibid). Just like a man coming home from work, Nanook is simply shown as undressing and lying down to rest. But the women are now taking the active role as caretaker. They are shown boiling the water, washing off the children, and carrying them and the puppies in their hoods. Also in the film Nyla responds to such things in the West such as women’s suffrage, women in the workplace, and the nuclear family. All the roles in which we see Nyla

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