The Piano Analysis

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New Zealand during the 1850s was a time where European settler populations were beginning to outnumber the native Maori populations which resulted in a major cultural divide. Jane Campion, the director of The Piano, was able to use this temporal setting and the two contrasting cultures to allow her audience to explore the film through the critical perspectives of social class and gender/feminist.
Social Class
Campion’s use of the piano as a key symbolic prop portrayed that Ada could be considered upper-middle class. During the 19th century, owning a piano was indicative of this class and, for women particularly, it was expected that they had some ability at playing the instrument.
The different economic classes were explored through Campion’s use of costuming. Due to the complexity and sophistication of the European settler’s, namely Ada and Stewart, daily attire, Campion highlights that they have the money to spend on the slightly more extravagant clothing. This is contrasted to the costuming of the maids seen helping Ada dress for her ‘wedding’ photo and with the Maori natives, each of these groups wear considerably plainer clothing than the higher social classes.
Class and power in The Piano is definitively related to the colonisation of New Zealand and the authority over the land that the European settlers simply assume. The portrayal of the colonisers show that they hold the power over the Maori people. This is largely due to the settlers forcing the natives to be

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