La Strada and Some Like It Hot

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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In the films La Strada and Some Like it Hot, the female protagonists: Gelsomina and Sugar Kane both learn something but Gelsomina ends up dying and Sugar ends up with the typical saxophone player she was running away from in the beginning. Both characters are similar and different, and they also have a commonality when it comes to life experiences: they are mistreated by men. They find out their true journey in life, but they really end up where they started and with a bit more as well.

Gelsomina and Sugar share some of the same experiences in life. Gelsomina is mistreated by Zampano throughout their time together on the road, while Sugar has been juggled around by more than one saxophone player, who she can't seem to stay away from. Gesolmina suffers from beatings, humiliation, and plain and simple ignorance from Zampano who she follows around like a little lost puppy.

Sugar suffers from humiliation, lack of respect, and is used by the men she so willingly chooses to be with.

Gelsomina and Sugar are entertainers, each with their unique characteristics. Gelsominas' character is simple. She is innocent, childlike, simple-minded, and gentle. She is Zampanos' sidekick, playing the drum and acts as a clown. She is not accepted by Zampano, and therefore feels unaccepted by everyone else. Sugar on the other hand, has sex appeal, is sexy, voluptuous, drinks alcohol, is also simple-minded, is a singer-ukulele player, and has bad luck with everything; ending up with the "fuzzy end of the lollipop." Both of these women are searching and waiting for that acceptance they greatly feel they lack. Gelsomina believes that her destiny is to follow and stay with Zampano. She loves him and hopes that one day he will notice her and give her the acceptance she wants. Sugar is waiting for that "bi-focaled millionaire with a yacht" who will leave her with the "sweet end of the lollipop" and not abandon her. "I want mine to wear glasses . . . Men who wear glasses are so much more gentle, and sweet, and helpless. Haven't you ever noticed it? They get those weak eyes from reading - you know those long tiny little columns in the Wall Street Journal." The lessons learned by both female protagonists are that they both figured out their destiny in life. They learn this from someone none other than a man. To Gelsomina, a pebble is simply a pebble. But "the fool" assures her: "I am ignorant, but I read books. You won't believe it, everything is useful . . . this pebble for instance. . . For . . . I don't know. If I knew I'd be the Almighty who knows all. When you are born and when you die. . . Who knows? I don't know for what this pebble is useful but it must be useful. For if it's useless, everything is useless. So are the stars!" She therefore realizes that she belongs in the world. She has a purpose and it is to continue her journey in life wherever it may take her. She didn't get to feel the acceptance of Zampano, but did however achieve it. Sugar is also accepted; though not necessarily from the exact person she wanted it to be. In the closing scene: "Joe wins Sugar's affection as a renovated man [as himself with a renewed feminine side] and not as an emotionally/sexually - passive millionaire - and she finds the 'sweet end of the lollipop' -with him".

Joe: You don't want me, Sugar. I'm a liar and a phony. A saxophone player. One of those no-goodniks you keep running away from.

Sugar: I know, every time.

Joe: Sugar, do yourself a favor. Go back to where the millionaires are the sweet end of the lollipop, not the cole slaw in the face, the old socks and the squeezed-out tube of toothpaste.

Sugar: That's right. Pour it on me. Talk me out of it. (She grabs him to kiss him.) In conclusion to the education learned by the two female protagonists in La Strada and Some Like It Hot, regardless of what they learned, they still continued their journey accepted, but continuing to follow a path they both knew could be the wrong one in the end. As for Gelsomina, she continued with the bad, but made it on her own with a feeling of acceptance. Sugar continued with the usual, but felt accepted and hope that she might no longer have to runaway.