Bonnie Sarne Character Analysis: What's Eating Gilbert Grape

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Bonnie Grape is the laughing stock of Endora, Iowa. She never wanted to be morbidly obese and depressed, unable to help her family, but after the death of her husband, she became a recluse, an unmoving member of her family of five. This once highly sought after beauty was now a joke to be spied on by small children and mocked by the entire small town community. Throughout the movie, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, both her and her children struggle with her current physical state in different ways. The children are forced to take on different roles that a mother would normally fulfill. While taking on these roles, they also had to endure the judgement of the outside world. The combination of responsibility and constant judgement had an effect …show more content…
In order to honor this request, her children refused to let her become one after her death. They chose to burn down the house she had become a prisoner in and save her the embarrassment of being lifted out via a crane. The sad thing about this ending is that Bonnie was already a joke before her death. There is no denying it. Gilbert, himself, lifted small children up to see her and was afraid to introduce her to his new friend, Becky. Bonnie saw the people gawk and giggle at her when she was at the police station, she knew what they thought of her, it had already contributed to her depression. So, what difference did it make if she was a joke in death if the town would always remember her legacy as the beauty queen turned circus act either way? The answer is in her children; it was for them. They had already lived their lives in embarrassment and with more responsibility than they could handle, and would not have been able to watch their beloved mother be lifted out of the house in front of a crowd with cameras and grinning faces. They did it for themselves; it was the right thing to do, but for all the wrong …show more content…
The decision to not allow the joke to go any further was a favor to her, but it was not altruistic. The children did it for themselves, to rid themselves of the burdensome house and save themselves from any further shame from the town. Before “Mama’s” death, they were stuck to endure the stares and laughter, but they did not have to put up with it any longer. While her legacy will live on in the town, the children were able to finally go somewhere by which they would not be stuck. The move away from the town was a separation from their mother and past life that they could not have achieved any other way. They were able to leave behind their learned responsibilities and create their own lives just as any disgruntled small town dweller

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