Temporary Transitions In Ann Patchett's Bel Canto '

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Temporary Transitions In an unnamed, unknown, and powerless country in South America, Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto comes to life, telling the story of a great power struggle. The story revolves around a birthday party that has been turned into a hostage camp by terrorists who claim to be looking for the President. Eventually, this ‘party’ is crashed by the military and many lives are lost in this final conflict. The power shifts between the terrorists, hostages, and the governments exemplify the idea that power is temporary and is always in flux; the most insignificant events can cause a significant change. In Bel Canto, Ann Patchett demonstrates the shifts of power through the themes of passion, aggression, and compassion; these themes have been intricately plotted into the story to further develop the overarching theme of power in a feasible manner. In Bel Canto, the transitioning of…show more content…
Coss’s passion for this form of art has everyone “so taken by the beauty of her voice” (2) that “they barely [notice]” the lights going off as the terrorists storm into the room. The compelling nature and passion in Coss’s performance makes the audience gravitate towards Coss and rest all of the power in the room with her. Furthermore, the shifting of power due to passion, on a smaller scale, is also noticed in two important relationships that are posed in Bel Canto: the relationship between Carmen and Gen, and the relationship between Roxane Coss and Mr. Hosokawa. One night Carmen comes into Gen’s room to “ask him for everything she [wants]” (159), saying “teach me to read . . . . teach me to make my letters in Spanish . . . . and English” (158). The

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