After the Storm: The Cultural Politics of Hurricane Katrina by Simon Dickel and Kindinger

By Simon Dickel and Kindinger

»After the typhoon« lines the cultural and political responses to typhoon Katrina. instantly after Katrina, and through the previous 9 years, its devastating results for the golfing area, New Orleans, and the yankee kingdom were negotiated in an increasing number of cultural productions – between them Spike Lee's documentary movie »When the Levees Broke«, David Simon and Eric Overmyer's television sequence »Treme«, or Natasha Trethewey's poetry assortment »Beyond Katrina«. This booklet offers interdisciplinary views on those and different negotiations of storm Katrina and places distinctive emphasis at the intersections of the types race and class.

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Indeed, it is Hushpuppy who is then displayed not only as the main protagonist but also as the narrator who gives voice-over comments. While using Hushpuppy’s voice-over to comment on animals and her relationship to them, the visuals focus not only on Hushpuppy herself but also on old spare tires, broken car pieces and other objects on the dump that have been used to build both Hushpuppy’s and her father’s shed or which lay around nearby. Interestingly, living on a dump, having recycled thrown-away material, being surrounded by objects others have found obsolete is not reflected upon – those objects seem as ‘natural’ to Hushpuppy as nature itself.

Hushpuppy’s father does love her, however, he is shown as rough, trying to teach her lessons, lessons to make her survive after his death, to be as independent and self-reliant as a grown-up man. Furthermore, in contrast to Blake’s poem, the hardship of life is not to be accepted as if heaven were waiting after death. Despite all the junk on the dump, The 52 | M IRIAM STRUBE Bathtub includes so many animals, so much of the natural world and is depicted as sensual, to be lived with in close relationship with nature.

These shantytowns for the homeless were so common that they were given a name, namely Hooverville (as they sprang up during the years of President Hoover). However, it is important to stress that Beasts of the Southern Wild is explicitly not a documentary, and makes no claims on social realism. The theme of the aurochs runs through the whole movie. I therefore would like to list a number of magical realist features that are at play in Beasts of the Southern Wild: 1) It is told in a matter-of-fact tone often from the perspective of an unusual focalizer, such as a child.

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