An American Rhapsody – Character Sketch

Suzanne lost her family as a very small child, but with that gained another one. For fear of the Cold War, her family fled for their freedom, wanting, but not being able to take Suzanne to America with them. From this she grew up on a small farm not to far from Budapest, Hungary. Stolen at the age of five by her loving grandmother, for the sheer purpose of the bond that was once broken between mother and daughter. Suzanne grows up as an American teenager isolated from her family and friends, hoping to one day be reunited with her adoptive parents. Finally at the age of fifteen her ultimate wish comes true and she is sent to Hungary on hope of finding out the truth about her past. Her grandmother whom she meets up with shares delicate information with Suzanne regarding her past and her mothers. From this she can understand why her mother wanted to leave Budapest so bad, whilst give her children a better life.

In this movie you are able to compare the life of a Hungarian child to that of an American. By that I can say that Suzanne’s personality and capabilities changed dramatically when she went from Budapest to California. For a young peasant Hungarian girl is proper and polite with not very many luxuries as an American might have. For example in the film they show how rare bananas are to come by for when Suzanne was offered one on her plane trip to America she didn’t know what it was. While in America, children may have a banana every morning if they wish. Hungary was in the middle of a war and there was a lot of dread in the streets, while America had a booming economy at the time with the development of new technologies like television, for Suzanne had never seen a television until she saw herself on the news her first night in America. This shows how differently her life was when she was in Hungary and how much freedom the children have in America. For instance, Suzanne was able to wander off down the street, journeying to the park in America and not have to worry about getting shot in the streets or disappearing for saying the wrong word.

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From the immediate change of landscape and customs, evidently -Suzanne was exposed to culture shock. She is torn between the torn countries and feels the need to explore her past because of the friction of her current life. From this we can see that her personality would have changed along with her lifestyle. She went from a considerate and courteous little girl to a rebellious and defiant teenager. For when she was older she acted out by sneaking out of the house and drinking, while quarreling with her mother about insubordinate things. She does this because she is faced with the mystery of her past, leaving her with the mystery of her identity. Only by going back to Hungary, by crossing the border once again, on her own terms, is she able to find herself once again and with this her true home.

With the discovery of her past she are able to comprehend what had truly happened and at that make peace with her mother leading her into a deeper understanding for the life she lives and her future. With these attributes to look forward to Suzanne will be able to continue on knowing who she truly is and what she is capable of achieving. She was able to discover the true meaning of family, freedom and home.