On of the first things I research was the author of the book that ‘Birdy’ was taken from, ‘William Wharton’.
Some things I discovered were:
- William Wharton drew on his own wartime experiences to write Birdy.
- A stage play portrayed Al and Birdy’s relationship as a lot more homoerotic under permission from Mr. Wharton.
- He was severely injured during the ‘Battle of the Bulge’.
- ”Not thinking of myself as a writer gives me the freedom to be one.”
- Al (1999) is a sequel to Birdy
- Wharton himself kept 250 canaries as a teenager.
- He himself kept his canaries in a cage similar to Birdy’s.
Birdy Assumptions and Quotes:
- ‘We’re crazy because we can’t accept the idea that things happen for no reason at all and that it doesn’t mean anything, there’s no end to the absurd things people will do trying to make life mean something.’ (Al, Birdy)
- I feel that Al and Birdy have 2 very different takes on life, Birdy wishes to be free, to live a life where he does not have to conform to the normal that society has pushed on him and he doesn’t understand. He views life’s true treasure as being free. He doesn’t always have to know where he’s going as long as he believes his ‘wings’ will carry him to his destination. Al on the other hand is a lot more grounded, wanting to pin down a perfect life. He keeps up a facade to the world to hide how crushed and scared he is of his life not being perfect. He is trapped by his perspective of a perfect life, and so in a way Birdy is his only route to true freedom.
- In the book, Perta is actually named ‘Birdy’ after Birdy himself, and the bird’s mate is called Al, which could connect to the homoerotic undertones of the book and film.
- The feathers may symbolise fragility and feminine elements.
- Al was brought up in an abusive household, this may be why he has sudden bursts of anger, but is also quick to apologise and back down weakly. It could also be the reason why he struggles so much to achieve a perfectly ideal life, to pin it down, to distance himself from things he doesn’t understand, because he’s been brought up to believe he’s failure.
- Birdy, on the other hand, appears to have very little interaction with his parents, and although thy love him they don’t know how to reach him, he’s always alone. However, he doesn’t mind, he views the birds as his friends. However this isolation from human kind may have been why he feels so closely connected to birds, he wants to fly away and not be trapped by societies rules. He values Al closely as his is the only ‘normal’ person to ever try and understand him or encourage him to be himself, he doesn’t try to restrain Birdy..
I have more research however I will go into further detail on a later post.