Although the texts are set at the same time and share some thematic similarities, you would never expect to find the same kinds of characters in Flare Path (1942) as in Charlotte Gray (1996). The public at the time wanted very different things. ” With reference to two characters (one from each text) discuss the extent to which you agree with this view. “Charlotte Gray” and “Flare Path” share the same context of WWII however, “Flare Path” was written for the war time audience whilst “Charlotte Gray” was written 50 years after the war for an audience who were greatly relaxed towards the war.
Charlotte and Patricia are two characters with similar contexts however as the public was different there are contrasts between them and what they stood for as well as conforming to gender inequality differently. Despite the different public there are similarities such as the fact that they both have selfish motives and the main purpose is love. Moreover, the public has means different ideas are portrayed through the different texts in order to fulfil the desire of the audience and make sure that they witness what they want.
“Flare Path” was a play written for an audience during WWII which meant that they were experiencing the war first hand and the morale was very low. However, “Charlotte Gray” was for an audience who were far from times of the war and hence they wanted a more excitement from the text. The lack of excitement in “Flare Path” can be seen by the anti-climactic ending which is predicted by the reader as Patricia begins to have second thoughts.
The phrase “I’d forgotten him for the moment” shows that Teddy is always on her mind and her forgetting him for a moment whilst planning a future with Peter causes her to “[wince]” displays her feeling towards him and that she wants him. Therefore, the reader is able to foresee the fact that Patricia is having second thoughts and hence the ending is very uninteresting.
On the other hand, “Charlotte Gray” quite exciting as the Charlotte takes the role of a brave heroine and against all odds manages to find her new lover in occupied France. The idea of a completely inexperienced woman being a spy and finding her lover keeps the reader engaged throughout, which is what the audience wanted at the time. Moreover, the concept of the ending being predictable is perhaps due to the fact that the audience wanted there to be a happy ending and promote the idea of togetherness in times of such hardship.
Differently, in “Charlotte Gray” the ending is also happy however, the reason is possibly more due to the reader wanting Charlotte to be rewarded after her odd-defying efforts. These efforts also mean that Charlotte is presented to be a true heroine in the novel as all her deeds are presented to be noble and positive. This can be seen by the phrase “I wanted to do something to help” hence showing that the modern audience are more likely to appreciate her and like her character as against all prospects she wants to help the war effort.
On the other hand Patricia is initially seen as a villain for going against her husband who is a flight lieutenant however as the audience was in a war time context Rattigan would be aware of the mental state of the public and hence Patricia decides to stay with Teddy hence changing the public views to be much more positive because the playwright wants the public to leave with positive motives and have higher morale during tough times.
Finally, the idea of the viewers wanting a hero but for different reasons shows the difference in the public because a Patricia was needed to be the “hero” in order to have the positive ending which showed that the war effort is important whilst Charlotte was the hero due to her helping the war but more importantly due to the fact that love conquers all. The concepts of heroism links to the gender inequality differences at the time felt by the public because “Flare Path” was written in the 1940’s WWII context where the women expected to stay home and support the war from home.
Whilst in 1990’s there was a much greater role of women in society following their emancipation meaning that the audience was not surprised by Charlotte taking the lead role of an independent whilst if it were to happen in the time of 1940’s the public would be very much be surprised as a woman is gaining so much responsibility. The difference in the responsibility is seen by the fact that Peter comes to find Patricia in the UK showing his role to be much greater while on the other hand Charlotte enters occupied France to find her lover.