Heavenly Creatures

Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for Heavenly Creatures. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

Experiencing adolescence and the possibility of other worlds shown to her by Juliet, Pauline changes from a dull, obedient daughter with straight-A grades to an imaginative person with a purpose:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  Anger against Mother boiled up inside me as it is she who is one of the main obstacles in my path.  Suddenly a means of ridding myself of this occurred to me.  If she were to die…
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 208)

Main Character Growth

Pauline needs to stop her obsession of being with Juliet, and stop living in a fantasy world of her own creation where problems are easily resolved by violent acts.

Main Character Approach

Reluctant to be in the school photo, Pauline adapts to the situation by hanging her head down rather than running away; Pauline responds to Juliet’s tuberculosis by wishing illness on herself and refusing to eat; when her mother threatens to not let her see Juliet again, Pauline’s initial response is to wish herself dead; she responds to threatening authority figures internally by having them killed by Diello in the 4th World of Borovnia.

Main Character Mental Sex

Pauline applies cause and effect reasoning to her encounter with the child psychologist, having him killed by Diello in her imaginary world; with Juliet, she’s worked out the Borovnian “entire royal lineage for the last five centuries”; desperate to go overseas, Pauline takes steps to make in happen—stealing silverware for the fare, applying for a passport, etc.; distressed over the one obstacle standing in her way, Pauline causes an effect—her mother’s death—having carefully worked out the steps of the murder plan.

Story Driver

The Art class teacher decides to pair up Pauline with Juliet, which begins their bonding process; getting a diary for Christmas a second time, Pauline decides on a more selfish New Year’s resolution; Mrs. Hulme decides she’s more interested in Bill’s feelings than his wife’s, leading to their affair and her divorce; Mr. Hulme decides to go to England, and place Juliet in South Africa; Mrs. Rieper decides that Juliet and Pauline should spend their last three weeks together; etc.

Story Limit

Pauline runs out of options in her quest to stay with Juliet: she first gets depressed and tries to make herself ill; she thinks of committing suicide; she suggests going to live with the Hulme family, then with Juliet in South Africa; she and Juliet plan to be discovered in Hollywood; she finally chooses an extreme solution—her plan to “moider Mother.”

Story Outcome

Despite removing “one of the main obstacles in my path,” Pauline and her object of desire, Juliet, are separated at story’s end:
“A SERIES OF CARDS explains what happened subsequently:
‘Too young for the death penalty, they were sent to separate prisons to be “Detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.”  [...]  It was a condition of their release that they never meet again.’”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 216)

Story Judgment

An adolescent rebelling against the confining nature of adult authority figures, Pauline is detained in prison for her crime.  She is forever separated from her beloved Juliet, who “was released in November 1959 and immediately left New Zealand to join her mother overseas.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 216)

Overall Story Throughline

""Till Death Do Us Part""

Overall Story Throughline

Pauline’s thoughts are totally focused on Juliet, with whom she shares a delusional, imaginary world; Mr. Hulme and Mrs. Rieper are worried by the idea that Pauline may have “formed a rather… unwholesome attachment to Juliet,” and they and the psychologist disapprove of the dreaded “Homosexuality…”; Mrs. Hulme thinks it’s normal, as she’s “sure it’s all perfectly innocent”; Mr. Rieper doesn’t seem to understand the concept, being more worried over her disobedience; etc.

Overall Story Concern

Pauline and Juliet can’t imagine existing without each other, and inhabit a fantasy world where their parents don’t exist; Juliet’s parents continue to keep up appearances as a married couple, even though Mrs. Hulme has moved her lover, Bill, into their house; Pauline’s parents want her to go on being the good schoolgirl, seemingly unaware of the effects adolescence has on her; Juliet keeps pretending everything’s all right with her parents’ marriage; Pauline acts as if Juliet’s parents want her to live with them; etc.

Overall Story Issue

Mrs. Hulme muses that Pauline and Juliet’s relationship is probably harmless; the psychiatrist thinks Pauline’s homosexuality may be a passing phase she’ll grow out of; Pauline thinks she doesn’t need school, as her writing will be her career.

Overall Story Counterpoint

Dr. Hulme insists that the girls’ relationship is unwholesome, and keeping them apart is the solution; Mr. and Mrs. Rieper firmly believe that Pauline’s fiction writing won’t lead to anything, that school certificate’s the only worthwhile goal.

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Thought vs.Knowledge

The firm ideas of the academic Dr. Hulme and strict Riepers dominate the freer-thinking of Mrs. Hulme and the psychiatrist, and lead the desperate girls to wilder imaginings—which they unfortunately act out.

Overall Story Problem

Mr. Hulme tells Mrs. Rieper his theory, based on a series of observations of his daughter with Pauline, that Pauline’s turning homosexual.  This conclusion, confirmed by the psychologist, makes her mother stricter in an attempt to change Pauline’s behavior:
HONORA:  You’re not going anywhere.  You’re 15 years old!!
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 208)

Overall Story Solution

Pauline’s way of escaping her mother’s control is based on a hunch:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  Anger against Mother boiled up inside me as it is she who is one of the main obstacles in my path.  Suddenly a means of ridding myself of this obstacle occurred to me.  If she were to die…
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 208)
But she hasn’t thought this premise through to its conclusion: How would killing her mother ensure her staying together with Juliet?

Overall Story Symptom

Because of its “unnatural” nature, Mr. Hulme focuses on ending the relationship between Juliet and Pauline; reacting with strictness as a method, Mrs. Rieper focuses on quashing Pauline’s rebellious nature; his wife’s love for him over, Mr. Hulme intends to divorce her.

Overall Story Response

Pauline and Juliet raise money to go overseas in an attempt to remain together and fulfill their Hollywood dreams; Pauline directs Juliet in the plan to “moider Mother,” who she sees as the main obstacle to their staying together; in scenes cut from the U.S. release of the film, Mrs. Hulme moves her lover Bill into the Hulme household, while keeping her failed marriage going.

Overall Story Catalyst

Juliet’s knowledge that her parents will abandon her for a vacation makes her withdraw into fantasy, and share her ideas of the 4th World with Pauline; Mr. Rieper’s presumption that Pauline invited John into her bed for sex causes her to rebel and make it actually happen; Pauline’s revelation of what she knows about her mother’s elopement widens the rift between them; Mr. Hulme’s knowledge that hanky-panky’s going on in the bathtub between Juliet and Pauline leads to Pauline’s visit to a psychologist; Pauline and her mother’s conflicting ideas about knowledge lead her to drop out of school and attend typing college; etc.

Overall Story Inhibitor

Mr. Hulme knows a lesbian when he hears two frolicking in the bathtub—he discerns the larger picture from the little clues he’s observed, and suggests treatment for Pauline in order to keep her from Juliet; Juliet mistakenly intuits that her father wouldn’t want to know about mother’s deep therapy with Bill—so she tries to blackmail her mother, speeding up the divorce and Juliet’s being sent to South Africa.

Overall Story Benchmark

The concerned parents of Pauline and Juliet conceive the notion that the more the girls spend time together, the more “unhealthy” their relationship is becoming. Their process of arriving at this idea parallels Pauline’s descent into madness.  Her inventive imagination, expressed through Borovnian scenes and her diary entries, reveal how her separation of fantasy and reality gradually blurs and moves her toward murder.  Initially, in the 4th World:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  We saw a gateway through the clouds.  Everything was full of peace and bliss.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 192)
With Juliet in hospital, Pauline writes to her in character:
PAULINE (Letter V.O.):  I have to report that the lower classes are terrifically dull.  Only yesterday I was compelled to execute several peasants just to alleviate the boredom…
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 194)
Hearing about the Hulmes’ divorce from Mr. Hulme, Pauline imagines herself one of the family:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  Poor Father.  Dr. Hulme was absolutely kind and understanding…  [...]  One thing Deborah and I are sticking to: through everything, we sink or swim together.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 207)
Finally, as Pauline loses her grip on reality, she gets the idea to kill her mother:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  We realised why Deborah and I have such extraordinary telepathy and why people treat us and look at us the way they do.  It is because we are MAD.  We are both stark raving MAD!
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 210)

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

“Next time I write in this diary, Mother will be dead,” wrote Pauline [Rieper], a 15-year-old living in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1954.  “How odd—yet how pleasing.”  Making good on that promise, Pauline and her school friend Juliet Hulme went on an outing with Honora [Rieper], Pauline’s mother, and bludgeoned her to death with a brick stuffed in a stocking.  Just before this fateful stroll in the woods, the threesome had stopped to enjoy tea.
Like Leopold and Loeb, their American counterparts, Pauline and Juliet scandalized their countrymen in ways that have not yet been forgotten.  They were smugly superior; they were caught in the grip of illicit passion; they were capable of murdering an innocent relative for no good reason.  On top of this, they broke more serious taboos.  They were genteel schoolgirls who fell in love with each other and, goaded by that love, committed a terminally unladylike crime.
What sent them over the edge?  Although Pauline’s diary became a matter of public record when the girls went to trial, it left many unanswered questions.  No less arrogantly delusional than Leopold and Loeb, Pauline and Juliet had come to inhabit a dream world populated by imaginary royalty and teen-age fave raves (they shared a huge crush on the singer Mario Lanza), who sometimes acted as stand-ins for the adults in their lives.  With ebullient imagination, they invented a secret, mischievous universe open only to “heavenly creatures” like themselves.  Pauline used that phrase to describe Juliet and herself.”
(Maslin, p. 389)

Overall Story Backstory

“But the other reason why it was important that we tell this as a true story is that it has a kind of universal truth for anybody growing up.  When you’re at that age, you become very focused on things in an extreme way.  And I don’t think Pauline and Juliet are so very different from anybody else; I think several things went wrong in their lives—Juliet’s parents broke up, and Pauline became very alienated from her family (she was an obsessional manic-depressive character)—and I think it was this terrible combination of things that led to this extraordinarily horrible act.  But it’s not something that can be precluded from anybody’s experience in growing up.  Adolescence is such a crazy time.”
(Fran Walsh, in Scenario, p. 224)

Main Character Throughline

Pauline Rieper — Matricidal schoolgirl

Main Character Throughline

Pauline is totally obsessed with Juliet, wanting to be one with her.  Her diary entries reveal her disdain of everybody else, save for the cuckolded Mr. Hulme:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.): We have decided how sad it is for other people that they cannot appreciate our genius… ...but we hope the book will help them to do so a little, though no one could fully appreciate us.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 190)
PAULINE (Poem V.O.):  [...] You cannot know nor yet try to guess,/The sweet soothingness of their caress,/The outstanding genius of this pair is understood by few,/They are so rare… [...] Compared with these two, every man is a fool,/The world is most honored that they should deign to rule,/And I worship the power of these lovely two,/With that adoring love known to so few…
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 199)

Main Character Concern

Pauline’s unthinking responses to situations are inappropriate: Pauline reacts to Juliet’s T.B. by acting ill herself; she sneaks out to have sex with John as an impulsive response to her parents’ scolding; her impulse to do away with her mother creates the most trouble of all.

Main Character Issue

Pauline is sullen, withdrawn, and friendless until she falls under the influence of Juliet’s optimism—then she looks forward to a bright future, spending the rest of her life with Juliet and expecting fame and fortune from the publication of their writings.

Main Character Counterpoint

When Juliet comes down with T.B., Pauline makes herself sick with worry over her quarantined friend; when Dr. Hulme threatens to send Juliet away and Mrs. Rieper forbids Pauline from following her, Pauline despairs over the separation and desperately searches for a way to overcome this obstacle.

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Confidence vs.Worry

Visited by what seems the perfect solution to her problem—murdering her mother—Pauline regains confidence in a future with Juliet so much that she doesn’t worry about the consequences of her crime.

Main Character Problem

Pauline’s theory of how she will live her life conflicts with her parents’ plans for her.  Frustrated by her dull, non-motivating home and school environment, Pauline expects her creative writing to provide a real, as well as imaginary, escape:
“HONORA:  You’re failing English… you used to be top of the class—
PAULINE:  I’m doing my own writing!
Honora snatches up an exercise book from a large pile.
HONORA:  These stories are not going to get you School Certificate!  You don’t seriously think anyone’s going to publish them?
PAULINE (Scornful):  What do you know?  You wouldn’t know the first thing about writing.  You’re the most ignorant person I’ve ever met!”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 204)

Main Character Solution

If Pauline heeded her parents’ gut feelings about the stories she and Juliet write together, she might not rely on them to provide a future:
“HERBERT:  This story of yours—maybe the school newspaper will print it when it’s finished.
JULIET:  Actually, Mr. Rieper… it’s a novel, and we’ll be sending it to New York.  That’s where all the big publishing houses are based.
HERBERT (Laughs):  Is that a fact?  You’d better put my name down for an advance copy!
Herbert chuckles.  Pauline and Juliet look at each other with knowing smiles.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 190)

Main Character Symptom

Pauline has accepted the value systems handed down by her parents, school, and the church without question, until Juliet comes along:
“JULIET:  Daddy says the Bible’s a load of bunkum!
Pauline reacts with a degree of shock.
PAULINE:  But, we’re all going to Heaven!
JULIET:  I’m not!  I’m going to the Fourth World!  It’s sort of like Heaven, only better because there aren’t any Christians.
Pauline giggles.
JULIET:  It’s an absolute Paradise of music, art and pure enjoyment.
Pauline is entranced.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 188)
Pauline transfers her trust away from her family to her new friend, Juliet, and assumes that their relationship will continue despite the obstacles it meets.

Main Character Response

Pauline’s flouting of authority tests her parent’s patience; In Juliet’s garden, Pauline tests her new friend:
“Pauline’s eyes are shut.  She speaks with great effort.
PAULINE: (Gasping):  I think I’m dying…
JULIET:  (Upset):  Don’t… please!  Please, don’t!
Dying breath escapes from Pauline’s mouth… she goes limp.  Juliet shrieks!
JULIET (Crying):  Paul!!!
Juliet collapses over Pauline’s body, crying.  Pauline’s eyes flick open!  She sniffs and pulls a face.
PAULINE:  Urrrgh!  You’ve been eating onions!”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 187)
Later, Pauline tests how much the recovering Juliet has missed her by mentioning that the boarder John is in love with her:
“Pauline giggles.  Juliet turns away.
JULIET (Sullen):  Is that why you haven’t replied to my last letter?
Pauline’s smile disappears.
PAULINE:  No, silly.  I’m just teasing.  He’s only a stupid boy!”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 196)

Main Character Unique Ability

Pauline only feels complete when she’s with Juliet.  She’s adamant that she and Juliet as a couple, and their imaginative writing, have great value to the world, if only it knew it:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  We have decided how sad it is for other people that they cannot appreciate our genius… ...but we hope the book will help them do so a little, though no one could full appreciate us.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 190)

Main Character Critical Flaw

Pauline’s belief that she and Juliet can kill their mother and everything will work out fine, just as Diello does to her enemies in the fantasy world of Borovnia, makes her delusional enough to commit murder.

Main Character Benchmark

Pauline’s reflections on her life, as narrated from her diary, underscores her failing grip on reality: in her first entry, she resolves “to be more lenient with others”; after experiencing Juliet’s fantasy world, she decides:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  We have an extra part of our brain which can appreciate the Fourth World.  Only about 10 people have it.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 192)
She writes to the hospitalized Juliet in the character of Charles, fantasizing that she was “compelled to execute several peasants just to alleviate the boredom…”; separated from the Hulmes by her mother, Pauline considers:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  The thought is too dreadful.  Life would be unbearable without Deborah…  I wish I could die.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 203)
Her next resolution is “a far more selfish one”; finally, she considers killing her mother the only way out of her situation, and while “Naturally we feel a trifle nervous, but the pleasure of anticipation is great,” [...] “Peculiarly enough I have no qualms of conscience.”

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

“PAULINE RIEPER: 16 - dark-haired, shorter and stockier than Juliet.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 182)

Main Character Throughline Synopsis

Pauline feels limited—by the social status of her peasant family, by her physical limitations, by her mother’s control.  In Juliet, she sees a soulmate with similar interests and attitude, and flourishes creatively.  She transfers affection for her parents to Juliet’s more glamorous parents, rebelling against her own.  While it’s Dr. Hulme who parts her from her beloved Juliet, Pauline blames her own mother for not letting her go overseas with Juliet.  Feeling incomplete without Juliet as part of her life, Pauline descends into obsessive madness, recruiting Juliet into her final solution—murdering her mother.

Main Character Backstory

Pauline has a history of traumatic childhood illness:
PAULINE:  I spent ages in hospital, too… with my leg.  I had to have all these operations.  Osteomyelitus turns your bones to chalk.  It took them two years to drain all the muck out.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 185)

Influence Character Throughline

Juliet Hulme — Pauline's best friend

Influence Character Throughline

Juliet is bright, confident, and attractive—everything Pauline wants to be.  She also enjoys life in a large house, has a well-to-do lifestyle and high-achieving parents—in contrast to Pauline, whose working class parents have to take in boarders, and who she’s ashamed of.  Her impact on her new best friend is great—Pauline adopts Juliet’s tastes and interests, hopes to be adopted by the Hulme family, and ultimately can’t bear the idea of being separated from her.

Influence Character Concern

Juliet is concerned with keeping her parents together, maintaining the family unit so she won’t be abandoned again as she was as a sickly child.

Influence Character Issue

With Pauline, Juliet finds the sense of security that she longs for from her parents:
JULIET (V.O.):  Mummy and Daddy sent me to the Bahamas to recuperate.  I didn’t see them for five years—but we’re together now and Mummy’s promised they’ll never leave me again.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 185)
They fall asleep on the bed together, take long baths together, plan a future together in Hollywood, and vow:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  One thing Deborah and I are sticking to:  through everything, we sink or swim together.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 207)

Influence Character Counterpoint

Feeling threatened by her parents’ plan to vacation in England and leave her behind, Juliet develops T.B. and is quarantined, left alone again “for the good of my health.”  Finding her mother in bed with one of her marriage counselees, Juliet threatens to expose her affair to Mr. Hulme unless paid one hundred pounds in hush money.

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Security vs.Threat

Juliet’s sense of security is threatened by her parent’s leaving her for a vacation, and then by her mother’s affair with Bill and her father’s decision to divorce.  When she transfers her affections to Pauline, her father’s threat to send her to South Africa alone, and Mrs. Rieper’s refusal to allow Pauline to join her, erodes her support mechanism and leads her to murder and security of the maximum kind.

Influence Character Problem

Juliet trusted her parents when they told her they’d never leave her again:
JULIET (V.O.):  Mummy and Daddy sent me to the Bahamas to recuperate.  I didn’t see them for five years—but we’re together now and Mummy’s promised they’ll never leave me again.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 185)

Influence Character Solution

The dependability of Juliet’s parents is put to the test when they make plans to go to England and Juliet comes down with T.B.  She loses trust in them when they decide to go ahead with their trip and leave her in a sanitorium:
JULIET (Bitterly):  They sent me off to the Bahamas “for the good of my health.”  They sent me to the Bay of bloody Islands “for the good of my health.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 195)

Influence Character Symptom

Juliet’s worst fears—of abandonment—are realized when her father announces he’s divorcing her mother, resigning from the university, and going back to England:
“JULIET (Vehemently):  But Daddy, you can’t just leave me with Mother!
Hilda looks hurt.
HILDA:  We thought it best that you accompany your father…
JULIET (Worried):  Is Gina [Pauline] coming, too?
HENRY (Annoyed):  Of course not.
JULIET (Angry):  I’m not going to England without Gina!
Hilda and Henry exchange an awkward glance.
HILDA:  You’re not going to England, darling.
Juliet looks confused.
HENRY:  I’m leaving you in South Africa with Auntie Ina.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 208)

Influence Character Response

Juliet, upset that her plan to go to Hollywood is thwarted by Pauline’s inability to get a passport, commits to maintaining the relationship with her only friend:
JULIET (Sobbing):  Don’t cry, Gina…  We’re not going to be separated.  They can’t make us… they can’t!
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 209)
Soon afterwards, Juliet attempts to continue to stay together forever with Pauline by joining in with her plan to remove the primary obstacle, Mrs. Rieper.

Influence Character Unique Ability

Juliet appoints herself and Pauline as superior beings by asserting that “all the best people have bad chests and bone diseases”; Juliet shakes Pauline’s religious beliefs with her professor father’s knowledge:
“JULIET:  Daddy says the Bible’s a load of bunkum!
Pauline reacts with a degree of shock.
PAULINE:  But we’re all going to Heaven!
JULIET:  I’m not!  I’m going to the Fourth World!  It’s sort of like Heaven, only better because there aren’t any Christians.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 188)

Influence Character Critical Flaw

Afraid of being left alone, Juliet rates Pauline’s companionship so highly that she goes along with Pauline’s crazed plan to remove what she sees as the primary obstacle to their continued togetherness.

Influence Character Benchmark

At the moment Juliet learns her parents are considering a vacation without her, she’s stunned—and withdraws into the imaginary Fourth World; discovering her mother in bed with Bill, Juliet takes the opportunity to extort money, assuming her mother wouldn’t want her father to know; Juliet justifies the murder she’s in the midst of executing by referring to the present state of mind of their victim, Mrs. Rieper:
JULIET:  I think she knows what’s going to happen… she doesn’t appear to bear us any grudge!
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 214)

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

“JULIET HULME: nearly 16 - tall, blond and willowy”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 182)

Influence Character Throughline Synopsis

Juliet’s alienated from other girls by her arrogance, her physical frailty, and her constantly changing schools.  In Pauline, she finds someone able to appreciate the alternate world of her imagination, and who won’t desert her as her parents frequently do.  Raising money to escape to Hollywood with Pauline, she tries to extort money from her mother, but the result is her parents’ divorce and her being packed off to South Africa—alone.  Feeling abandoned, she joins in Pauline’s plan to “moider her mother.”

Influence Character Backstory

Like Pauline, Juliet suffered from a traumatic childhood illness:
JULIET:  I’ve got scars… they’re on my lungs.  I was in bed for months during the war, ravaged by respiratory illness.  Mummy and Daddy sent me to the Bahamas to recuperate. 
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 185)
The school headmistress introduces her:
MISS STEWART:  Miss Waller… class… this is Juliet Hulme.  Juliet is joining us from St. Margaret’s, and prior to that she spent some time at Queenswood in the Hawkes Bay.
JULIET:  I am actually from England, Miss Stewart.
MISS STEWART:  Of course… Juliet’s father is Dr. Hulme, the Rector of the University.  Juliet’s traveled all over the world, and I’m sure she’ll be very eager to share her impressions of exotic lands with the gels [girls] of 3A.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 183)

Relationship Story Throughline

""Every Man is a Fool""

Relationship Story Throughline

The relationship between the two girls, “Juliet [who] was confident and loud, and Pauline [who] was brooding and dark,” is a dynamic one.  The extroverted Juliet’s influence on the withdrawn Pauline encourages her personality to flourish and gives her a sense of self, by introducing her to new worlds of possibility: that of Juliet’s well-to-do family, and the imaginary 4th World of Borovnia where nobody else exists.

Relationship Story Concern

Pauline and Juliet first come together as a couple over a shared activity—Phys Ed class—which neither participates in because of what they have in common, a disabling childhood illness; feeling estranged from and superior to lesser mortals who can’t understand them, they create an alternative world—defining the Borovnian royal lineage, sculpting Plasticine models, playing Mario Lanza records, frolicking in their underwear in the park, sharing long baths, writing in their diaries, etc.

Relationship Story Issue

Through their creation and manipulation of characters in their fictional world of Borovnia, Pauline and Juliet gain an insight into creative problem-solving, having the lustful Diello remove obstacles to Charles and Deborah’s will with the stroke of his sword.

Relationship Story Counterpoint

Using the knowledge of what violent characters can achieve in their imaginary world, Juliet practices its use on the naysaying vicar:
“Diello grabs a huge ax, swings it up above his head, and brings it crashing down onto…
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 195)
Pauline gets the idea to apply the same method to her mother, bringing a rock in a sock crashing down onto her head, after it works to get rid of her nuisance of a lover, John/Nicholas:
“He reaches down… for a silver ring, set with a small pink stone.  It is lying on the ground, as if dropped by somebody.
Diello slashes the rope with his dagger.  Before Nicholas can react, the portcullis crashes down on him.  [...]  Juliet picks up the pink stone.  She holds it up and it twinkles in the sunlight.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 200)

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Enlightenment vs.Wisdom

The insight into dealing with obstacles that Pauline and Juliet discern from their fantasy world is misguided, for they have neither the experience nor the wisdom to think through the consequences of their murder of Mrs. Rieper to its logical conclusion—imprisonment and separation.

Relationship Story Problem

Pauline and Juliet’s theory that they belong together no matter what, creates problems for them when their parents disapprove and separate them: Dr. Hulme is sending Juliet away, and Mrs. Rieper won’t let Pauline go with her.

Relationship Story Solution

Pauline is visited by the premonition that once she kills her mother, all her problems will be over and she’ll be reunited with Juliet:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  Suddenly a means of ridding myself of this obstacle occurred to me.  If she were to die…
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 208)

Relationship Story Symptom

Killing people who get in their way works well for characters in Borovnia, with no negative costs: Diello executes the vicar for Juliet, impales Nicholas with the portcullis for Pauline, and runs through Pauline’s psychologist with his sword.

Relationship Story Response

Pauline and Juliet transfer the method used to solve their imaginary problems into the real world, trying it out for the first time on Pauline’s mother, with successful but disastrous results.

Relationship Story Catalyst

Juliet’s mastery of the French language, and the way she lets everyone know it by one-upping the teacher, makes Pauline admire her; Juliet’s understanding of what it’s like to suffer a major illness, and what to say to Pauline to comfort her, brings them closer together and separates them from others:
JULIET:  Cheer up!  All the best people have had bad chests and bone diseases!  It’s all frightfully romantic!
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 186)
Pauline’s poem reveals the deeper meaning of her obsession with Juliet:
PAULINE (Poem V.O.):  Compared with these two, every man is a fool,/The world is honoured that they should deign to rule,/And I worship the power of these lovely two,/With that adoring love known to so few…/‘Tis indeed a miracle, one must feel, That two such heavenly creatures are real, [...]  Why are men such fools they will not realise,/The wisdom that is hidden behind those strange eyes./And these wonderful people are you and I.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 200)

Relationship Story Inhibitor

Pauline’s musing about John the “idiot boarder,” who she considers to have fallen in love with her, makes the bedridden Juliet sullen and jealous until Pauline mends the rift:
PAULINE:  No, silly.  I’m just teasing.  He’s only a stupid boy!
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 196)

Relationship Story Benchmark

When Pauline becomes aware of Juliet’s talent and assertiveness in school, she’s immediately drawn to her; the discovery that they have childhood illness in common separates them from the other students; Juliet teaches Pauline the wonders of the 4th World, a secret they share; learning of Juliet’s T.B., Pauline affects a sympathetic illness; learning that Juliet’s to be shipped to South Africa, Pauline tries to become part of the Hulme family.

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

Attracted by Juliet’s superiority complex, the withdrawn Pauline finds Juliet’s home life and imaginative mind wonderful places to cohabit.  Together they create a secret, imaginary world reserved for “heavenly creatures” such as themselves, where interfering adults are easily and violently disposed of.  Pauline withdraws further from her home and school life as she bonds closer to Juliet.  Split apart as a result of Dr. Hulme’s suspicions of hanky-panky, the girls scheme to escape together to Hollywood.  Thwarted by her mother, Pauline consummates her love for Juliet and together they kill Mrs. Rieper, but end up apart, never to meet again.

Relationship Story Backstory

Though sharing debilitating childhood illnesses, Pauline and Juliet come from opposite ends of Christchurch’s social spectrum.  Juliet, daughter of local “royalty,” is a world traveler with an academic father and liberal-minded mother, and is allowed free expression of her artistic talent.  Pauline, daughter of a working-class fish-husband and a homemaker, has had no adventure and her only artistic outlet has been in helping her father with his carpentry projects.

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

Everyone’s concerned with Pauline and Juliet’s staying together in their intense relationship: Mr. Hulme wants to stop it as it’s “unwholesome”; The psychologist thinks it’s only a phase, albeit a homosexual one, and recommends boys as an alternative for Pauline; Mrs. Hulme is “sure it’s all perfectly innocent”; The clueless Mr. Rieper worries that “they don’t get enough fresh air and exercise”; Mrs. Rieper forbids Pauline from joining Juliet overseas; Pauline and Juliet will let nothing prevent them from being together, and kill Mrs. Rieper for trying.

Overall Story Consequence

As a consequence of murdering Mrs. Rieper and still failing in their goal to stay together, Pauline and Juliet were sent to do time at separate prisons, to be “Detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.”

Overall Story Cost

In her attempt to extort money from her mother, Juliet finds her parents’ marriage is rapidly deteriorating; Mrs. Hulme’s “deep therapy” gets her client, Bill, farther from repairing his marriage; involved in her own creative writing, the standard of Pauline’s school work is slipping, and she drops out to take a job.

Overall Story Dividend

From Juliet, Pauline learns to be more assertive and instinctively voice her opinions to figures of authority, especially her mother; impulsively reacting to her mother’s scolding over her pajama party with the boarder, John, Pauline seeks him out and gladly loses her virginity to him.

Overall Story Requirements

Juliet and Pauline conceive of Hollywood as an escape from their problems, and scheme to raise the airfare; to keep her from his daughter, Dr. Hulme comes up with the idea of sending Pauline to a psychiatrist; he conceives of divorce from Mrs. Hulme, and sending Juliet away to South Africa; Pauline invents the plan to murder Mrs. Rieper as the way to keep herself and Juliet together.

Overall Story Prerequisites

Juliet discovers her mother’s infidelity with Bill, and tries to extort money for travel to Hollywood with Pauline—but learns that her father already knows of the affair.

Overall Story Preconditions

Pauline finds that as she’s currently only 15 years old, she’s unable to get the passport she needs to go overseas with Juliet—she needs her mother’s permission, which is denied.

Overall Story Forewarnings

Foreshadowing what she and Pauline have in store for Mrs. Rieper later, Juliet premeditates about a murder weapon in her garden:
“LOW ANGLE… bricks, piled up beside the garage.
Juliet takes one… weighs it in her hands, then takes a smaller half-brick.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 212)
Mrs. Rieper contemplates the jewel on the ground pointed out to her by Pauline, who deliberately placed it there in preparation for the murder:
“MOVE IN… to a small pink stone lying on the ground.
MOVE IN… to Honora’s puzzled face.
She starts to bend down.
Juliet turns around.
Pauline reaches into the shoulder bag.
Honora’s fingers reach the pink stone.
Back of Honora’s head.
The brick emerges from the bag.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 215)

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Overall Story Signpost 1

Enamored with the Hulmes’ lifestyle, Pauline becomes a bosom buddy of Juliet and starts to enjoy life.  Juliet and Pauline transform their movie star heartthrobs into saints.

Overall Story Journey 1 from Becoming to Conceptualizing

The girls drift away from their parents—the rebellious Pauline becomes her own person by losing her virginity to John, while Juliet becomes bitter at being abandoned by her parents when ill; Dr. Hulme shares his ideas about their unwholesome relationship with Mrs. Rieper.

Overall Story Signpost 2

Dr. Hulme imagines there’s more to Juliet and Pauline’s hand-holding and deep soaking in the bathtub than meets his eye, and envisions a bout with the child psychologist as the answer.

Overall Story Journey 2 from Conceptualizing to Conceiving

A concerned Mrs. Rieper sees separation as a way to shake Pauline out of her obsession with Juliet; the depressed Pauline drops out of school; Juliet tries to blackmail Mrs. Hulme and Bill for money to go overseas, but Dr. Hulme responds by announcing their divorce.

Overall Story Signpost 3

Dr. Hulme comes up with the idea of his going to England and Juliet to South Africa as an answer to his marital problems.  Pauline reacts with the notion that they want her to join them, which Mrs. Rieper won’t allow.

Overall Story Journey 3 from Conceiving to Being

The fretful Mrs. Rieper prevents Pauline from going away with Juliet; a sympathetic Mrs. Hulme allows them to be together for a final three weeks, which is when they hatch the plan to kill Mrs. Rieper.

Overall Story Signpost 4

Pauline and Juliet act like cold-blooded killers, leading Mrs. Rieper down the garden path and bludgeoning her to death—before snapping out of it and realizing the import of what they’ve done.

Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1

Pauline considers the rebellious Juliet’s drawing in Art class to be fantastic—and adopts her sensibilities, going home and playing a Mario Lanza record excitedly.

Main Character Journey 1 from Conscious to Memory

Her imaginative sensibilities stirred by interacting with Juliet and the Hulmes, Pauline starts writing and loses interest in activities she used to share with her father:
“HERBERT:  Thought I’d have a go at building the birdhouse on Saturday… anyone want to give me a hand?
Pauline remains silent.
HONORA:  You used to love making things with Dad, Yvonne.
MOVE IN… on Pauline, who has not been listening.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 194)

Main Character Signpost 2

Rebelling against her mother’s strictness, Pauline loses her virginity to “that idiot boarder” John—while fondly recalling images of a smiling Juliet in Borovnia.

Main Character Journey 2 from Memory to Subconscious

Pauline deliberately puts aside her familial childhood memories for a new life with her best friend.  Her sexual affection also shifts to Juliet, to the distress of both of their parents and the psychiatrist.

Main Character Signpost 3

Pauline’s first entry in her new diary shows how her motivations have changed:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  My New Year’s resolution is a far more selfish one than last year, so there is more probability of my keeping it.  It is to make my motto: “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may be dead.”
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 203)

Main Character Journey 3 from Subconscious to Preconscious

A frustrated Pauline is motivated more by her own writing than school work.  She impulsively quits school and plans to go Hollywood with Juliet.

Main Character Signpost 4

When her mother forbids her from joining Juliet in South Africa, Pauline reacts impulsively:
PAULINE (Diary V.O.):  Anger against Mother boiled up inside me as it is she who is one of the main obstacles in my path.  Suddenly a means of ridding myself of this obstacle occurred to me.  If she were to die…
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 208)

Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1

The optimistic Juliet urges a despondent Pauline to focus on the positive side of things rather than dwell on the dismal past:
JULIET:  Cheer up!  All the best people have bad chests and bone diseases!  It’s all frightfully romantic!
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 186)

influence Character Journey 1 from Present to Past

The effusive Juliet introduces the world she’s created to the curious Pauline, and comes to rely on her support when ill.

Influence Character Signpost 2

When Juliet falls ill again, her parents abandon her for a trip overseas—just as they did when she was younger.

Influence Character Journey 2 from Past to Progress

Feeling more loved by Pauline than by her parents, Juliet thinks Hollywood’s their destination and works toward raising the fare money.

Influence Character Signpost 3

Attempting to blackmail her mother for money with which to go overseas, Juliet discovers how far her parents’ marriage has deteriorated—her father knows of the cuckold Bill, and moves the breakup forward by announcing the divorce.

Influence Character Journey 3 from Progress to Future

Despondent over her parents’ breakup and her separation from Pauline, Juliet burns their childish things, gets serious, and picks a brick.

Influence Character Signpost 4

Juliet tries to ensure a future with Pauline by helping remove an obstacle to it—she helps to kill Mrs. Rieper, depriving her of any future life.

Relationship Story

Relationship Story Signpost 1

Comparing scars and childhood illnesses, Pauline and Juliet gain an understanding of each other that others cannot, and start to bond.

Relationship Story Journey 1 from Understanding to DoingAt Juliet's home, an ecstatic Pauline realizes how wonderful life can be, and together they start to inhabit the world of their imagination.
Relationship Story Signpost 2

Pauline joins the Hulme family on vacation, where she and Juliet go swimming, build a sandcastle, and develop the relationships of their imaginary world, Borovnia.

Relationship Story Journey 2 from Doing to Obtaining

Pauline responds to Juliet’s T.B. by acting ill herself.  Their isolation brings them closer together, and they plan to go overseas together to attain stardom.

Relationship Story Signpost 3

Pauline and Juliet steal the family silverware as part of their plan to obtain enough money for the fare to Hollywood.

Relationship Story Journey 3 from Obtaining to Learning

Distressed at being unable to obtain a passport, Pauline finds solace in spending time with Juliet and they descend into madness together.

Relationship Story Signpost 4

Pauline and Juliet gather intimate knowledge of each other:
“Pauline comes down on top of Juliet, kissing her on the lips… Pauline’s hands slipping Juliet’s blouse off her shoulders.”
PAULINE: (Diary V.O.):  We spent a hectic night going through the saints.  It was wonderful!  Heavenly!  Beautiful!  And ours!  We felt satisfied indeed.  We have now learned the peace of the thing called Bliss, the joy of the thing called Sin.
(Walsh and Jackson, p. 210-11)

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


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