Hi everyone, one of the film texts lots of classes have studied is There Will be Blood (2007). This is a creative response in the form of diary entries as part of an English assignment to the movie. It will make more sense to people who have watched it, but if you haven’t, I’d definitely recommend it! Enjoy and feel free to give feedback.
Saturday 24th November, 1937
To H.W, the man who was always there,
I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to do.
I am ashamed. I am humiliated.
Begrudgingly, but honestly, I will concede that this was all my doing, my harm. If I was not so insecure or disengaged and obsolete, then perhaps none of this would have occurred. Perhaps. But it doesn’t matter now. I am where I am and there’s nothing I can do to go back and change what happened.
I’m sorry I write to you in this way but it feels as if control has abandoned my body. You are well, I presume and I pray Mary is well. I wish it were the same here, but the truth is, our livelihoods deteriorate by the moment. What was once a tranquil, peaceful grassland where we merrily lived our simple lives has become a rotting hell for each and every one of us. We could hunt quail, drink goat’s milk and sing songs without fear once upon a time, without a care.
But as I lay here on this bench, I feel the warmth dissipating and it’s not because of the weather. I’ve snuggled myself up against this grey seat but nothing will take the pain away. My knees are tucked against my chest and I moan in pain. I call his name but nothing will bring him back. Nothing.
He’s done it, son. He’s insane and he’s gone and killed Eli. Eli. What hope there was for me before you left has been crushed in the hands of the man who went insane- Daniel Plainview. Boy, I would do anything to have him back, anything. They were speaking with each other in his house, Daniel’s house. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they were arguing- there’s never been much the two of them have agreed upon. I watched them exchange insults from the corner of the room. I was a coward. I whimpered in anticipation just as I whimper here now, except now there is nothing I can do to bring him back.
Daniel, being the abusive drunkard that he is, hurled a bowling pin at the man who I have watched grow before my very eyes. I can’t comprehend him; his actions, his motives, the man is a foreign alien who came here and conquered and eradiated what didn’t please him and there’s nothing I can do about it. Nothing.
Sunday 25th November, 1937
The night has done me some favours. Or perhaps it was forcing my thoughts onto a piece of paper. Either way, I am now more rested than yesterday. I wish time healed me as much as they say it does. I wish the hard things in life were easier, but again I ask for too much. If it weren’t for Daniel Plainview, that emotionless pile of scum, then I wouldn’t have to suffer today.
Daniel Plainview. Daniel Plainview’s arrival to me was a blessing at first sight. Here was a man and his innocent son- you, out for quail like everyone else. But he had a feeling about him- almost like an aura. He carried an attribution of authority and a mentality of nothing but intention.
That is what has brought us here. Intention. When the wrong intention is put in the wrong person’s head, then there lies no method behind his madness- only madness. Plainview’s intentions, however, seemed as just as his presence. His motivator seemed to be quail and the Sunday Ranch seemed to be the best place to look for it.
What was it that brought the most innocent of intentions, the merest of motivations to the downfall that I live and breathe every single day? From the corner of the room, I watched him make a mockery of the village I loved. I put his evil down to only one thing; greed.
Greed is what has gripped Daniel by the hand and never let go. His selfishness and desire for all the material wealth he could get his dirty hands on is what has led to the failure of this ranch. No success was ever enough to quench his thirst. With every dollar he gained, he lost one of his morals. Now he is the richest person on the land.
That’s enough from me. It is Eli’s funeral now and I must mourn the loss of another life since the appearance of Daniel Plainview.
Monday 26th November, 1937
This is not the first time Plainview and I have crossed paths. You’ll remember I said that there’s things I needed to tell you.
Many years ago, when the likes of you were learning to walk, I, like Plainview, mined to support my family. I’d spend hours toiling rigorously in the scorching conditions for a pebble who’s worth kept me living. I worked alongside Plainview for quite some time- we’d both bring our young children to the sites in the hope that they would watch and learn.
One day though, and I recall it vividly, on a Tuesday afternoon, I had a terrible accident. I was working with a team on a hole, including Plainview. To put it frankly, one of our team members, I don’t recall his name, made a simple miscalculation which resulted in me tumbling down the hole. I’ve never felt such pain until recently. This was a different kind of pain though, it was physical, not emotional. Anyway, I fell and my team could not locate me. I was assumed dead when they returned. Slowly but surely, after days of being trapped, my younger body found its energy and I crawled my way out and back to our head site.
Barely breathing, I took some water and looked around. There was no-one there. They had lost all hope in me and that is what still shatters my confidence today. I limped slowly around the barren room, an oasis in the scorching desert. In the corner of the room, crouched underneath the shadiest bench was a baby girl. I picked her up and she cried and cried. I didn’t know what to do so I cried with her.
I searched and searched for my own little boy but he was nowhere to be seen. Disheartened, he became my only goal for the rest of my life. For years, not a day went by when he didn’t cross my mind, but what gave me some hope was the girl who was still there for me.
She is all grown up now HW. And I consider myself a fool because I realise Plainview’s very same greed is what left her there.
She is his daughter. I named her Mary.
And the scariest part, HW, is that I named my son Hugh-Watford Sunday.
Now I have found him.
You are my son and I am proud of you.
To the man who really was always there,
I love you,
In this sequence of diary entries, Abel Sunday reveals to HW that he is actually his father, and Daniel is Mary’s father. Amidst these revelations, Abel expresses a state of emotional confusion proceeding the death of his other son, Eli Sunday. This is evidenced on Saturday via the use of shorter sentences and an intentional lack of coherence in his thoughts. Abel is ‘ashamed’ and ‘humiliated’ and feels that ‘nothing will take the pain away’. The use of shorter sentences, such as ‘…nothing I can do about it. Nothing’, illustrates that his mental state is compromised by the grief induced by Daniel’s act of homicide. This is done in an attempt to convey Abel’s emotional state to the reader. On Sunday, Abel explores the personality of Daniel Plainview, and examines the relationship between his motives and actions. A thematic explanation of greed as a motivator occurs, and it is concluded that the greed in Daniel has ‘gripped [him] by the hand and never let go’. On Monday, the revelation and backstory behind Daniel and Abel’s previous relationship is given, and once again, a variation in sentence structure illustrates a state of mind compromised by emotion. The entry commences in ‘to HW, the man who was always there’, indicating Abel’s failed search for his son, and also ends in a similar line; ‘to HW, the man who really was always there’. Ultimately, the aim of this piece was to explore the theme of greed through a tell-all perspective from a minor character, Abel Sunday.