Truman Show and Pleasantville Essay

Published: 2021-09-03 15:15:12
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Pleasantville and The Truman Show’s story lines build on many similarities: David and Jennifer are both transported into a “perfect” world within a black and white television show where there is no fighting, no questioning of authority, there are no convictions and no fires. Truman, similarly, lives within his own “perfect” world. He has the ideal job, the blonde haired, blue- eyed slim wife, a neat home, friendly neighbours and a world where he would be safe for the rest of his life. In both shows the protagonists, Truman and the people of Pleasantville, had absolutely no worries.
In an early sequence of Pleasantville, there is a medium shot of the Parker’s sitting in the kitchen together as a family. This scene is followed by a low angle shot of school children walking to school whilst the American flag waves above their heads. These two scenes symbolise the interpretation of the American dream. Family life is “perfect”, education is “perfect” and there is great patriotism. Life in this scene is described as perfect and absolute bliss. The movie builds up on these scenes to show the audience exactly what Pleasantville should be interpreted as.
These scenes describe Pleasantville as a perfect life where nothing goes wrong. They describe life in Pleasantville as bliss just as the American Dream is described to be “blissful”. As the film progresses, the audience’s perceptions of “The American Dream” change. Towards the middle sequence of Pleasantville, there is an eye level, medium close up on George Parker. Mary-Sue has gone out with her boyfriend and George is assuring Bud that Mary-Sue is a good girl and would do nothing wrong. During this time, Jennifer is at Lovers lane making love to her boyfriend.
This scene describes the ignorance of people within a “perfect” society, one described by “The American Dream. ” This scene shows how people can be exploited and cheated from the truth in a “perfect” society as real life incidents are hidden away from them. The media, such as twenty-four hour news channels, hide many truths from modern society. Many bias news channels purposely conceal “the second side of the story” in order to give viewers a one-dimensional outlook on the story. This in turn brings upon ignorant support towards the cause the news channels are bias towards.
In this film there is no place other than the place in which they live in-Pleasantville. This symbolizes the close-minded view of people who have been brought up in secluded places or even people who haven’t got a broader view of the outside world. Children in school are greatly protected from the outside world, by their teachers and their parents. They are ignorant towards many happenings in the world because these happenings simply have been hidden away from them. Pleasantville is trying to send a message to the audience that a perfect life with ignorance is no way to live.
Otherwise known as “ignorant bliss”. Ignorant bliss is great for unwanted worries and stress, however ignorance is greatly detrimental towards a society. Ignorance has the power to aid many wrongs in a society. One because of ignorance may hate a nation because one was brought up in a racist family and knows no better other than to hate. Even one may vote a government in to power just because the leader of that particular government is of the same ethnic group as one. In their “perfect” lives, the people of Pleasantville are ignorant to many of the problems and imperfections of the modern world.
In Pleasantville there is a scene where there are crosscuts between Bud and a coloured Margret, who are hugging each other, and a ‘black and white’ boy from school. The boy asks Bud why he isn’t at the town meeting and also why he is with a “coloured” girl. This scene describes segregation and prejudice executed by human beings. In Pleasantville, Margaret is racially abused???? because she is “coloured”. This is an incident, which occurs, in our everyday lives. People are discriminated against because of their colour, race, gender, religion and beliefs.
The coloureds in Pleasantville are discriminated against just because they are coloured individuals. This describes how some people in modern society ignorantly and stubbornly discriminate, bully and hate individuals just because they are different to them. They also refuse to be friendly to individuals who are discriminated against just because it would be, being different to everyone else. They are scared that they also might suffer a form of discrimination because they are friendly with an individual who is different to society. For this reason people resist change.
Society is afraid that change might bring discomfort upon them. One of the main scenes, which must be included is the scene where Pleasantville citizens are burning the town’s books. There is a high angle shot of the books being burned as well as cross cuts on the faces of the people showing horror towards individuality. This scene shows the repression enforced by the Pleasantville citizens on the “coloured” individuals in society. It makes reference to a recent historic event- The Holocaust. The burning of the books shows how people can be indoctrinated very easily and carry out acts that are morally wrong.
The burning of the books symbolizes lack of knowledge, which can result in ignorant immorality- such as discrimination. Without knowledge people do not know better other than to follow, nor understand the difference between right and wrong. People within modern societies make crucial decision, such as voting a government into power, based on ignorant views rather than logical reasoning. In the closing sequence of Pleasantville, there is a medium shot of Mr. and Mrs. Parker sitting on a bench speaking about the future, then soon after there is a crosscut to Mrs. Parker and Mr.
Johnson speaking about the future as well. Mrs. parker in this scene is seen to be having sexual affairs with both her husband, Mr. Parker and her friend Mr. Johnson. This scene ridicules the tremendous amount of failed marriages because of infidelity in modern society. Many marriages are established on fake intentions- such as money. In Truman Show, there is a medium long shot of Truman and his neighbours greeting each other in high key lighting. This symbolizes the “perfect” life of the “American dream”. Everything is peaceful, there is no fighting and generally everyone is happy.
The beginning scene of this film describes what exactly the “American Dream” is perceived to be in modern society. It is described it to be worry-free, happy and peaceful. Truman greets his Black neighbours, symbolizing the harmony amongst the different ethnic groups in the American Dream. This scene also portrays the recurrence of Truman’s life. Everything is routine. Truman lives the same life everyday, one, which is resistant to change and in turn which is dependent on Truman’s ignorance. Truman has the ability to live a better life, but only with knowledge, which he does not own.
However Truman is exploited and caged in a closed society by Christoff. This proves how a dictatorship in modern society can brainwash many human beings into doing the wrong things in life. They are indoctrinated simply because they know no better and have been hidden from the truth and knowledge of the world, proving how ignorance in modern society limits human beings to better themselves and perform great actions in this world. There is a medium shot of Truman with his back turned to a man in a parachute. The man is in a parachute because he flew from the sky to get into the movie set to tell Truman he is on television.
This scene describes the obsession with reality TV in modern society. This scene shows how individuals in modern society are completely infatuated with reality television and with being on television. People are constantly fixated with the happenings on the reality television show that they stop concentrating on more important things in their lives such as their own lives. This scene shows how people can be exploited and cheated from the truth in a “perfect” society as real life incidents are hidden away from them. Truman has only seen the perfect world in which he lives. He only understands what reality has been presented to him.
In this film there is no other place to Truman other than the place in which he lives. This explains how individuals in a secluded society are overpowered by ignorance. They do not understand how the world works. They are hidden from the world and only follow the morals that they have been brought up to follow and understand. Children of religious fundamentalists are brought up being taught in school to hate Israel as well as become suicide bombers. The children are secluded from the outside world and know no better other than to carry out the duties that have been taught to them from a young age.
An important scene is when Truman is walking in the bus. There is a low angle shot of Truman walking, whilst everyone else in the bus is sitting. This scene describes segregation and prejudice performed by human beings. It can be seen from the bus scene in the Truman Show that people label other people and treat them differently. Truman is labelled as different and people do not want to interact with him. Truman is seen as the only person standing by himself in the bus, whilst everyone else is sitting, as if he has been segregated from society. This scene describes the tremendous amount of prejudice and segregation in modern society.
People refuse to change and explain to the “different” Truman what exactly is happening within his world. These people on the bus have more knowledge than Truman, however they refuse to share it with Truman because they are scared to be individuals and in turn do not perform duties, which are morally correct. The crew members refrain from telling Truman the truth about his life because they are paid to play along with his storyline. This satirises how the world revolves around monetary matters and values wealth higher than morality. In the end scene there are cross cuts between Christoff and Truman.
Christoff is trying to pursuade Truman to remain within his perfect world of which he has created for Truman. This scene ridicules celebrity culture in our world. The media elevates the status of media moguls into “Gods” and “idols”. In this scene Christoff acts as a “demi-god”, trying to influence Truman to remain in his world. Truman decides to leave the world of which the media has created for him and proves that he is on the same level as Christoff. Even though Christoff has been branded by the media as a God. Truman asserts himself and proves that all human beings are on the same level.
As a conclusion, one can see how the two films are trying to exclaim how the world lives on screwed morals. Both The Truman Show and Pleasantville illustrate that the world isn’t a perfect world. The world isn’t an “American dream”. Within the world there is large forms of discrimination, war and poverty. Both films exemplify how ignorance can lead human beings in performing acts, which are morally wrong. Ignorance can also lead to being indoctrinated for example the Nazis in the holocaust as well as religious fundamentalists in our world today.

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