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Pleasantville Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By yfuller
Words 790
Pages 4
Pleasantville is a Hollywood biblical film because it depicts what happens when a perfect, black and white society from a 50’s sitcom without any outside influence gradually turns around and gains it color when two teenagers from the present day 90’s get sucked into their world and change the way things are ran. Their contributions are more than little, helping guide the town to change their ways, including the double standard between men and women , members of the community discovering sex, art , books , music, and the concept of nonconformity. The film gives us insight of how not only do influences create chaos, but can also help a society become better within itself.
The functional ways that were demonstrated were more than little. Everybody in the town had a specific job to do, and only did that job. Nobody ever really tried to move up or even try another job. The man that ran the burger place had worked there forever, and also painted the pictures that his boss wanted him to paint on the restaurant windows. The man was an excellent artist, so once he got a whiff of the potential he had, he decided to paint different pictures than what his boss was telling him to. The people in the town hang out with the same people, at the same place, and at the same time every day and weekend and are all home by a certain time. This could be because if they were to go outside their normal schedule, this could give everyone a chance to change their friends and to have different ideas and to formulate an actual opinion, instead of just going off a script. The people in town also tried their hardest to make sure that intimacy isn’t a thing that goes on often, especially within the youth. Intimacy was seen as an act that wasn’t casual, but to only be performed, only and after, when you were married. However, when Jennifer starts dating Skip, she quickly introduces him to casual sex, and suddenly all the teenage couples are partaking in it at the local meetup spot.
With all this outside influence, comes many conflicts for the town which comes to the mayor’s attention. Pleasantville, I believe, isn’t truly perfect. The structure of their society probably did have good intentions, however, the people were submitted to a life of conformity and submissive behavior to the values of others around them. None of the town citizens were allowed to step out of their comfort zones, or even try new things, which made the rebellion against their already engrained morals, even more victorious. Another conflict that was present was the idea that the wives had to dedicate their whole lives to their husbands. The women of the family were expected to be beautiful all the time, with a full face of makeup, and for their husband’s dinner to be made and served by the time they got home every day. Women were also expected to not be involved in social issues, and expected to always be happy, no matter what the circumstances were. I believe the bourgeois were the men, because they maintain the power by being the head of the households, and even businesses. They are expected to work and be the main breadwinners for their families, while the proletariat, which in this case, I feel would be the women, were expected to marry, raise children, cook, clean and not work, basically to become a slave to their husbands.
Explaining the symbols in the film could go every which way, but the major ones that stood out was the transition from black and white to color, the introduction of casual intimacy, and the discovery of books. In the beginning of the film, everyone starts of as being black and white, and once they start to learn new things that are against their norms, they start to turn into vibrant colors. The color could signify sin, or even change to the perfect lives that they lived in. Since sex and intimacy wasn’t a big thing is this community, the introduction of casual sex, or even public display of affection, could signify the breaking of the pure harmony that was in their world. The books that were found with the empty pages could stand for the creativity that each individual had but was never given the chance to express due to living life off a specific script. This film, I feel, could honestly be a valid platform by showing us how change to a society, or even just to a town, is not always bad, but can in fact, show us how important it is for us to be influenced by our surroundings and by others.…...

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