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What representation of American Social Class is there in the first four scenes of Falling Down?

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Introduction

What representation of American Social Class is there in the first four scenes of Falling Down? The opening scene of Falling Down immediately establishes the location of the film, America; this is obvious to the audience with the American cars and yellow school bus with the stars and stripes hanging on the side. The lead character played by Michael Douglas is established as a white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant (WASP) who is supposedly the most privileged class in American society. He is meant to represent the typical American white-collar worker. The audience gets this impression of D-Fens (Michael Douglas) because he is smartly dressed with a white shirt and tie, he wears glasses, he's cleanly shaven and is driving a typical American family sedan. This first impression of D-Fens is subsequently taken apart throughout the film and the audience later finds out that he is unemployed and discontent with American society. D-Fens' car and the way he acts give the audience a early clue that he is not all that he seems. D-Fens is stuck in a traffic jam and getting more and more frustrated by the things around him, he reacts very violently to the fly in his car and thrashes around trying to kill it, this gives the audience an indication that he is quite a violent person when he gets annoyed. ...read more.

Middle

build up the sense of desperation and threat until D-Fens finally has enough and gets out of his car and tells the man behind him that he's "going home". This phrase is repeated throughout the film and it becomes D-Fens' quest. 'Home' is not literally his house but back to a time when D-Fens felt less threatened from foreign immigrants or non-WASPs, a time when his role in society was more defined and he was a family man and a breadwinner, a time when he felt proud of America and its people. In the next scene the second main character, Prendergast, is introduced. He also appears to be a white-collar worker and a WASP but he is slightly older than D-Fens, his reaction to the traffic jam is in contrast to D-Fens' because he is more relaxed and doesn't let it frustrate him. He is represented as a wise old cop who is from the old school of policing and he is contrasted with the young arrogant policeman on the motorbike who enjoys his power but turns out to be a less competent cop than Prendergast. There is also a smarmy salesman on the scene trying to offer the young cop help, which he rejects. He talks about his trade and how he gives discounts for officers of the law, this suggests that money can influence police and that they are corrupt. ...read more.

Conclusion

The broken glass container could also be a symbol for how communities are now broken in America. Or it could symbolise how the American dream is broken for this shopkeeper and also significantly for D-Fens. D-Fens then says that he is "going to take prices back to 1965" before violently smashing up the shop. This period of time is what D-Fens associates with "home" because at this time WASPs were the dominating group in society and there was prejudice against other ethnic groups, this was a time when he felt accepted and valued in society and he was a happy family man living the American dream and this is a time he wants to return to. The Korean shopkeeper is obviously used to violence and robberies living in the area that he does because he gets on the floor and shouts "Take the money!" this is seen as a major insult to D-Fens because he sees himself as middle-class and in his opinion robbery is a thing that poor working class people do. He also feels that he is justified in terrorising this shop because all he wanted was some change for the phone. This scene has been interpreted by many people as being racist and this is an understandable view because the Korean man is represented in a negative way. He is rude and scruffy whereas D-Fens is represented almost like a hero figure with traditional Hollywood hero lines and he appears to be fighting for consumer rights. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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