• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...

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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Compare and Contrast the representation of female characters in Snow White and Mulan. To ...

    The one non-absent mother is Mulan's, but she only plays an inoperative role in the story and poses no threat to her daughter's autonomy. I would therefore argue that Disney has not moved with the times, if Disney had we would expect mothers (older women)

  2. "Compare the presentation of the exploitation of women in "Memoirs of a Geisha" by ...

    Adeline's heritage is a wealthy one due to her father's occupation, yet even though her family is rich, these riches and luxuries do not bring happiness in her life they do not compensate for her mothers death or compensate for the lack of love that she receives.

  1. Examine the portrayal of cultural poverty in "Saved" and "The Wasp Factory"

    He believes he has been treated cruelly by society and believes that it is influential and contaminating. This is largely due to the fact that when Eric left the island, he was exposed to the social pressures. He says, "Eric chose a path and followed it - that path led to the destruction of most of what he was".

  2. Ancient American civilizations

    to maintain their subsistent lifestyle. They also cultured potatoes, in addition to maize. In this chiefdom, many crafts such as pottery, and weaving were well developed. The Muisca lived in densely populated villages ranging from a few hundred occupants to several thousand.

  1. American film comedy and issues of social class in America

    He uses his silverware, but he uses it incorrectly, using his knife in place of a fork. He orders food for the woman, making it seem like he can afford spending extra money, but in actuality, he cannot even pay for his own.

  2. Social class divisions have always played a prominent role in America.

    The solutions will be discussed from two perspectives: 1) Those already enacted and 2) Those that should be attempted. The 1992 Riots resulted in 55 deaths and $1 billion in damages. (Associated Press. http://foxnews.com) Noted as one of the worst civil uprisings in U.S history, the event sparked concerns about the social climate of South Central Los Angeles.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work