'on the Waterfront' Shows That Most People Prefer Security to Justice. Discuss

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In Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront,” we see that to some extent that people do prefer security to justice. This film focuses on the balance between our moral conscience, and our need for survival. It explores how much we are influenced by our own need for survival compared to our sense of justice. Kazan, utilizes characters like Terry, to explore the limits of human tolerance and the conscience. He depicts a world shrouded in a blanket of fog and mist, which masks the criminality, corruption and immorality. Kazan uses this money-driven world, to accentuate the economic and moral plight of the longshoremen. Through the influences of people like Edie Doyle and Father Barry, we see how hope can help us in our quest to disregard our fears of those that oppress us. In addition, we also see that the battle between our morality and our need to protect ourselves is difficult. We note that the need for courage to take a stand and do the right thing is important. This is shown mostly in Terry, but characters like Kayo and Joey Doyle also prove themselves to prefer justice to security. At the start of the film, we see a hiring process determining the distribution of the jobs on the waterfront. We see that it is depicted as a wild scramble for tokens, where fights and groveling occurred to gain a job token. Forced to scramble in the dust like pigeons, in order to eke out a living, we see the longshoremen being dehumanized daily, for the sinister pleasure of Big Mac. Under the command of Big Mac, the union workers are viewed as a bunch of amorphous ragtag collection of exploited man. During the scene where they fight for tokens the camera captures the longshoreman’s’ desperation and primal frenzy reinforces their need for survival, that they prefer to be safe than risking the chance for justice. Their preference for security is reinforced by their self appointed survival code of “D and D” which stands for deaf and dumb. Their level of oppression does not end here, as they...
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