American Beauty: Reflection
A consistent metaphor throughout the film American Beauty is the feeling of imprisonment and trying to escape it. Lester Burnham is an average American male who lives in a suburban neighborhood with his wife Carolyn and their daughter Jane. Lester lives a mundane life; he goes to work everyday only to come home to his overly frustrating wife and his angry daughter. As the days begin to pass, Lester feels more and more trapped at work as well as at home. He cannot see change anytime in the near future, which only makes him feel more imprisoned in his own life. He feels as if he does not have any control of his own life and he does not know how to change it. This metaphor of imprisonment can be seen in various scenes throughout the movie. As Lester sits at his desk at work, we can see his reflection in the computer monitor and how the numbers on the screen resemble the bars of a jail cell. While he is working in his cubicle, he feels like he is completely trapped as if he were really in a jail cell. Another scene in this movie where Lester resembles being trapped is while he is masturbating in the confines of his shower. The shower also looks similar to jail cell and he feels as though he is trapped in his own life. No matter what Lester does, he is continually imprisoned in his own mind. Although it seems as if Lester feels liberated after taking a liking to his daughter’s friend, Angela, he is still trapped. He begins to take control of his life by working out and changing jobs, but his lust for Angela only makes him more of a prisoner. Although he fantasizes about her and may feel like she is attainable, he realizes at the end, that deep down, attaining her will only give him temporary relief from his imprisonment. Even if he were to conquer her, his wife, daughter, and neighbors would still surround him; leaving Lester to feel imprisoned all over again. After Lester realizes this about Angela, he goes home and...
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