American Beauty: How Verbal and Visual Features Are Used to Give the Audience a Strong Idea

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American Beauty Dayna Chapman 12ENA Analyse how verbal AND visual features of a text (or texts) you have studied are used to give the audience a strong idea. “I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I know I didn’t always feel this… Sedated” Says Lester Burnham, a 42 year old father and husband. Some would consider the Burnham house the ‘American Dream” with Lester having a teenage daughter Jane and a beautiful wife Carolyn. But as we can see from this quote, Lester feels extremely imprisoned, not only with in his surroundings bit imprisoned by social constraints and the pressure to be the idealistic family living the American dream. Sam Mendez director of the beautifully crafted film American Beauty uses both diagetic and mimetic codes to explore the idea of imprisonment which is an idea that has a strong presence throughout the film. Lester Burnham lives in a house hold where his wife Carolyn is constantly in control of what he does and does not do. Carolyn is so possessed by her super ego that she her main focus has become fulfilling her life with materialistic things that society deems ‘perfection’ in order to make her life perfect on the outside. Because of this Lester feels their marriage has become ‘false’ or ‘for show’ causing him to lose his passion for life. At the start of the film, through the use of diagetic voice-over, we are told by Lester that he feels ‘Sedated’ and ‘dead already’ “In less than a year I’ll be dead. In a way “I’m dead already” This quote expresses how Lester feels imprisoned, and like is life is in fact not a life at all as he refers to himself as ‘dead already’ suggesting that we may as well be dead. This is most probably from Carolyn calling all the shots in their marriage, stripping Lester of his masculinity and making him live the life she wants him to live. This making Lester feel as if he has lost all freedom due to the lack of power and...
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