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Analysis of Themes in Rear Window

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Analysis of Themes in Rear Window

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  • November 2008
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Fear of Marriage and Voyeurism in Rear Window

In Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 classic thriller Rear Window, Jimmy Stewart stars as L.B. Jeffries, a world traveling magazine photographer accustomed to living a fast pace active lifestyle. When Jefferies injures himself taking a risky picture he is immobilized, confined to a wheelchair inside his apartment for two months. Bored with his uneventful life he becomes completely obsessed with the lives of his neighbors spending the majority of his waking hours watching them from his window. To obtain a better view he begins using a telescopic lens from one of his cameras. By watching his neighbors through the camera he assumes the role of both a spectator and a voyeur. This contributes to the creation of a movie being played right outside Jeffries window. In this movie within the movie his neighbors' lives become the subject for the plot. Each window represents a different film screen, each of which is focused upon only when Jeffries directs his attention to it. One of the central themes in Rear Window is marriage, or more specifically Jefferies' fear of marriage. Through his voyeuristic habits he is able to see the strenuous complications that arise from marriage and relationships in his neighbors' lives. Each of their stories carries a theme that is associated pursuit and commitment of marriage: the newlywed couple beginning their life together, the depressed Miss Lonelyhearts who desperately seeks companionship, the happy couple who sleep under the stars on their fire escape, and most importantly the bitter Thorwalds whose marriage reaches an abrupt termination. He witnesses both the anxieties associated with the beginning of a marriage and the heartache of relationships ending. The plots that are played out before his eyes become more important than his own personal life. In fact, Jeffries renounces the idea of marriage due to the scenes he witnesses from within his apartment. He is currently involved in a...

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