Analytical Look Into the Religious Motif in Magnolia

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Why Does Nobody Take the Frogs Seriously; an Analytical Look into the Religious Embellishments of the Film Magnolia

Outline: Magnolia Essay:
* Thesis: This essay will argue that the true meaning behind this film is a religious enlightenment to Exodus 8:2 and will aim to dissect the meaning behind the rain of amphibians and analyze the content of the film to argue such. * Topic Sentence 1: To analyze Exodus 8:2 within the film it is vital to first know that Exodus 8:2 states: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs.” * Topic Sentence 2: The frogs and Exodus 8:2 references are either an essential component of the film or they ruin it and hold no meaning aside from sheer coincidence, the only way t justify the frogs is to bring God into the analysis. * Topic Sentence 3: The title, Magnolia, also supports a religious undertone to the film due to the documented religious meaning to the magnolia flower. * Topic Sentence 4: Magnolia is a film that uses religious symbols as a means to focus the audience on ideas, the struggles for human dignity, and a moral or philosophical riddle.

When frogs rain from the sky the reaction, one would assume to follow the occurrence would be: “What the Hell???!!!” However this is not the case for the film Magnolia, the phenomenon of amphibious rain seems to be accepted and even applauded for its wise use. So I ask: “Why does nobody question the frogs? Why are they taken seriously?” In Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, the rain of frogs is casually accepted. Nobody among a highly intelligent College level English II class ever once posed the idea: “That is messed up! Who the heck has frogs rain from the sky at the end of a seemingly normal film depicting the lives of seemingly normal, though misguided and lost, people?” Well I believe the reason to be a true testimony to the witty and creative undertones of Anderson’s work. Nobody imparts a grand meaning to the frogs. The frogs seem to be, as Stanley Spector states in the library with little to no curiosity to the unusual event occurring outside: “This happens. This is something that happens.” This statement seems to come in direct disagreement to the words of the movie’s narrator, who cautions the audience in the prologue not to ignore coincidences and unusual events: “This is not just ‘something that happened.’ This cannot be ‘one of those things.” This essay will argue that the true meaning behind this film is a religious enlightenment to Exodus 8:2 and will aim to dissect the meaning behind the rain of amphibians and analyze the content of the film to argue such.

Exodus 8:2 is used predominantly within the film and is evident in both subtle and obvious manners; such as the frogs falling form the sky. In arguing that Exodus 8:2 is displayed in the film it is vital to first know that Exodus 8:2 states: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs.” Most Christians and Jews will recognize the climatic rain of frogs as a motif from Exodus, however to those not as religiously in tune the references might pass by without the viewer noticing. In discussing the elements of a great film Boggs explains how subtleties are best used to maintain our interest: “However, within these limits, a good story must also have some complexity, at least enough to sustain our interest. And although a good story may hint at the eventual outcome, it must also provide some surprises or at least be subtle enough to prevent the viewer from predicting the outcome after the first hour. Thus, a good story usually withholds something about its conclusion or significance until the very end” (49). The use of Exodus 8:2...
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