Plato's Cave and Pleasantville: a Comparison

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The walls of Pleasantville are represented as the strict and “pure” lifestyle that citizens of Pleasantville are forced to accept as reality. Pleasantville’s lifestyle consists of predestined roles within its society, as well as restricted personal expression of emotional feelings and artistic views, and the repression of free thought by collective ignorance. These “walls” of Pleasantville directly correlate with the walls in Plato’s allegory of the cave by identifying with the lack of personal thought and opinions that make up an individual. Just as the prisoners of Plato’s Cave are subjected to a false reality of shadow puppetry so are the citizens of Pleasantville subject to conformity. However, once personal choice is explored citizens of Pleasantville cannot go back to living as they once did, just as the enlightened prisoner of Plato’s cave cannot return to past beliefs with his newly found ideas.

The initial observation of a different point of view causes citizens of Pleasantville to question and defy their upbringing. These new points of view are rejected by those unfamiliar with individuality just as in Plato’s Cave where the newly enlightened prisoner and his views are rejected by the unenlightened prisoners. To fully escape the confines of the walls of Pleasantville one must challenge former authority and reject the emotionless and stale world they have been brought up in. It is through this split belief of former and future knowledge that Plato says divides the enlightened from the ignorant. Both sides have reject each other’s idea of reality, the ignorant being blind to what they cannot see and the enlightened having their eyes open to what they did not see originally. Pleasantville utilizes this comparison by distinguishing two sides of people, those who are composed of color and have began their search for individuality, and those in black and white who cling to their ignorance.

Eventually every citizen of Pleasantville becomes colored, either...
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