Rebel Without a Cause

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Rebel Without a Cause
One of the major themes that are presented throughout the whole entire movie is the dysfunctional relationship between one of the characters and their fathers. The movie portrays father figures as problematic which then shape the actions and the characters themselves as the movie progresses. We can see all three dynamics of the father figure presented through Jim, Judy, and Plato. Through Jim, the father figure that he is presented with is a father who is weak allows himself to be walked on by Jim¡¯s mother and grandmother. Judy¡¯s father, on the other hand, is quite the opposite of Jim¡¯s father in that he is the overbearing, masculine, and insensitive. Lastly, we see the absence of a father figure in the life of Plato which completes the list from all three sides.

We can see throughout the movie that Jim¡¯s father is cowardly and afraid to stand up for himself even to his own wife. There are multiple scenes in the movie where this is quite evident, but the scene that stands out the most is when Jim comes back from the ¡°chicken run¡± and looks for reassurance from his father. Yet, what he gets is not a father giving him guidance and support, but someone who tries to please his son and agrees with everything he says. Instead of standing up for his own beliefs and standing behind what he tells his son at first, he continually switches what he says to find the easy way out of the situation. Jim¡¯s father always tries to act like Jim¡¯s friend, so in a way, Jim was missing that strong, central, manly figure and was tired of the weakness in his father. Now, Jim sees this in his father and swears to himself that he will never be the ¡°chicken¡± his father is. This leads to the decisions he makes in the movie, for example, going to the ¡°chicken¡± run to uphold his honor. He begins to take charge of his own life, being that strong man himself, going to the mansion with Judy to live on their own in order to not become like his father.

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