Taxi Driver Essay

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In the American film classic, Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorcese, Travis Bickle's personality and point of view of reality are heavily twisted. His disassociation with the norm and extreme mental states of mind depict the life of a deranged, depraved, and lonely Vietnam veteran. His terrible social skills are an apparent sign of mental illness and continue to drive Travis into deeper levels of solidarity. This loneliness gradually fuels Travis into living a miserable and misanthropic life. Travis's social ineptitude inevitably leads to his isolation and distorted perception of himself and the rest of society. The film opens with Travis being interview and accepting the job as a taxi driver. He explains his willingness to work lots of extra hours and preference for night shifts is due to his inability to sleep. It is revealed then that Travis suffers from insomnia. Although Insomnia is a serious disease, Travis seems complacent and shows no interest in curing himself. Even in the first scene of the film, it is already exposed that Travis suffers from at least one mental disorder yet has no aspirations to improve himself. Upon getting the job and exiting his place of work, he proceeds to pull out a flask of what is perceived to be alcohol and starts drinking it in the clear of day on the street. He displays no inclination that his actions are not the acceptable social norm. After a long twelve hour shift, Travis reflects on how the city of Manhattan has become a dump for degenerate punks and prostitutes. He perceives the New York nightlife he caters to and drives around as garbage polluting his town. He himself then enters a dirty porn theater once he's off-duty. He does not see the similarities between himself and the other pervs and goons of New York City. He sees them as lowly scum that are responsible for the dirtiness of the city, even though he is apart of the same dreary world he despises. The constant encounters with lowlifes and trash creates Travis's view of the city as a terrible and mediocre place, while he forgets about how during the daytime the streets of Manhattan are much different. His only evidence to judge the city is through the brief interactions and conversations between himself and his patrons. And with most of them being drunks and criminals, Travis is left with a distrustful and negative view of what the inhabitants of the city where he lives. He is alone and only has himself to create assumption of what reality really is, and unfortunately with his mental illnesses he is in dyer need of someone to guide him towards reality.

Yet when Travis attempts to find someone who can give him companionship and help him, his lack of social skills only push people farther away. When purchasing his ticket for the porn theater, Travis tries to initiate a relatively normal conversation with the young woman at the concessions. She shows obvious disgust towards Travis but with this unbeknownst to him he continues the conversation and presses her for her name. Upon failing, he enters the theater but doesn't seem to understand why she was so resistant to introduce herself. His inability to pick up on social cues only confuses Travis and separates him even more from social interaction. Travis then sits alone in the theater with the various purchased candies sleep deprived and further drifts into his own little world. Even the relationship with his family has been severed because of Travis purposely lying to family through the mail. He has been telling them for what is assumed many years that he has been healthy and fine but is now working for the federal government and is unable to give them his real home address. These blatant lies prove Travis's reality is not like our own and also shows how his mental illnesses have successfully removed him from a sane state of mind. Travis's doomed future of complete and utter insanity is surprisingly sidetracked when he sees Betsy for the first time. At his...
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