Themes in "Blue Velvet"

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Exploring the Dark Side: Contrasting Themes in "Blue Velvet"

The subconscious psyche is one of the most fascinating and almost completely inexplicable aspects of human behavior. Even more intriguing than merely the subconscious is the notion of a darker, more repressed side that many individuals refuse to acknowledge exists within them. In David Lynch's film "Blue Velvet," the director attempts to explore the psyche of a young man named Jeffrey Beaumont, most notably the clash between his darker side and "good" side for the first time in his life. Using themes that sharply contrast one another, Lynch provides insight into the character of Jeffrey and the struggle that he is faced with. Jeffrey is in a transitional period of his life, not very old, and is on a journey of both sexual and emotional growth. Lynch uses different forms of symbolism to comment on the character of Jeffrey, and each is contrasted with something else within the film, conveying the conflict within Jeffrey's mind. Jeffrey's hometown, Lumberton, is depicted as a normal town yet it contains an unseen, largely ignored criminal underworld full of sexual deviants and murderous drug dealers. Lumberton is used as a metaphor for Jeffrey throughout the entire film, as it represents two sides of one object, much like Jeffrey's mind. The idea of love versus lust is also explored and contrasted in this film as it pertains to Jeffrey and his sexual choices, with a staircase often utilized as a symbolic representation of this battle. Finally, there is the issue of Jeffrey and Frank Booth, the man who represents all that is dark within Jeffrey's mind, and is an indication of what Jeffrey could eventually become.

The opening sequence of "Blue Velvet" immediately establishes the various contractions throughout the film. As the film opens, the song "Blue Velvet" is heard distinctly on the non-digetic soundtrack and there is a shot of a pristine, clear blue sky. Tilt down from the sky to...
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