A Rebel With A Cause
“Wash the dishes, and clean your room. Be home by 7:00, don’t be late. Study, study, study.” We have all heard these words uttered from the authoritative lips of our parents sometime in our life, however, these days most teenagers aren’t afraid to disobey their parents by responding with, “no.” James Dean was one of the first people to defy the strict rules of parents, and he did so on screen for the entire nation. Some sources claim that he is a label; a label that is intended for the sole purpose of resisting authority. He is not a label, rather more of an icon used to show that in certain circumstances it is okay to disobey the various rules that society has unwillingly placed upon us.
Whether it be in black and white, or vibrant colors, the emotions in this picture speak loud enough for color not to be an issue. People perceive Dean as “trapped,” and after gathering some background information about him and his career, I can clearly see why he is portrayed as this. His career peaked for three years, and then abruptly came to an end. However, for those three years Dean had to be everything that America wanted to see and idolize. Cameras surrounded him 24/7, paparazzi always wanted a comment from him, and fans simply couldn’t get enough. In the photograph that I have attached, it is as if Dean is trying to keep a hold on himself and his emotions; trying not to get too caught up in the crazy world he had been thrown in to. The “Torn Sweater” series was taken by photographer Roy Schatt. Schatt told Dean to pose as if he was trying to escape something that comes from within, a feeling perhaps, that only he himself is aware of – hence the attempt at tearing his sweater off. It is ironic in a sense that he’s standing in front of a camera, completely alone with a solid background looking into the distance. Being in front of a camera he had grown completely accustomed to, but he was never alone, and the background of his life is more chaotic...
Cited: Gilmore, John. ^ John GiLive Fast – Die Young: Remembering the Short Life of Ja. New York City: Thunder 's Mouth, 1998. Print.
Herndon, Venable. James Dean: a short life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974. Print.
Hofstede, David. James Dean: a bio-bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 1996. Print.
Springer, Claudia. James Dean Transfigured: the Many Faces of Rebel Iconography. Austin: University of Texas, 2007. Print.
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