The language in The Big Lebowski as a representation of a way of life

Topics: The Big Lebowski, Fuck, Coen brothers Pages: 18 (4732 words) Published: June 23, 2014
TU Braunschweig
Film Analysis and Interpretaion
Dr. Lucia Krämer
Wise 2011/2012
Komplexe Hausarbeit

The language in The Big Lebowski as a representation of a way of life

Tabea Hrdina
4017747
05.06.12

Table of contents

Chapter Page

1. Introduction...................................................................................1 2. Language and Identity....................................................................2 3. The Dude’s "Way of Life".................................................................3 4. The Dude’s Language......................................................................6 5. Conclusion....................................................................................12

Bibliography

1. Introduction
For the movie The Big Lebowski it took some time to create a fan base still up until now it has some very loyal followers. A lot of people want to imitate the life of the protagonist, Jeffrey Lebowski- "the Dude". They try to be as easy-going, cool and calm as he is. Consequently, they created some kind of religion that has the aim to show people the facile way of life (Dude Way). Anybody can become a Dudeist and be a Dudeist Priest. In the guide to the dude way of life they use typical expressions of the movie to underline their membership. And they say that their religion is based on Chinese Taoism but at the same time they are making fun of it. This shows that they do not really take it serious but rather easy and cool like the Dude would do it (cf. Benjamin/Eutsey, p.19). In America the way of life has a big meaning for a lot of people, as it is a concept of living for liberty and happiness, which has a connection to the American dream that is already rooted in the American Declaration of Independence. Like mentioned above, on the one hand the American Dream stands for liberty and freedom to follow one's dreams. On the other hand, the Americans are also taught that the American way of life stands for having money, a huge house, a sound family, 1,5 children and a good job. The aim of this paper is to see whether the Dude’s language represents a certain way of life and whether it might fit to the image of the American way of life. Therefore I want to analyse the language of Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski and relate it to his way of life in the second chapter. Due to this analysis I have to define how language is connected to identity, describe the Dude’s lifestyle and put it into a relation with the first passages. In the last chapter I will draw a conclusion whether the language of the Dude can be seen as a representation of a way of life.

2. Language and Identity
Identity is a concept that one creates as a “self” or “I”. It is a construction in which one can express who they want to be. This construct can additionally be the identity of a group and not just of a single individual. Nowadays there are almost unlimited ways of creating one’s identity, e.g. by wearing certain clothes or by behaving in society in a specific manner. These ways can serve as a self-fulfilment. The language of an individual can be seen as a kind of construction of identity and reality in a conversation (cf. Kresic, p.162). Here, language refers to de Saussure’s term Parole, which is the concrete usage of utterances. Accordingly, I will have a look at the Dude’s practical spoken language. One can only express his or her identity through language because that is what creates the identity itself (cf. Kresic, p.169). An individual also marks his social identity through his or her language, for example a well educated person shows his or her knowledge by using loanwords or technical terms and therefore his or her affiliation to this specific group (cf. Holmes, p.127). The belonging to a social group can therefore be identified through the language that is used. When...


Bibliography: Benjamin, O./Eutsey, D. “The Abide Guide. Living like Lebowski.” Ulysses Press. Berkley: 2011.
Agha, Asif. “Studies in the social and cultural foundations of language L4. Language and social relations”. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge: 2007.
DVD: “The Big Lebowski” Special Edition. Universal Studios. 2006. Carter Burwell. Joel Coen.
Kresic, Marjiana. Sprache, Sprechen und Identität: Studien zur sprachlich-medialen Konstruktion des Selbst. München. Iudicum, 2006.
Holmes, Janet. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 3rd ed. Pearson/Longman. London, 2008.
Echtheitserklärung
Hiermit erkläre ich, dass ich die vorliegende Arbeit selbständig verfasst, alle wörtlichen und sinngemäßen Übernahmen als solche gekennzeichnet und keine anderen als die angegebenen Quellen und Hilfsmittel benutzt habe.
Tabea Hrdina
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