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West Side Story Anonymous

By alex8angel Mar 09, 2015 682 Words
Anonymous Period 8
West Side Story Analysis West Side Story is an adaption of a play written by Arthur Laurents, and remade into a film, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. West Side Story’s theme is centered on the struggles of two groups of racially separated young people, and how their environment has molded them. The movie revolves around two protagonists, Tony, a white ex-jet, and Maria, the sister of Bernando, the leader of the sharks. The two develop a relationship after falling in love at a dance. This story is a retelling of “Romeo and Juliet”, with similar events unfolding as the story progresses. The “Jets” the white ethnic group struggle from their broken homes, crippling environment and stubborn beliefs. The other group,” Sharks” immigrants from Puerto Rico, are discriminated and molded by the harsh environment created through the hate of the other predominantly white ethnic communities. The opening scene involves long overviews of New York City to illustrate the huge expanse of the different regions, which is likely a way for the audience to visualize how big the entire city is compared to Harlem. The film then focuses on Harlem, on a gang of young white teenagers hanging out on a playground. They begin rhythmically snapping, with their fingers, and strutting around a playground, going about their business, playing around with an arrogant demeanor. They begin to dance as music commences. This scene is the first taste of what is to come in terms of what to expect from the musical. As some of the jets separate, a couple of them hassle Hispanic young men, some members of the sharks, but are later confronted by a whole gang of them. This is the first instance in which there is interaction between the two ethnic groups. There was a lot of a contempt shown through the acting, which funny enough is a product of the actor’s behaviors behind the camera. While filming West Side Story, the director instructed the actors for the two separate racial groups to not interact in hopes of furthering and intensifying the legitimacy of the acting. It is obvious that the “Jets” and “Sharks” have a bitter rivalry. After the brawl between the two groups, the Sharks are hassle by the racist police lieutenant, who wants to drive Sharks out of the community. A dance later occurs, where the two groups meet again but instead dance beside one another. This scene introduces the relationship between Tony and Maria. Since the movie focuses on a Romeo and Juliette-esc love between Tony and Maria, they later meet many times and eventually decide to run away. The movie follows this basis with certain scenes being very reminiscent of the actual events that occurred in Shakespeare’s original play. I found those scenes to be a little corny but I personally did not have any negative impressions from them. I am a sucker for romance. As the movie plays out we get to see the Jets and Sharks perspectives of their Harlem environment. Glimpses of character backstory are given to provide insight on their situations, showing how they got to their present situations. Most of the jets are boys who were raised in a bad environment; they have a lot anger and contempt due to their upbringing. They joined gangs in hopes of finding love. Their constant struggles are to relieve their pain and release their anger on someone, such as the Sharks. The Shark’s situation is different. Due to their immigration, the Puerto Ricans are shown a lot of disapproval and hate because of their race. They have struggled since they arrived in the United States. Bernardo even states this, when he mentions getting jumped the first day he came to Harlem. The movie is very deep and provides the main focus on the Romeo and Juliet relationship between Tony and Maria, but the stories character development and setting overshadows the clique story and gives a good basis of the theme of how a person’s environment can impact them and the decisions they make.

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