Is Manipulation An Overall Benefit?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Is Manipulation an Overall Benefit? Six Degrees of Separation, a movie directed by Fred Schepisi, is full of aspects that can be analyzed in many different ways. Many critics focus on the title of the movie, Six Degrees of Separation , how everyone in the world is linked to everyone else in the world by at least six other people. I, too, focused on the strange interaction among people all over the world, but then my focus was turned to a whole different direction. I, opposed to some critics, believe that the movie is based on many different types of manipulation, not about how people of the world are linked to one another. After watching this movie I realize that some people not only like to be taken advantage of, but they use it to their advantage.

Marjorie Baumgartner, a writer for the Austin Chronicle, believes that this film "Is a story of how a chance encounter reverberates in the normally unflappable lives of the liberal-upper class society art brokers Qusia and Flan (Sutherlind) Kittredge" (2).

Deseret movie critic Chris Hicks believes that without the right characters this movie would be very simple (4). Rita Kempley, a Washington Post Staff Writer, thinks of this movie as being veracious and in turn is based on the peoples words and not of their actions (2). From these critics I gathered that they thought of this movie as just a flick, not as a movie with a deep plot and sickening twists of trickery. The critics mainly portrayed this movie as a film with a shallow point and not a movie full of manipulation used by, and on, every character in the film.

Quisa Kittredge, played by Stockard Channing, uses the fact that she has been manipulated and taken advantage of to her benefit. Their were many scenes in the movie where the Kittredge couple were at the center of the "in" group telling their story. They explain how they were nice enough to take Paul, a young black man that claims he has been stabbed, into their home. They told them how they gave him money, shelter, and their trust and then he completely tricked them. Because of this man they were given sympathy and became the center of the social circle.

Lisa Paddock, a very well known movie critic, believes that Paul showed Quisa more of reality than her own children (332). I believe that Paul taught the Kittredges a lot about life and a lot about themselves. Even though the Kittredges are very well off in their community they still have a lot to learn about people of different statuses. That is why Quisa gained so much from Paul. She not only used him to make herself seem vulnerable and sympathetic but he also showed her that she actually was vulnerable and sympathetic. Quisa and Flan were already pretty involved with tricking someone for money. The way they did to sell art and become rich. This time she was on the other side of manipulation and instead of feeling gullible she made it seem as if she was lucky.

After watching this movie I can conclude that people can be used in many different ways and the victims and the manipulator are both getting something out of it. Even though the Kittredges got tricked and betrayed it all worked out in the end. My overall interpretation is that they managed to turn their already high class status to a whole different level. They became the heroes with a great story to tell. So in the end, after being betrayed, they did not lose, they gained.



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