Rebel Without A Cause

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Rebel Without a Cause "How can a guy grow up in a place like that?" In his masterpiece "Rebel without a cause", director Nicholas Ray powerfully portrays the rising phenomenon of teenage rebellion during the 1950s. The film deals with issues typical to any teenager, the search for the ideal role model and the generation gap at home.

Rather then showcasing teenage delinquency, the film instead explores what triggers defiance in the teenager, i.e. the cause of the rebel. The film begins with Jim Stark, drunk, crawling on the sidewalk curb, putting a toy monkey asleep underneath a newspaper blanket. This action combines two important themes in the film, passage into the adulthood and the need for guidance and protection. The three main characters in the film are connected together by common problems - they all suffer from confusion, loneliness and persecutory (?) at home.

Judy's father, uneased by her growing sexuality, refuses to accept that his daughter is growing up.

He smears off her lipstick and calls her a tramp when she dresses up. Becoming increasingly isolated by her family, Judy turns to Buzz, the dominant, controlling gang leader for attention.

Jim receives neither understanding or support from his ever-bickering parents, whose only solution to his problems was to move to another town. A sufficient role model is also missing in Jim's life. Jim's father, who is continuously belittled and pushed around by his wife, is too weak to give guidance Jim on what it means to be man. In an exaggerated caricature, Jim's father is seen in a frilly apron, frantically cleaning up a spilt supper in fear of his wife finding out. Jim pulls his father off the ground by the frilly apron and demands his father to "stand up" to his mother and "stand up"...

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