applying Freud’s civilization and its discontents book to the film rear window
Applying Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents Book to the Film Rear Window
According to Freud, the development of civilization reiterates the development of the individual in a way that the individual is torn between a dilemma on the desire to live and the wish to die . Civilization has the effects on the humankind relationship on their personal and social ties with one another. It is a neurotic examination of the people and the society relationship that lead to their development of their environment. Despite the historic consideration of civilization as the advancement of the historical cultures, it can be considered as the society revolution process to attaining a social structure. Culture and religion are some of the aspects that form the reason in the society. The movie “Rear Window” represents the development of the society in an environment with people from complex backgrounds characterized by aggressive instincts exacting unbearable suffering to those around them. The purpose of human life explanation in the movie gets clearly explained by the use of the characters featured, mainly the character Jeff.
The interaction between individuals in the society through effective communication forms the social ties between them. It is through the society that the definition of the environmental gets clearly defined following the various aspects of the relationship between people in the same surrounding. Alfred Hitchcock’s story of the renowned New York Times photographer intrigues the civilization as a process in the society in various aspects. The renowned photographer Jeff is confined to a wheelchair after an accident on the field that leaves him injured and unable to get out of his apartment. In consideration of his career and passion, Jeff gets bored and turns to be a “peeping Tom” in his neighborhood through his rear window. The rear movie is a discouragement to the behavior and yet an encouragement to Jeff’s behavior of looking through the window following the events captured. The law has no clear definition of the invasion of privacy terms on the site of the unlawful act according to Nicol. The civilization, in this case, gets viewed as the dilemma of whether it was right for Jeff to view his neighbors through the rear window (Nicol 205). The question of whether the art of viewing the neighbors through the window was right is dependent on the society’s civilization and the environment for this case.
The civilization of the society controls the human instincts exposing them to the unknown risk in the environment. The threats that occur in human life get represented by the adjustments made in their normal way of living. The renowned photographer Jeff has been confined to the wheelchair for five weeks and finds life not as interesting as it were back in the field of photography. The insecurity and fear of marrying his Fancy girlfriend get him shaken and exposes him to fear. However, he gets himself busy by watching his neighbors through the window using his photography tools. He later finds out that he has much to learn about his neighbors even with the changes in his life now that he cannot walk again. According to Freud, it is through civilization that we understand the human nature and the environment one exposed(Freud 26). He finds comfort in discovering his surrounding activities as a photographer, and this is a benefit and an art of civilization following his discovery.
Sexual criticism and lack of commitment are an act of irresponsibility regarding the civilization standards as many may conquer. Despite his inability to walk, Jeff objectifies the women in the society from his description. His lack of commitment to his fancy girlfriend, Lisa is questionable too. Jeff has a detached relationship to Lisa and as the consequence he turns to be against the liberal society that embraces the act of commitment and marriage in the modern society of civilization according to Freud in his review. Jeff may be considered voyeurs since he finds himself confined in the same environment of his apartment and finding the joy of having to view through the rear window might have corrupted his behavior for the liberal society (Freud 34). The sexual diversity between the two characters, however, brings them closer to each other at the end bringing the solution to the sexuality as a form of control in the society for the liberal society that can be considered civilized.
The guiltiness of people in the society is the feeling of malaise and social anxiety that get obtained for the forbidden thoughts or actions as considered by the society. The society forms the definition of the wrong and right actions in the society hence the civilization determinant. The thoughts and deeds get internally evaluated in our thoughts following what the society considers civilized or otherwise forming the basis of our personality. Jeff finds himself in a dilemma between breaking his discovery about the demise of his neighbor’s wife and keeping the secret to himself. However, following the guiltiness of keeping the secret to himself, he explains his discovery to his wife, Lisa and his nurse, Stella. He could not hold on to the discovery due to his suspicion that something bad may have happened to his neighbor’s wife. According to his analysis, Jeff is convinced that his neighbor Thorwald had something to do with the demise of his wife after a confrontation he had experienced a while back. According to Nicol, the late discovery of what Jeff had suspected with the help of the friend detective, Thomas J. Doyle and the neighbors that, Thorwald had murdered his wife let him relieve his guiltiness. The feeling of guiltiness had guided Jeff’s instincts on the demise of his neighbor’s wife(Nicol 196). The discovery of the truth had finally made Jeff a happier soul than the guilty feeling of hiding his discovery from those around him that shows the benefits of civilization to the society.
Individualism and the society views are some of the aspects that characterize a liberal society of the modern day. In the movie, rear window, Jeff is viewed as a character that cherishes solitude and the behavior of freedom and independence. The location of Jeff’s apartment from those in his neighborhood is symbolic of this character in the movie. The position of the rear window in Jeff’s apartment location may also be said to have triggered his behavior of voyeurism. He can clearly hear his neighbors arguing, but he across the fence and from his apartment could easily view whatever was happening in the vicinity. The fact that Jeff is lonely in the house has made him a new hobby of looking through the window to get himself busy with the rest of the world. However, his loneliness triggers his emotions, and he turns to be independent in his thoughts and observations (Freud 34). Individualism has a negative impact on the liberal society that makes it civilized since it turns the individuals to keep to their opinions and decision making without minding the rest of the society.
In conclusion, civilization is the humankind interpretation of the conditions they are exposed to on their daily basis in their respective environment. The emotional examination of the right and the wrong actions in the society gets determined by the social society bounds such as the religion and the common behavior. Interaction with different environments in a bid to learn more about them helps in understanding the importance of a liberal and civilized society. As expressed at the end of the movie Rear Window at the end, civilization is the act of bringing the society into a harmonies state without the consideration of their differences and weaknesses.
Nicol, Bran. “Police thy neighbour’: Crime culture and the rear window paradigm.” Crimeculture: Figuring criminality in fiction and film (2011): 192-209.
Freud, Sigmund. “Civilization and Its Discontents” Chrysoma Associates LimitedPublicationsDivision, Electronic Books Library (1929): 1-40