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Analyzing the Film "To Kill a Mockingbird

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Jenna Toler

on 29 April 2015

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Transcript of Analyzing the Film "To Kill a Mockingbird

A Mockingbird’s Freedom: A Theoretical Discussion of
To Kill a Mockingbird

Film Summary: About
To Kill a Mockingbird

Released December 25, 1962
Directed by Robert Mulligan
Made $13,129,846
Atticus, Scout and Jem
Racism
False Accusation
Injustice
Innocence
Method: Theoretical Lenses
Influenced by Marxism and
Michael Foucault
Analyzes literature through historical content
Reason in society for creation

Ex. 1950s fear of communism
and growing interest in
monster movies
Theory: Tropes
Predictable and expected

Audience finds comfort

Ex. Getting the Girl
Theory: Archetypes
View character through personality traits and character motivation

Character follows typical pattern seen in various movie scenes
Introduction: Theoretical Lenses in
To Kill a Mockingbird

Many theoretical lenses viewed

New Historicism: Societal fear of transition from segregation to integration

Tropes: Expectedness and comfort

Archetypes: Character traits
Theory:
New Historicism
Theory: Ideological State Apparatuses
Theory: Conspicuous Consumption
Theory: The Concept of Angst and Dread
Introduction: Theoretical Lenses in
To Kill a Mockingbird

Ideological State Apparatuses: Division in class by racial segregation
Conspicuous Consumption: Consuming to show society
"Angst" : Character's rising
sense of dread

Method:
Theoretical Lenses
Thorstein Veblen's
Conspicuous Consumption

Jean-Paul Satre's concept of dread and angst

Literary Devices

Mechanics
Michael Delahoyde, in his article "New Historicism," discusses how the history of the time period provides the meaning of the text in relation to New Historicism: "New Historicism seeks to find a meaning in a text by considering the work within the framework of the prevailing ideas and assumptions of its historical era."
Analysis: New Historicism of
To Kill a Mockingbird

Societal fear of segregation to integration
Shift to new order of equality
Equal distribution of
power
According to the article "Tropes," a writer relies on an audience's ability to understand tropes based on the assumption that the audience has already seen the scene: "Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations."

Analysis: Archetypes in
To Kill a Mockingbird

In 2012, in an issue of
Anthropology of Consciousness,
Charles D. Laughlin and Vincenza
A. Tiberia discuss how archetypes
produce set ideas in society: “The archetypes produce such distinctive
and universal motifs as the incest
taboo, the unity of opposites, the
King, the Goddess, the Hero,
shape-shifting spirits, and so on.”
According to the article “Archetypal Character,” a character archetype describes a character with personality and traits that appear in multiple films: “An Archetypal Character is a character who appears over and over in legends far and wide, even in cultures that have shut themselves off from the world.”
Analysis: Ideological State Apparatuses in
To Kill a Mockingbird

According to the article, “Ideological State Apparatus,” an Ideological State Apparatus represents the way different organizations promote economic or political ideas of ideals: “In a highly influential essay, Althusser identified the ‘Ideological State Apparatus’ as the method by which organizations propagate ideology.”
Analysis: Conspicuous Consumption in
To Kill a Mockingbird
According to the article “Conspicuous Consumption,” people consume conspicuously in order to display to society a sense of superiority or status: “Consumption is used as a way to gain and signal status.”
Analysis: The Concept of Dread and Angst in
To Kill a Mockingbird

According to the article “Angst,” the feeling of dread can occur due to a person’s fear of freedom: “While Kierkegaard’s feeling of angst is fear of actual responsibility to God, in modern use, angst is broadened to include general frustration associated with the conflict between actual responsibilities to self, one’s principles and others (possibly including God).”
Literary Devices
Mechanics
Works Cited
“Angst.” Jahsonic. NG Communications, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

“Archetypal Character.” tvtropes. TV Tropes Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

“Conspicuous Consumption.” What is Conspicuous Consumption? What is
Conspicuous Consumption, n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.

Delahoyde, Michael. “New Historicism.” Literature. Washington State University, n.d. Web. 26 Jan 2015.

Hohendahl, Peter Uwe. “A Return To History? The New Historicism and Its Agenda.” New German Critique 55 (1992): 87. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Mar. 2015.

“Ideological State Apparatus.” ChangingMinds.org. Changing Works, n.d. Web. 17
Feb. 2015.

Laughlin, Charles D., and Vincenza A. Tiberia. “Archetypes: Toward A Jungian Anthropology Of Consciousness.” Anthropology of Consciousness 23.2 (2012):
127-157. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Mar. 2015.

“Tropes.” tvtropes. TV Tropes Foundation, n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2015.

Conclusion:
Continue discovering theories
that apply

Judith Butler's Gender Performance

Marx and Engels Alienation and Commodification

Plato's Allegory of the Cave


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Analysis: Tropes in
To Kill a Mockingbird

Ex. The Hero
Custom reinforces an idea
Louis Althusser
Ex. Holding a door
Thorstein Veblen
Consuming to show society
Ex. Solid gold watch
Jean-Paul Satre
Rising sense of dread
Fear of freedom
Ex. Standing at edge of a
building
Protagonist: Scout
Antagonist: Society
Conflict: Mayella's rape accusation
Climax: Tom Robinson's Trial
Motif: "Remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird"
The Missing Mom Trope
Title Drop
The Hero: Atticus Finch
The Innocent: Tom Robinson
Atticus dresses nicely
White people lived in nicer communities
Dill's aunt: Wears pearls, earrings and a nice hat
Sheriff of Maycomb: Wears a
gold chain with a pocket watch
The children: spy on
Boo Radly
Jailhouse injustice
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Expands ways to look at simple subject
New Historicism
Tropes
Carl Jung's Archetypes
Louis Althusser's Ideological State Apparatuses
Eye Level: Conversation
The Close-Up: Scout
Camera Angles
Low Level Angle: Atticus
Elevated Camera Angle
Long Shot: Rabid dog
Mechanics
Non Diegetic: Horror music
Look Up Camera Cut: Jem in the woods
Reaction Camera Cut: Scout and the jailhouse scene
Entrance Camera Cut: Judge entering the courthouse
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Full transcript