Essay about A Closer Look to Home, West Side Story and Rent

Essay about A Closer Look to Home, West Side Story and Rent

Length: 1282 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Home is not always a place of comfort and security. In the film adaptations of Broadway musicals West Side Story (dir. Robbins, Jerome & Wise, Robert. 1961) and Rent (dir. Columbus, Chris. 2005), the experience of home is wrought through struggle, alienation, and suffering. West Side Story takes place in the New York City’s Upper West Side in the 1950s, and Rent in the Lower East Side in 1989-90. West Side Story, based loosely on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, explores themes of immigration and cultural difference, and subsequent matter of resistance. Rent, by Jonathan Larson, is based on Puccini's La Boheme and follows the lives of a group of bohemians and their issues surrounding non-conformity. While the musical format gives these representations a more theatrical feel, the reality of what home was for such individuals in New York at these times is evident. In both Rent and West Side Story, the main characters experience a separation from home, and in struggling with the ‘unhomely’ circumstances they find themselves in they must learn to draw on the support network of people around them.
West Side Story depicts love in the face of cultural and racial differences, and the tragedy that ensues around this. New Yorkers alienate Puerto Rican immigrants adapting to a new way of life, most apparent in the continual conflict between the local gang, the Jets, and the Puerto Rican Sharks. The premise of this is questioned when Tony, the past Jets leader and best friend of current leader Riff, meets and instantly falls in love with Maria, the younger sister of the Sharks leader, Bernardo. The two gangs continue their aggressive antics, cumulating in an organized “rumble” that goes much farther than intended, resulting in the death of b...


... middle of paper ...


...is also creates friction when gangs are outside their designated territories, which they have claimed as a sort of home. A concept illustrating the differences between “home and the home (Wise, p. 300)” from J. Macgregor Wise in the excerpt “Home: Territory and Identity” relates “the home may a space of violence and pain; home then becomes the process of coping, comforting, stabilizing oneself” (p. 300).

Through films such as West Side Story and Rent, we understand that the notion of home is not constant. Rather than home being the physical place, it is instead the comfort derived from the select few individuals who are like-minded and supportive. Through struggles and heartbreaks, the most reliable home is the people in our lives who are closest to us.



Works Cited

West Side Story (dir. Robbins, Jerome & Wise, Robert. 1961)
Rent (dir. Columbus, Chris. 2005)

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

West Side : Film Review Essay

- The film West Side takes place in New York City where a Polish- American gang, referred to as the Jets, competes against a Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks, to own the neighborhood streets. The central theme of this film is passionate love that defies friendships, family and other factors. To add to that, the dominating genre of the film is a musical involving drama and romance. To begin with, in this film, Richard Beymer (Tony) is the former leader of the jet that lives with Riff, works at Docs store and is in love with Maria....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, Maria]

Strong Essays
1080 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Prejudices in "The West Side Story" by Arthur Laurents

- The book West Side Story written by Arthur Laurents is set in the mid 1950’s, created as modern version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. West Side Story is a romantic tragedy about two characters that are supposedly completely different and aren’t accepted when they fall in love. The “difference’s” between these characters is centered on the prejudice’s they had against each other. Prejudice is a harsh opinion or feeling formed previously without any knowledge or reason. The Jets and the Sharks used many prejudices against other races, sex, and age....   [tags: West Side Story, Arthur Laurents, Shakespeare, Rom]

Strong Essays
806 words (2.3 pages)

A Summary of West Side Story Essays

- West Side Story      The drama/musical, which parodies the story of Romeo & Juliet, takes place in a city of New York, probably in the early 50’s late 40’s. It is a tale of two rival gangs, which despises the other in a vicious circle of hate. Riff leader of the Jets; a group mainly of Polish origin and the Sharks of Spanish origin with their leader Bernardo. It seems as though the two rivals have been at their quarrels since before the story took place. Through mysterious fate the neutral one’s from either side meet....   [tags: West Side Story]

Free Essays
378 words (1.1 pages)

Analysis of West Side Story Essay

- Analysis of West Side Story West Side Story came out in 1961 as a melodramatic musical that took place in New York. It takes the same theme as Shakespeare's, Romeo and Juliet, in that it is about two lovers whose relationship is not accepted by others because of conflicting backgrounds. The artistic intensions of this film are implicitly stated everywhere throughout the film. All of the dancing, singing, acting and pretend fighting was done thoroughly and very well, although the miking and mixing during the pretend fighting did not seem realistic....   [tags: Film West Side Story Movie Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)

The Namesake and West Side Story Essay

- Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise’s West Side Story (USA, 1961), a classic American film, and Mira Nair’s The Namesake (USA, 2006), a more contemporary film, both tell the story of young adults seeking out the American Dream. In both West Side Story and The Namesake, we see young people taking chances at love, while living out their lives and the American Dream. We experience the challenges that come with interracial relationships and the cultural influences that sadly put an end to the relationships....   [tags: American Dream, immigration, culture]

Strong Essays
2258 words (6.5 pages)

Rent Control: Pros And Cons Essay example

- Rent Control: Pros and Cons Rent control is the government imposition of price ceilings on rent for apartments in certain areas of a city. The goal is usually to protect the rights of the poor. Thus, in a rent controlled or rent stabilized building, the amount of rent will not increase as quickly as inflation. While the moral side of rent control may have some appeal, in the long run the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. Those who argue in favor of rent control say that it is the only way to protect lower-income tenants from landlords who overprice, and from being forced to move out of a neighborhood because they cannot afford the rent....   [tags: Rent Control New York Argumentative Essays]

Free Essays
1252 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about To Rent Or Not To Rent

- Renting a home to live in, rather than buying a home to live in is a much wiser decision. When renting a home you are able to have free maintenance, partially included utilities and the freedom to pack up and move at anytime you wish. We all like the luxury of being waited on, especially if it is at no cost to us. With a rental home, if the plumbing fouls up, the roof starts to leak or some other untimely mishap, free maintenance is only a phone call away for the renters because the landlord is liable for repairs on his rental properties....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
435 words (1.2 pages)

Essay on Rent Control

- There is a reason for everything, and if there is no reason to do something, most people will not do it. For example, if there is no incentive to motivate landlords to upkeep their property and make it the best it can be, they will left their properties at the lowest manageable state they can get away. Rent ceiling laws are an example of how lack of motivation and incentives can discourage people from making sure their best work and resources go into their product or whatever they are doing. These laws impose limitations on the amount landlords can charge their tenants for staying in their properties....   [tags: landlords, property, rent ceiling law, motivation]

Strong Essays
952 words (2.7 pages)

West Side Story Essay

- In 1961, West Side Story, a filmed version of the hit Broadway musical that was inspired by William Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet," was released to viewers, who just could not resist the energy and excitement of the movie. Thirty-eight years later, viewers, like myself, still cannot resist it. I had never seen the film, which was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, before, but I had always wondered why people loved this multi award-winning movie so much. After viewing the film, I think that it deserved the ten Academy Awards that it won because it has withstood the test of time and it truly is a remarkable film....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
751 words (2.1 pages)

Rent: The Musical Essay

- Rent. To most people it is associated with an apartment, house, or another object. This word rarely conjures pleasant memories, but more often annoyance and stress. However, when someone mentions rent to me, my mind races to some of the most memorable experiences in my life. When I hear the word Rent, I immediately see an eclectic Broadway production, overflowing with talent, adventure, and magic. I picture scantly clad actresses, strutting across the stage. I envision stunning duets and thought-provoking lyrics....   [tags: Rent Musicals Descriptive narrative Essays]

Strong Essays
869 words (2.5 pages)