Analysis Of The Movie ' Strangers On A Train ' Essay

Analysis Of The Movie ' Strangers On A Train ' Essay

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Strangers on a Train is one of Hitchcock’s most well-known films. It is typically analyzed in terms of the ways that the two main male characters interact. According to many film critics, homosexual attraction between Bruno and Guy is one of the premises of the film. This may be the case, however, many of these film critics fail to consider the minor characters of the film: the women. Specifically, they fail to analyze the influence of these women on the development of the male characters and to interpret the message Hitchcock is trying to portray about women, especially those with qualities typically not associated with women.
To understand why Hitchcock’s portrayal of female characters is crucial to fully understanding the film, it is important to consider the way society worked for women in the fifties. Women “were taught to pity the neurotic, unfeminine, unhappy women who wanted to be poets or physicists or presidents” (Friedman, 16). It was completely wrong for women to try and get male dominated jobs. They were supposed to be housewives who did not have any power in society. “They had no thought for the unfeminine problems of the world outside the home; they wanted the men to make the major decisions” (Friedman, 18). In her book, Friedman continues to explain how most of the women she had interviewed who were housewives felt dissatisfaction with their lives and were ashamed that they felt this way. These feeling were problems that were “dismissed by telling the housewife she doesn’t realize how lucky she is… Does she really, secretly, want to be a man? Doesn’t she know yet how lucky she is to be a woman?... what is wrong with American women that they can’t accept their role gracefully?” (Friedman, 24). Seeing as a lot of me...


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...ts her desire to be strong and independent, Hitchcock implies that the only way for a woman to lead a proper life is to fulfill the standards set to her by society. She must not dare to venture outside of the limits that have already been created for her, unless she wants to ruin her future.
Hitchcock used the film Strangers on a Train as a warning to women who wanted to be unbounded by social conformity, not just as an exploration of homosexuality as it is commonly thought. He probably scared many women into giving up on improving their unsatisfying lives just as most propaganda and media at that time did. Hitchcock created a film that portrayed the feelings he observed in society. A work of art often says something about the culture that surrounds it and Hitchcock told women that they needed to stay in their roles if they wanted to lead a good life.















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