The Foreigner: A Sacrifice for Society’s Unity

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It lurks outside the city walls, striking fear into the hearts of the community and the people band together united in opposition to this abomination. What is this figure that grips an entire city with fear enough to bind them together? This would be the foreigner, or the representation of the foreign figure. By foreigner, I am not specifically referring to a person from a foreign place, but instead I refer to the idea of a foreign character that dominates all societies throughout history. Every community has a fable, or person that embodies all their fears and imperfections within society. The witch in the dark forest, the hermit in the run down home, or the monster that lurks through the night, all of these figures serve as scapegoats for the imperfections or fears within society that prevent them from uniting as a community. The figure of the foreigner is used by authors and directors to serve as a model with which to develop a political or social commentary. Within both Waggner’s classic film The Wolf Man and Cervantes’ The Dialogue of the Dogs the figure of the foreigner is depicted in two parts. The first part of the foreigner is scapegoated by society in an attempt to unify the people through transference of societal imperfections thus making the foreigner embody all the negative aspects of society. The second component places the foreigner as a threat to this unity when it enters into the confines of the society which forces the citizens to face their imperfections leading to the foreigner being hunted in attempt to restore that unity.

Waggner’s The Wolf Man has a very straightforward depiction of the foreigner through the character of Larry because the two aspects of the foreigner are represented within two separate phy...

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... a very straightforward manner to provide a commentary on the dissolving of the sovereignty that rules over society. The film becomes an American statement about the importance of being free from oppressive rule which is symbolized through terrorization of the wolf-man and his eventual defeat. Cervantes uses the figures of the foreigner to provide a social commentary on the lack of unity present within Spain during the Inquisition. He uses the dialogue to reveal that the entire society is composed of foreign figures that are imperfect, but the only way to overcome a truly foreign force is by uniting together. These pieces use the common theme of the dreaded foreigner that has persisted throughout history, because people are driven by fear. Without something to fear or fight against, society would dissolve into utter chaos and the foreigner fits that role perfectly.
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