Thursday, December 8, 2011

The American Anti-Hero

            The American Anti-Hero began to rise “between 1948-1980 there was a golden age of the American anti-hero. The anti hero was rising because of post war America. Americans were uneasy and the new era of Americans were rebels against their society. “As America was scrutinizing its fellow citizens and lives were being shattered, its youth began to become disenchanted and cynical with the very idea of being good, especially when faced with overbearing authority figures”. Hollywood cinema wanted to appeal to the youth by using Anti-heroes that they could relate to. As a general population people were becoming more open to new ideas in a post WWII world. “The anti-hero was daring the audience to relate to doing wrong or being wrong even for the wrong reasons. People in general do wrong, but understanding how some we like can do wrong reflects our own misgivings and failures to do the right thing”. The anti-hero was more realistic to people, because he was not perfect, like a hero. People viewed an anti-hero as someone they could relate to. As the youth began to take on a characteristic of rebellion they focused on the need for individuality. The typical hero represents the view of a perfect society that does not have flaws. In being rebels the youth wanted to create the opposite of this by displaying individuality in going against a perfect society. They were mavericks, like the anti-hero.

            The 1960s embodied the civil rights movement where the youth found injustices in racism. Captain America “rides a chopper and wears a leather jacket and helmet that all have an American flag on them. He is donning them all when he is shot-gunned down by southern intolerants. Americans killing America, in effect . . . or at least symbolically”.

            The American Anti-Hero contradicts the Classical Hollywood Ideology. The classical Hollywood ideology portrays a hero that the audience favors and does good deeds. The hero always succeeds, lacks flaws, and contributes to a happy ending. The anti-hero contradicts the hero, because the anti- hero has flaws, fails, and goes against society. For example in ‘Taxi Driver’ Travis is an anti hero. Travis “is constantly at odds with these two sides of his own personality”. Travis is good-natured in wanting to protect girls from the scum that he finds as pimps. Travis is vengeful in his desire to hurt the girl who rejects him, after he takes her to a triple X movie.

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