Angela Hayes---American Beauty

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Response to a character Characters are an important narrative element to any story and how the audience response to these characters are manipulated by the creators. This is especially true in the feature film American Beauty by Sam Mendes where the characters lives, values and attitudes, their ideas about society and what they percive to be beautiful provoke a response from the viewer. American Beauty explores the concept of identity and how every single character within the story seems to be living under a façade. One of these characters who caught my attention is Angela Hayes. Angela is Jane’s lolita-ish friend, who we are first introduced to at a basketball game rally, during the second half break. As with the other characters, Angela is living under a façade. She is the stereotypical blonde, skinny and beautiful cheerleader. This charaacterization of her indicates to the viewers what American society perceives as beautiful. However, Angela’s inner beauty is anything but beautiful. She treats others as if they are beneath her just because they are not as beautiful as she is. This ultimately leads me to loath her character because to me, outward appearance is nothing but looks, like an empty shell –which is only there for display. This was the first impression I got about Angela –vain and empty. Her personality deteroritates from her looks and it is easy to judge her on her actions without knowledge of her motives. However, later in the narrative, Angela’s seemingly well-hidden flaws start to seep through. It becomes apparent that her identity is linked to her appearance when she tries to force others to believe that she is hot and popular, when in reality, she is sad and miserable inside. Like Carolyn, she values physical appearance over inner beauty. Although my values conflict with Angela’s values, I still sympathy with her as I know how much pressure
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