Complacency In Alfred Hitchcock's Film 'The Birds'

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Andrew Harmeier 4/8/13 The Birds: A Warning Against Complacency Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic film, “The Birds,” modeled loosely after the classic Daphne DuMaurier short story, takes place in the small town of Bodega Bay, California, which suddenly, for reasons unknown, suffers a number of violent bird attacks within a short period of time. The residents of Bodega Bay are caught off guard when the attacks begin and struggle to grasp the severity of the situation until it’s too late, as their idyllic small town life is suddenly threatened. Through images reflected in “The Birds,” Hitchcock illustrates how complacency can lead to a false sense of security, leaving those involved unable to face a shocking event. In many ways, the small…show more content…
However, in a situation of drastic change, the inability or refusal to see the truth only heightens the severity of the situation. As the bird attacks become more frequent and widespread throughout the movie, the people of Bodega Bay look for answers, but the situation at hand can’t be explained. As human nature tends to look for rational explanations for situations too shocking to comprehend, certain residents claim the swift change in weather is responsible for the attacks, while others believe the attacks are an isolated incident. Refusal to acknowledge that the attacks could be something significant leaves the citizens of Bodega Bay unable to react. In support of the town’s inability to face the truth and the dangers in not doing so, Hitchcock uses several allusions to the idea of blindness in the film. For example, as Lydia Brenner discovers the farmer murdered in his home, she notices his eyes have been pecked out. Also, just before Cathy’s birthday party is broken up by a bird attack, the children are seen indulging in a game of blind man’s bluff. Finally, as the schoolchildren flee from a vicious attack by crows at the school playground, the crows knock down one of the children, breaking her glasses and leaving her virtually blind. Hitchcock uses these images to illustrate the danger of complacency and the blindness that can come with

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