Masculinity of Rebel Without a Cause

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Masculinity of Rebel Without a Cause Film played a huge part in how the public viewed and interpreted roles of masculinity in the 1950s. Film especially influenced how the young male was perceived and understood. Rebel without a Cause portrays the inner- struggle of young American males in the 1950s, not just in the city but smack in the middle of suburbia. It appears that Jim Spark is rebelling without a cause; however there is a cause which is not a socially accepted cause. He is rebelling against societal reform while crying out for parental attention. When you are a teenager, everything seems to feel like life or death and in rebel without a cause, Nicholas Ray taps into that emotional state, treating its star triumvirate of 1950s California kids as the confused saints they imagine themselves to be. When the show at the planetarium is finished there is a brawl between Jim, the new kid and a bully in leather jacket who is Buzz. Buzz and his gang found Jim easily; he isn’t hiding but trying to stay out of trouble since his family moved to his town after Jim beat a boy in his last school for calling him a “chicken”. The gang crowds threateningly around Jim’s car while he and Plato are watching from balcony above. Jim fights so hard to gain respect in front of his peers who test him by calling him “chicken”. Jim is not only fighting to become accepted but he is also rebelling so that he doesn’t become more like his father. Jim is frustrated with what he sees as a lack of masculinity and strength in his father. He is ashamed and embarrassed by him and finds that he cannot confide in him or ask for advice and understanding. his father doesn’t take Jim seriously and shrugs the whole things as unimportant and childish, commenting that in ten years it will all be forgotten. Jim is exasperated and struggles for some common ground with his dad but finds none.

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