Agent Cooper Character Analysis

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From the show’s very beginning the viewer is presented with a duality, a theme central to the show. Characters exist on two distinct planes, and places duplicate. This, in turn, creates a ripple in the viewers’ real-world knowledge and meaning-making - places and people do not duplicate and exist on different planes, which cuases the viewers to experience a perpetual confusion. For example, the show’s Laura Palmer, her double and cousin Maddy Ferguson, and the woman in Agent Cooper’s dreams present a dissonance not only to the show’s characters, but also to the viewers. The resemblance between the three women prompts a series of uncanny encounters for Laura Palmer’s family and friends, which resemblance is confirmed when Maddy meets an identical…show more content…
However, Agent Cooper is given the information in the forms of riddles, or impossible puzzles, which strengthen the degree of dissonance he experiences, creating confusion and dissonance, which is transcended into the viewers’ reality. The cognitive dissonance is further strengthened by the absence of any additional information, which will reduce the created discomfort, thus driving the viewers to use coping strategies in order to reduce the dissonance. Another example of felt cognitive dissonance is the sequances in the “Red Room” where a small man from another place communicates in strange voice, with uncanny rhythms and accentuations, a speech in reverse. The character’s movements are also presented in reverse, which, simultaneously, creastes a strangely surreal aesthetic effect and a strongly felt diviation from the viewers’ real-life knowledge and experience. The viewers are aware that they are going to withness illusion, yet this unnatural speech stands out as a distortion of the natural and creates…show more content…
These three hypotheses will be used to illustrate how cognitive dissonance is experienced by the characters in the inner story world, which could possibly create distortions and discrepancies in the viewers’ real-life knowledge and meaning-making processes. Selective exposure is described as “the tendency people have to avoid information that would create cognitive dissonance because it is incompatible with their current beliefs” (Klapper 1960, p. 19). This hypothesis is played out in the second part of episode one in the second season, when at the briefing in the police station Agent Cooper lays the facts around Laura Palmer’s murder, her sexual relations and drug habits, and Deputy Andy does not accept these facts about Laura. He starts crying and screams at Agent Cooper and the forensic analysist Albert Rosenfield that he does not like how they “talk smart about Sheriff Truman or anybody! You just shut your mouth!”. Another instance of selective exposure used to reduce cognitive dissonance is played out in season one, episode four: before Laura Palmer’s funeral Bobby Briggs has a heated conversation with his father, Major Garland Briggs. Bobby screams at his father, but his mother refuses to acknowledge this information (which possibly indicates her family has problems), and ignores the situation with a
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