The Role Of Community In Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window

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Society is fooled into believing in the applied connection among people. Benedict Anderson’s idea of imagined communities emphasizes that, “… the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (5). Members of neighborhoods, cities, states, or countries feel a sense of unity with other members for living in the same place or maybe having the same basic values, but true unity comes from understanding the similarities among each other, considering the impact a person can have on another, and caring about lives. Recognizing the importance of lives being socially intertwined is necessary to sustain a considerate society. …show more content…

People within a community are separated from each other by barriers, living in rigidly defined dwellings that provide little chance for lives to interlace with each other. The construction of the apartment complex in Rear Window (1954) by Alfred Hitchcock exemplifies this structured division within communities by placing each person or couple in the film, at least from Jefferies’ point of view, in their own box. Each box is isolated from the ones around it. This supports the notion that “The nation is imagined as limited because even the largest of them encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, if elastic boundaries, beyond which lie other nations. No nation imagines itself coterminous with mankind,” (Anderson 6). If people cannot think of their bond to mankind, the actions of a few are at risk of harming many. Within the community, no one knows each other; they are all confined to their individual lives, with little to no concern for others. When in Rear Window the dog is killed, its owner chastises the people in the apartment …show more content…

The idea of similarities among all people, an underlying connection, is expressed by Hitchcock when Lisa in Rear Window argues with Jefferies, saying, “There can't be that much difference between people and the way they live! We all eat, talk, drink, laugh, sleep, wear clothes --“. When she says this, Lisa has a lamp light shining from the upper right side of the screen to indicate the truth of her argument. There is also an instance in Rear Window where the ability to understand a person sprouts empathy. Jefferies is sitting in the dark, after Lisa leaves angry, when the piano man comes home. The Piano man turns on his lights, which shine on Jefferies’ face to foreshadow a realization. The piano man stumbles into his studio apartment drunk. He then shoves his music off of the piano and collapses into a nearby chair. At first Jefferies laughs at the piano man. However, Jefferies soon realizes that the piano man’s actions merely animate his own feelings, causing Jefferies to cast his gaze down in shame for laughing. By realizing the similarities between himself and the Piano man, Jefferies is able to empathize with the piano man’s frustration instead of laughing at his pain. Requiring everyone to understand the day-to-day lives of everyone else on earth is of course absurd, but recognizing the similar qualities shared among all people reminds

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