Symbolism In The Movie Doubt

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Doubt, a film taking place in New York during the 1960s, focuses on the accusation of a priest, Father Flynn, being a child predator by a nun, Sister Aloysius. The credibility of Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn are often brought into question throughout the film. As the evidence gathered was mostly circumstantial and created through assumptions, Father Flynn did not harm Donald Miller at any instance despite the constant pressure from Aloysius to admit his guilt by leaving the parish.
Sister Aloysius is displayed as old fashioned and spiteful towards change. Her denial of change stems from the smallest and pettiest of objects: ballpoint pens and Christmas songs. Her stubborn demeanor is demonstrated when criticizing Sister James’ classroom;
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For instance, a lightbulb goes out directly above Aloysius when she is confronted by Flynn and James on separate occasions. In both conversations, each person is trying to justify his or her argument to Aloysius. The lightbulb going out represents how Aloysius’ ideas and suspicions may be weakening and temporarily destroyed, but her stubborn motivation keeps her from dropping her accusations. The wind also plays a factor against Aloysius. When she spoke with James, Mrs. Miller, and Flynn, the wind pushes against Aloysius. She also tries to block out the wind when closing the windows in her office and James’ classroom. Unlike Aloysius, the “winds of change” do not bother the other characters as they easily adapt and are more willing to change. Such a change can be seen through James’ character development. While she first begins as a timid and kind nun, her behavior begins to take a similar vibe to that of Aloysius. It is only until she yells at a student and talks to Flynn that she reflects on her own thoughts and decides for herself what to believe. By the end of the film, she is the person who Aloysius confesses her doubt to. As the film is set in the 1960s, religion was in the middle of determining if it should stay the same or reform. This conflict reflects the contrast between Flynn and Aloysius, for Flynn wants to move the parish ahead while Aloysius wants everything to stay the
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