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Author Topic: THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES: Style and Technique 6: Symbolism  (Read 5891 times)
KC
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« on: September 27, 2004, 11:44:08 PM »

Symbolism works under the surface to tie the story's external action to its themes. Symbols are concrete objects that are featured in such a way as to represent intangible story elements.

Name some symbols you found in this film. How are they used to support the intangible story elements? Are they used effectively?
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Chessie
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2004, 09:37:36 PM »

As I was sitting here thinking about the film, I just saw a parallel of Josey to Jesus.  I know it sounds so weird.  But Josey is this figure that everyone knows about and no one can beat, he's willing to go into danger to protect his family, and he has this following of people, like how Jesus had his disciples.  At the end scene with Terrill he forgives him, a very self righteous and Christ-like act.  

I am just totally off in la-la land with this parallel?
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The old dreams were good dreams; they didn't work out, but I'm glad I had them.  - Robert Kincaid, the Bridges of Madison County
Christopher
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2004, 10:11:23 AM »

I've read about a lot of religious parallel's in some of Eastwood's work, so no, I don't think the argument would be off base.
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bcm
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2004, 03:26:49 PM »

tobacco chewing and particularly spitting: Josey doesn't chew or spit in the beginning of the film, when he's ploughing with his son. He takes up this habit I guess as a way of showing us how, after loosing his family, he spits on everything/shows no respect towards anything anymore. He doesn't spit (although ready to) when first arriving to the farm. And he doesn't chew while branding the calf. He does take that habit up again when he wants to leave Laura Lee and the farm. It also shows with the dog. The first time he hits him on the forehead, and later he spits beside the animal.
music and music instruments: music symbolizes happiness and the feeling of being safe and being home. Laura Lee hides behind the piano and is only discovered when the piano is shattered. And the first time Josey allows himself any positive feeling towards the farm and Laura Lee, they are all dancing.
The Lost Lady: interesting name for a saloon... To me it symbolizes the point where he's gonna let go of the lady he's lost (his wife), and tackle a new life again (find the lost lady again - rebuild a new life)
There's plenty more, maybe I'll be back for some  ;)
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"He wondered what the man's name was and where he was from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home: and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace" Sam, TTT, written by JRR Tolkien, 1954
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2004, 03:36:00 PM »

the white man: To me the whole image of the "white man" is summed up in the white dressed Mr. Carpetbagger. He sells something dubious for different prices depending the situation. He obviously knows he's cheating people, but he's feeling just fine about it. Just as long as he can earn money with doing that... One scene sums that up pretty nicely:
Quote
Mr. C. to Lone Watie: You're an indian, aren't you? Can you speak any english?...It's the very best thing for those who can't handle their liquor (laughs)
Lone Watie: What's in it?
White man judging a person because of predjudices (he probably can't speak english, he drinks, and he'll be stupid enough to buy it...). The indian who has learned the hard way not to trust too lightly asks the only right question!
The same has happened to Fletcher before, when he forgot to ask what would be included (=in it) in decency. (the senator telling him that Fletcher's men had been decently treated and decently shot)

I don't know whether it's a symbol, but I find it particularly deceitful of the union soldiers to kill Fletcher's men while they were pledging allegiance...
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"He wondered what the man's name was and where he was from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home: and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace" Sam, TTT, written by JRR Tolkien, 1954
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2005, 06:48:37 PM »

Thanks to everyone for participating in this discussion. This topic is now closed, please post any additional thoughts in the Clint Eastwood Westerns forum.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2005, 07:06:52 PM by Matt » Logged
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