Truman Show: The Failure of the American Research Paper

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Truman Show: The failure of the American Dream

In the 1998 film The Truman Show, the protagonist Truman Burbank leads an ideal American life. He has a loving family, a perfect job, good friends and wholesome neighbors. There is only one problem with this sunny state of affairs: it is all a lie. Truman is really the star of an ongoing reality TV program known as The Truman Show. Truman has been deluded into thinking that his perfect life is reality. However, eventually he begins to tire of this image of perfection. Truman begins to resist the constraints that have been imposed upon him. The film supports the notion that truth is preferable to a happy lie, and is a call to all viewers to question the injustices that exist within their own societies. [THESIS].

Although the film may seem fantastic, advocates of social justice like Martin Luther King Jr. would argue that there is much in American history that resonates with The Truman Show. White Americans have come to believe that their society is perfectly just, and this image is perpetuated by the media, just like The Truman Show depicts a perfect reality. But for black Americans, the reality of America is very different. King stated in his speech called "The American Dream:"America has been something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against herself. On the one hand we have proudly professed the great principles of democracy, but on the other hand we have sadly practiced the very opposite of those principles" (King 1964).

Outside of the set of The Truman Show, there are widespread demonstrations demanding that Truman be freed of his illusion. A 'Free Truman' campaign springs up, on a grass roots level.
'Reality' has already begun to intrude upon Truman's existence, given that he feels stirrings for another woman, an extra, that are very different from the feelings for the actress who is paid to love him. Ultimately Truman and his supporters believe that reality and risk is superior to a life of safety. Truman rejects the paternalism of the show's creator, who believes that by deluding Truman he has done him a favor, because Truman will never have to endure the normal stressors others face as part of the real world. This paternalism is similar to the type of attitude overbearing parents have to children. Or, it could be argued, it is even similar to that of the defense slaveholders made of slavery, when white slaveholders said they were 'protecting' their slaves. Truman has no freedom, and his captivity provides enrichment for others.

The Truman Show upholds the value of truth over happiness in a manner that runs counter to the materialism of the American Dream, which suggests that success is always earned, and a person's worth can be equated with what he owns. America, as a society that is founded upon the ideal of the pursuit of happiness, has tended to embrace the values embodied by the television program The Truman Show, versus the movie that depicts the false 'reality TV program.' Material wealth in the form of a good job and a nice home are valued above self-understanding in the America of the film.

At the beginning of the film, Truman is told by the media that the world outside his home is a dangerous place. His wife is obsessed by the products of the sponsors, because she is paid….....

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