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January 29, 2022, 06:52:44 am

Author Topic: Text response essay-On the waterfront-  (Read 1521 times)  Share 

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Text response essay-On the waterfront-
« on: April 20, 2013, 10:54:32 am »
It is not only through physical violence that the mob maintains its power?

Shot almost entirely on the waterfront, Elia Kazan’s film explores many themes including that of which is the delegation of power within the union and mob. Whilst physical violence is one of the most blatant sources for the mobs power, it is also gained through the social values which encircle Hoboken of staying ‘D n D’, it is also gained through the excess resources such as money loaned to union workers, through the treatment of employment seekers and mob members which facilitate the increase in power held by Johnny Friendly and his crude henchmen.
In his opening scene, Kazan portrays union’s workers as ‘greedy’ and scruffy workaholics. That not only emphasises the love of a ‘lousy buck’ but also the power of the mob whom strictly quarantine the workers they allow, and reject all those whom hurtle back home with nothing. Initially it can be seen by the pantomime of mob members the blatant disregard for pop when big mac refuses to hand him a token but rather throwing it on the floor for the squeamish bunches to race after, this symbolizes the hatred placed on him for his sons actions, it also shows the culture that the mob has ultimate sovereignty. Thus it can be concluded that some of the power the mob maintains comes from dispelling nature of employment longshoremen are vulnerable to.
In the latter scene, Kazan juxtaposes the wealth of Johnny Friendly and the union members. Kazan emphasises the disparity of wealth between those with the furry coats and lavish lifestyles whom are the henchmen and workers of the mob with members such as Kayo Dugan whom at one point exclaims “Mines more full of holes than the Pittsburgh infield”. His clear exaggeration is coupled with Kazan’s realism depicting the harsh winters of New York which increases the mobs power with the ability to gain resources due to their ‘sizeable cuts’. Kazan’s film also supports the symbol of power which is the furry coats in the courtroom where Johnny friendly removes his coat revealing the dramatic loss of power. In his last confrontation for moral salvation, Terry allows himself to spare a thought and tells Johnny that ‘without the heaters (Coats) you’re nothing’. This supports Kazan’s illustration of the power which not only ceases to be coercive in nature but also soft and intimidating.
While Johnny Friendly maintains power in the pier and in the Union, his power also spreads into the community where none dares to utter a word to the crime commission. Kazan portrays a community gripped with fear and insecurity where many ears listen. When Malloy has a conscience and moral change, it is Johnny Friendly who finds out through the ‘ears’ which lurk in the labyrinth of Hoboken. Thus this develops into an abominable culture and norm where one should stay ‘D n D’. It is emphasized greatly in many scenes where Pop Doyle degrades his son for being a ‘canary’ and a ‘stool pigeon’. Through constant remarks and non-physical abuse to members whom decide to become ‘cheese-eaters’, it is that which develops the culture for others asswell. Therefore Kazan ensures there are many factors which expose power other than physical violence.
One of the most obvious traits depicted in the initial scene by the mob was loansharking. It exemplifies the mobs various sources of enforcement which keep it in power. This had led to many leading austere lives which prove more severe in places like New York where harsh weather extremities prevail. Set in a time where the mob were ever-powerful and avaricious, Kazan employs a sense of realism in the film to show the avarice in the mob, it is especially evident when Johnny Friendly is made vulnerable to the fact that his own banker is cheating him off a ‘lousy buck’. Though he was not obstructed physically, he was dismissed in a way which epitomizes the aptitude of the mob.
 In conclusion, the city of Hoboken in 1954 portrayed by Elia Kazan discusses the use of power ,not only through physical coercion and violence but also through the symbolism of highly expensive winter wear, through the social values which encircle Hoboken of staying ‘D n D’, he constant loan-sharking and the mobs power of employment, this shows that kazan wants to convey that power is much more than physical violence but also extends into many categories.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 11:22:09 am by 95atar »