The Truman Show is both interesting and pertinent to social studies because it demonstrates how much a free-willed person may be influenced by the societal norms that are either presented as real or made up. By influencing Truman Burbank’s perspective on desires, wants, and social standards, producer Christoff has achieved and is still managing to control practically all aspects of Truman Burbank’s socialization. Truman becomes extremely terrified of traveling since Christoff forbids him from leaving Seaheaven in order for the movie to continue. As a person of tender age, Christoff writes that the father of Truman will be tossed across the board during of their sailing journeys due to a horrible storm (Anderson et al., 2010). This instills a bad fear of big water bodies to an extent that he becomes unable to swim.
In addition with regular news of plane crashes and a normal attitude among his friends that flying is very dangerous. Travelling by air is also is also not possible for him. Truman’s values are increasingly affected by the producer’s cast of the film. When Truman informs his close friend that he does not like his job, his friend encourages him to keep the job. When he indicates that he wishes to leave Seaheaven, everyone inquires why he would leave such a great place. In addition Christoff constantly tries to persuade him to bear a child with his actress-wife. At long last, Truman finds out that everyone around him is acting (Anderson et al., 2010) . However the fact that he took long to discover gives evidence concerning the extent to which a free-willed individual can be affected by the social norms presented to them either real or contrived.
Summary of the Movie
Truman Burbank spends his life oblivious that he is on a popular television show. His entire actions are a true feedback to his life. However, every individual surrounding him is an actor. The show starts twenty-eight years into Truman’s life. Every morning, he wakes up to greet his neighbors with his customary, “Good morning! And if I don’t see you later, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight!” (Anderson et al., 2010).While traveling to work, a set of the lamp is seen dropping from the sky. This starts the untwisting of the Truman Show. His memory of losing his father at the sea scares him and as a result, he is not able to mount a boat to get away from the island to view other parts of the world. After many years of his demise, Truman comes across his father in town while traveling to work. At the same time, two people standing by remove his father on accounts that he is wrongfully present. Truman is shocked at the sight of events and starts to question reality. Truman remembers a scene during his school days when he meets a girl and immediately falls in love with her. Nevertheless, producers do not think she is the right girl for him. During one night the girl attempts to reveal to Truman that his life is being managed and watched before he was forcefully removed by a person who professed to be her father. Contemplating on this time, Truman discovers that there exists a secret about his life which is known by everyone. A day later while going to work, Truman’s normal classical music radio is obstructed by frequencies of the crew radios. He overhears a play-by-play illustration of his location to the point the producers can recover control and proceed to play his normal music. While he walks into an office he notices an elevator lacking a back wall showing employers in a break room like those of a film group. As he spoke o his wife describing his suspicion about life, Truman opts to flee. (Anderson et al., 2010)His efforts to board a ship, get a bus ride to Chicago and a flight to Fiji were all unsuccessful. He up ducts his wife and travels away from the island as the last option to flee. Unfortunately, evacuated workers of a radioactive firm prevent him. When back at home to his usual life, Truman speaks tie his friend who erroneously encourages him that all is well in his life and there was no external control. Suddenly, Truman’s once late father shows up again and a two engage in an emotional reunion. Truman escapes from the film crew and flees from the island by sailing away on a boat with the hope of reaching Fiji. As a last resort, the creator and producer of The Truman Show build a storm to coarse Truman’s return. Fleeing from the storm and moving on, Truman plunges the boat into the external of the set which had been hiding by the sky. It dawns on Truman that his world has been stage managed. The producer owns up to having controlled Truman’s like. He, however, pleads with him to stay in his make-believe world. On his own, Truman opts to exit the show to live his normal life.
How Popular Culture Themes were constructed in the Movie
Several popular culture themes were created in the movie. The first one is Religion. Truman is delightedly living a fake life then suddenly he begins doubting. The question here is whether it is better to hold onto a lie regarding heaven or afterlife and whether it makes one happy, despite being untrue. The second theme is America. Most citizens of America believe that America is “the greatest country in the world”, in spite of its obvious challenges. The town in which Truman resides tells it all. In addition there is a cliché that people in America do not travel overseas. Third is the Media. Truman’s perception of the world is manipulated so he is only aware of what certain powerful individuals inquire from him and only gets to know about the world by watching TV and reading newspapers which limits his knowhow and makes him afraid of the external world (Anderson et al., 2010).
The following are some of the Sociological Concepts found in the movie.
The Social Learning Theory
The Social Learning Theory asserts that individuals “learn social behavior by observing and imitating” others (Grazian, 2015). In the Truman Show movie, Truman exhibits social learning by his connection with surrounding individuals. For instance, in communication with neighbors each morning, the community kindly greets Truman. In return, Truman responds to their greetings with similar politeness by uttering “Good morning and if I don’t see you later, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight!” (Anderson et al., 2010).The show correctly demonstrates the Social Learning Theory though Truman and his communication with people in town.
Classical Conditioning is “a type of learning which one learns to link two or more stimuli and anticipate events.”Classical Conditioning is done with an unlimited prompt resulting in unlimited feedback accompanied by a conditioned prompt with the hope of obtaining a conditioned response (Grazian 2015). Truman’s unconditioned stimulus of the sight of his father falling from the ship into water and drowning created the unconditioned response of his fear of death. In this case, the conditions stimulus is the boat which gives the conditioned response of fearing death. Classical Conditioning was ultimately illustrated by the way Truman feared death while on the boat.
Motivation is “a need or desire that energizes or directs behavior (Grazian, 2015). The two motivations of Truman are to get back his love, Lauren who has been away for years, and to discover the reality of his life. Truman is very observant and makes inquiries from his wife and other people. Truman also attempts to leave the island for Fiji, in order to look for Lauren. (Grazian, 2015). These two situations illustrate Truman’s motivation. A typical adolescent at the start of the show, Truman thinks he is trapped in a social and familiar world that h attempts to obey while not being able to fully identify with it. He feels that the only way is to flee. Eventually, e gets enough awareness of his situation to escape thereby building an authentic and mature identity as a man abandoning his child self in the past and becoming True-man.
The Truman Syndrome
The Truman show really has a psychological syndrome bearing its name. This syndrome e is when a person thinks that he or she is the theme of a reality TV program and that all people surrounding them are only acting. There is normally some doubt as to whether the person claiming to be them of the show is really sincere regarding their predicament. It is inevitable because some individuals are merely seeking attention. The Truman syndrome is founded on the role the media plays in society and its growth. Some people believe that the materialistic and individualistic beliefs of western cultures are to blame for those who currently at risk for psychological uncertainty to display this syndrome. (Grazian, 2015). The hustles of staying in an interacted world can portray the unstable part of some psychologically susceptible individuals. The impact of media and society definite does not affect people and the whole population for that matter, particularly in the United States. The Truman Show also indicates that the media usually serves the American public in the absence of any moral considerations whatsoever. This is evidently manifested when Christoff almost kills Truman in order to maintain his artificial world so that he can go on with the show.
The emerging Issues
The role of the Media in the world emerges as the strongest of the issues emerging in the film. It is clear how it is most often oblivious to people, the impact of media has on individuals. Nonetheless, everywhere people look the impact of media has changed the way of living. For instance the sports people play, the clothes they wear, their political opinions and the music they listen to are all determined by the media. Consequently, media has the capability to affect individual’s views. This denies them their freedom that is inborn, the ability to reason for them and to make sound decisions
A comparison of Popular Culture Themes in Truman Show and the movie THX 1138
The theme of Religion can be found in the two movies. In the Truman Show, Jim Carrey’s character stays in a television film oblivious to the truth. Everyone around him is unreal. He only discovers the truth in his middle age. The movie THX 1138, portrays an individual who unwillingly lives the status quo without knowing the reason why. However deep down his heart, he believes there is more to life. He begins to escape from his underground life and is only redeemed once outside. In both movies, the actors ask themselves whether it is better to hold onto a lie regarding heaven or afterlife and whether it makes one happy, despite being untrue.
Anderson, W., Biziou, P., Carrey, J., Dallwitz, B., Harris, E., & Niccol, A. et al. (2010). The Truman Show (1st ed.). [Australia]: Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment (Australasia)
Grazian, David. Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society (for American Public Univeristy System). W. W. Norton & Company, 10/2015. VitalBook file.