Pleasantville

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Introduction

In the contemporary society, every individual expects a perfect life and this was more pronounced at childhood since everyone wanted to grow up and be adults for the pleasantries that was attached to adulthood. Everyone had a bright future. Life too comes with countless disappointments as all the expectations never come out to be the reality (Megehee, 2016). The dream of becoming the CEO of a multi-million company end up in shambles as reality starts to strike at teen-age thereabout. This is the time conflicts strike from all possible angles; personal conflicts, interpersonal conflicts and societal conflicts, just to mention a few. In the movie, Pleasantville, conflict has been brought about at many levels and people react to it divergently: some choose to conform to the conflict while others decide to pursue their own self desires.

In the movie, Pleasantville, the first conflict is brought about between David and his sister Jennifer. The film starts at a rather high note as the main character, David, is watching his favorite film and the actors are in Pleasantville. The daily life of the people in Pleasantville is somehow scripted as David could remember their daily conversations after having watched several episodes over and over. The sister, Jennifer, comes in and wants to watch another channel while David was anticipating for his favorite show. Everyone reached for the remote and it ended up in a struggle that resulted to the remote control being damaged. Almost immediately, the TV repairman came in and handed them a remote with which they would use, little did they know the mysteries of the new remote. After a press of the button, both David and Jennifer seem to have travelled through time and got trapped in 1950s in the city of Pleasantville. David’s personal desire was to watch the show while Jennifer’s was to go for a dater later on in the day. Anyway, they both chose to conform to their new reality (Mercadante, 2016).

In the film, the director brings in another conflict in Betty. Betty was the mother to David and Jennifer who adopted the names Bud and Mary Sue after travelling through time. Betty was so green in matters concerning sex and the pleasures it came with it. In fact, Betty and the husband, George, used to sleep in separate beds in the same bedroom. The daughter, Mary Sue, enlightened her and told her how good sex is and the only thing she could do was lament on how George could not do such things to her. Betty went ahead and tried masturbation in the bathroom and from the look of things, she had a great enjoyment. Betty in this case was in a conflict between conforming and pursuing personal desires (Harris, 2016). Since George was sexually distanced from her, she therefore decided to pursue her personal desires and she found Mr. Johnson who worked at a Soda shop as her perfect partner. The two had a mutual sexual affair and since it was pleasurable she moved out from her house.

George, on the other hand was a victim of circumstance. He finds himself in a rather unpleasant situation and has the options of conforming or pursuing his desires. George is the father and according to the unwritten rules of Pleasantville he was not supposed to do any household chores as Betty, the wife, was the one responsible for all the chores within the house. One day, George comes home only to find that the diner is not on the dining table as usual and what surprised him was the fact that Betty was not home. It was almost certain that everything was done in a specific manner following a specific sequence and it was not pleasurable for George. Betty came home later on, taught him how to operate the oven and how to prepare basic meals but this seemed totally out of place for him. He was very rigid. His desires was to have a wife who would do all those chores and his was only to go to work in the morning and get back home in the evening, but this proved rather difficult as these roles may change too, the husband can stay home with the children while the wife goes to work and there is totally nothing wrong in that (Martino, 2014). George therefore decided to conform since his desires could not come to pass after the enlightenment of Betty.

The society at large too finds itself in a conflicting situation. To either adapt to the changes or hang on to their pleasant lifestyle. The society was trapped within the confines of a small town whose geography only revolved between the ‘Main Street’ and the ‘Elm Street’ the roads seemed to be going in an elliptical manner, when one exits one street, the other was the only other street to enter. The town saw no rain and there was nothing as dangerous as fire. Disappointments too were hard to come; all life was pleasant. After being enlightened, the people started having divergent ideologists that were very different from the norm. Nature too changed. The people saw rain for the first time.  In as much as they were perplexed by the onset of rain in their land, a few individuals could not wait the feel of the rain drops as they went out to play in the rain (Galisteo, 2014). They had conformed to the new surroundings. The fire fighters were in a very pleasant situation until they first heard of fire. Bud went to their station shouting “Fire! Fire!” but all they could do was staring blankly for the only dangerous situations they have handled was that with a cat stuck on top of a tree. Bud instead decided to shout “Cat! Cat!” and their response were positive. They unknowingly conformed to the new situation as they ended up putting out the fire.

The director of the film has portrayed the chairman of the chamber of commerce as one who is torn between his personal interests and conforming to the changes in his surroundings. The chairman of the chamber of commerce was forced to make a ruling for the whole town as of then the town had split into two distinct groups, those who were colored and the black and white. In a nutshell, the colored were the enlightened and had tasted the realities in life while those in black and white were the ones who were still green and stuck to their routine way of life; life without disappointments and frustrations (Harris, 2016). The chairman wanted people to get back to their pleasant routine life and he went even further, together with George, and made a code of conduct with which all the citizens were meant to live by. During the day of the ruling, both the colored and black and white people converged in the courtroom, Bud and Mr. Johnson were guilty for having painted using color on a wall in the town. To make matters worse, things were happening strangely and they needed a proper explanation. Bud, being smart, decided to engage him and exposed him to the circumstances that brought about the changes. Amidst the confrontation, the chairman too turned to be colored and when it dawned to him that turning of color was not externally induced but internally, he dashed out of the courtroom in disappointment (Harris, 2016). He therefore conformed to the changes.

In conclusion, the choice between pursuing personal desires and conforming, according to the film Pleasantville, was depicted in several ways as every individual and the society at large was forced to adapt to change despite the fact that almost everyone was reluctant at the first instant. In our modern day life, life as proved not to be the fantasies we have but what we work for. The effort put in an endeavor is what pays rather than daydreaming about the same. Therefore, all human ought to understand the fact that change is inevitable and in the conflict between pursuing personal desires and conforming, one needs to weigh both options and figure out which one suites best.

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