REPRESENTATION OF TEENAGERS In reference to situational and cultural context in the movie Blackboard Jungle, account for the films representation of teenagers as impertinent, rebellious and violent. By : Liam Page BY THE END OF THIS LESSON YOU WILL Understand the way teenagers are represented in Blackboard Jungle Understand how the director achieves this Understand why situational and cultural context play such a big role in the film Have a useful completed handout that will be able to be used for revision
THESIS: Impertinent, rebellious and violent behaviour of teens seen in Blackboard Jungle can be accounted for through the use of clever of shot choice, plot line and keeping in line with the context of the time. BRIEF PLOT SYNOPSIS BRIEF PLOT SYNOPSIS (INTRO)
As Richard Dadier, a soft-spoken ex-serviceman, accepts his first teaching job in a tough New York City high school, he asks his new principal, Mr. Warnecke, about the school's discipline problem and is assured that at North Manual High, "there is no discipline problem." The other teachers, particularly the cynical Jim Murdock, who calls the allmale school a "garbage can" and cautions Dadier not to turn his back on the students, do not lessen his anxiety. That evening, Dadier celebrates his new job with his wife Anne, who, although deeply in love with her husband, worries not only that her pregnancy will make her unattractive to him, but that she will miscarry as she had once before. Dadier's first day teaching English is discouraging. The pupils, mostly
lower-class juvenile delinquents, ignore his requests and call him "DaddyO," and when he asks Gregory W. Miller, a bright but alienated black student, to use his leadership abilities to promote cooperation in the classroom, the young man just shakes his head. That afternoon, Lois Judby Hammond, another new teacher who seems attracted to Dadier, is nearly raped by one of the students. Dadier severely beats the boy, and the next day, the students greet him with threatening glares and angry silence. After work, Dadier accompanies Joshua Y. Edwards, a new math teacher who passionately loves jazz and swing, to a bar, where they have a drink too many and bemoan the students' hostility. While cutting through an alley to the bus stop, both teachers are beaten by Dadier's student Artie West and his gang of hoodlums. Anne urges Dadier to leave the school, but he declares, "I've been
beaten up, but I'm not beaten." BRIEF PLOT SYNOPSIS (MIDDLE) While recuperating, Dadier visits his former professor, who assures him that students do want to learn, but that urban schools need more instructors who care. Dadier returns to school, and when the police question him, he refuses to identify his attackers. In class, Artie calls fellow student Pete Morales a "spic," whereupon Dadier remarks that calling one another names, like "spic, mick, and nigger," can lead to big trouble. Later the principal, acting on a confidential student complaint, accuses Dadier of bigotry, but Dadier angrily defends himself.
Warnecke finally apologizes and puts Dadier in charge of the Christmas play. Soon afterward, West destroys Josh's prized record collection while his class looks on, leading the discouraged math teacher to resign. Meanwhile, Anne begins receiving anonymous letters and phone calls accusing her husband of infidelity. Unaware of Anne's growing suspicion, Dadier concentrates on his students. He convinces Miller and his singing group to perform their version of "Go Down, Moses" in the Christmas play, and he stimulates an animated class discussion by showing a "Jack and the Beanstalk" cartoon in class. Summarizing the discussion, Dadier encourages the young men to consider the real meaning of what they hear and to think for themselves. BRIEF PLOT
SYNOPSIS (END) Miller later tells Dadier that because black people have limited options, he will drop out of school at term's end, but Dadier maintains that blacks can succeed in the modern world and that some teachers do care. At Christmas, Anne, tormented by the letters, gives birth prematurely, and when Dadier learns what has happened, he assumes the students are responsible for the letters and decides to resign. Defeated, Dadier bemoans that, after everything teachers must endure, they earn less even than cooks. Murdock, cured of his cynicism by Dadier's dedication, and Anne, admitting that she should not have doubted her husband, encourage Dadier to remain, and he does take heart when the doctor says his baby son is out of danger. Back at school, Dadier orders West to see the principal when the gang leader flagrantly cheats in class. West threatens him with a knife,
ordering the other gang members to jump the teacher. To West's surprise, only Belazi obeys his orders. Following a scuffle, Dadier accuses West of having sent the anonymous letters and then drags him and Belazi to Warnecke's office. Later that day, Miller, having heard that Dadier plans to quit, promises to remain in school if Dadier will do the same. SUPER BRIEF PLOT SYNOPSIS Teenagers are rowdy the whole movie SORT OF SHORT BUT STILL LENGTHY BRIEF PLOT SYNOPSIS 2 #
T P M E T T A Intro At Richard Dadiers new job he is reassured there is no discipline problem after hearing that the school is a garbage can Dadier celebrates his new job with his wife, while se worries that her pregnancy is unattractive On the first day Dadier gets the nickname Daddy-o, Children are rowdy and Miller refuses to be roll model Dadier severely beats up teen who try's to rape a female teacher, (who also has the hots for Dadier)
Middle Dadier and a new math teacher get beaten up by some hoodlums Dadier states I've been beaten up, but I have not been beated Dadiers former professor states that students want to learn, but more teachers are needed that care Dadier refuses to identify the students that beat him up to the police Some kid gets called a spic Dadier gets the blame for using offensive language, and defending himself he gets put in charge of the Christmas play West destroys the new math teachers record collection, and then he resigns Unaware Dadiers wife is receiving anonymous letters saying Dadier is cheating. Middle Dadier and a new math teacher get beaten up by some hoodlums Dadier states I've been beaten up, but I have not been beated Dadiers former professor states that students want to learn, but more teachers are needed that
care Dadier refuses to identify the students that beat him up to the police Some kid gets called a spic Dadier gets the blame for using offensive language, and defending himself he gets put in charge of the Christmas play West destroys the new math teachers record collection, and then he resigns Unaware Dadiers wife is receiving anonymous letters saying Dadier is cheating. End Dadier gets Miller to perform at the Christmas play, after stimulating a class discussion about the movie Jack and the Beanstalk Dadier encourages the students to think for themselves and look for the real meaning in what they hear Miller explains that black people have limited options and will be dropping out at terms end Anne (Dadiers wife) gives birth prematurely after being tormented by the letters Dadier whinges about being a teacher after finding the letters, he plans to quit Dadier orders west to the principle after being caught cheating, west pull threatens Dadier with a knife, west thinks his friends will back him up but only one joins in.
Miller promises to not leave school if Dadier does not quit. Richard Dadier is a dedicated teacher whose idealism fades under the tensions that rip his classroom apart. There is no previous mention of where he is from or where he worked before but his implanted values of giving all races and equal chance suggests he grew up in the now. He is seemed unknowledgeable to his fellow teachers at the beginning of the film, but near the end of the film after connecting with
his students and stimulating RICHARD discussion the teachers have much respect for him. Dadier DADIER Artie West is a not so typical student at North Manual High School, with his initial appearance in the film we can identify the type of student he is. First seen in the film with a friend smoking, he wolf whistles the Richard Dadier on his first entrance. This could suggest, West is looking at Dadier as new
prey or in reality context, someone to pick on. In the film it is hinted that West ARTIE is involvedWEST in gang activity after being seen in a jacket with Xs marked on the back. GREGORY W. MILLER Gregory W. Miller is in an interesting character in the film with him being the so called leader of the class. Dadier confronts Miller after the first lesson saying that he could use this too his advantage. Miller plans to leave school at the end
of the year because there is limited options . By the end of the film Miller promises to stay if Dadier stays because Dadier cares. From the film we also know that Miller has a part time job in an auto repair shop. The Belenzi Not much is known about Belenzi as the movie does not strictly say any specifics, but we can see through all the class scenes and the hijacking scene that he is close with West. Also not to mention being in the same gang. Emanuel Trades
This character is first seen with Miller in the bathroom caught smoking. He is seen to be Millers right hand man throughout the movie. Santini Referred to as the idiot boy by Miller. Is claimed to be smiling all the time. Pete Morales He is called spic by West and is the
student volunteered for speaking into the voice recorder. He is quite a load character in the classroom, with him being one of the first students who called Dadier, Dadd-O. SITUATIONAL CONTEXT Refers to the immediate circumstances surrounding a text, and or the events surrounding the time period that the text was based
in, these can include : The occasion for which the text is produced The audience for whom the text is produced, such as their age, their gender, social class, experiences and values The political or social climate in which the text is produced, like current events and the general mood in the economy Being set in New York in 1954 the effects of World war 11 were still present. With more opportunities like higher paying jobs and more teens working outside of school, this lead to teens being quite wealthy compared to the war era.
SITUATIONAL CONTEXT OF BL ACKBOARD JUNGLE With the extra cash teens were able to afford cars and hot rods without the help of their parents. Alongside having more money teens coming out of war has more free time and a lot more freedom. Thus bringing a new breed of hoodlums and a variety of new dances. Movie producers started to catch onto the teens new found wealth of time and money, and started procuring movies with the central audience being teens. Cinema played a big role in teen culture. It was a place to hang out with friends and get news. Funnily enough many of the top movies back then are still relevant now. Films like The Wild One and Rebel Without a Cause. Teenagers were clearly hungry for such films, which seemed to mirror
their feelings of angst and alienation. WHAT WOULD BE THE SITUATIONAL CONTEXT OF YOUR LIFE? CULTURAL CONTEXT Cultural Context also often called looks at the society the characters are in and at how their culture can affect their behaviour and their opportunities. Think about the values and attitudes on the people in the time and place that the text is set in.
It was only until the 40s that the term teenager was a household word. So by the mid 50s all different industries ranging from fashion to movie had started catering for the needs and wants of the new teen culture. CULTURAL CONTEXT OF BL ACKBOARD JUNGLE Following the war the fashion industry were allowed access to a bunch of new fabrics, along with new found expression through clothes meaning stronger colours, more money spend on clothes and more hair wax. The economic prosperity that followed the war changed the way teens socialized. Having move money boys had more money to spend on girls, cars and
themselves. With a set of wheels at their disposal and plenty of pocket money, kids had both mobility and economic independence to do what they pleased. Teens also shifted their focus away from their parents and towards their peers. Often doing things that would confuse and make their parents worried. WHAT WOULD BE THE CULTURAL CONTEXT OF YOUR LIFE? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x53MiglduxY Knife Scene DELINQUENCY IN BL ACKBOARD JUNGLE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VrqK75xzS0 Your in my class room now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eostKsL7210 Attempted Rape ATTEMPTED RAPE - - This scene involving the most rebellious behaviour belongs first, at this point it exceeds rebellion and turns into sickening behaviour. The provoking action for this event was Miss. Hammond to be wearing a proactive dress, thus supporting the theories that associate crime with high levels of testosterone. (Kevin E. McCarthy) This study will be looked at next. The writer/director Brooks seemed to emphasize rational choice theory, in this instance it was optimistic behaviour. It is suggested that the student had made rational yet unwise decisions. The student trying to fight back and run from Dadier also backs this up, as he knows exactly what he has done
wrong and reveals a sickening side to the teens in Blackboard Jungle. HIJACKING SCENE - Also mentioned before was the theory that teens make rational decisions on how they act, shows up in this seen where the youths had planned out a hijacking fully knowing the consequences. Proceeding this West explains to Dadier his explanation of delinquency, In a quick summary hey states that if he serves in the military he will get his head blown off, if he takes the year in jail for the crime committed they will not want West in the military, so what he gets is out. Suggesting that it was a clever way of escaping the military drafting that was going on at the time. This showing the growing demand for freedom that the teens desire. - This scene shows the well thought out and also quite rebellious nature of West. KNIFE SCENE - -
This scene is very interesting in that it is the turning point for the movie we see some of Wests club not help in the knife fight. We also see Miller and his group of friends help out Dadier, by preventing Belenzi from attacking Dadier from behind. Certain Teens in this scene are obviously seen as disrespectful and rebellious. Mainly being West and Belenzi and the tables turn for the other students showing the good side to them. The straight disrespect is seen from the start with West stating you gonna take me Daddy-O and Howd you like to go to hell Another interesting point shown in the first section of the clip would be West and Miller are sitting at the same height and eyelevel to Dadier but all the other students in the clip are siting lower and looking up at Dadier. REPRESENTATION OF TEENS Throughout the film we are portrayed the fact that the teens in the film are all rebellious and violent, this shown through Character positioning, plot line, dialogue and keeping inline of the situational and cultural context of the
times. Teens being represented as rebellious is obviously not uncommon in this film with the majority of it being based about violent behaviour. Instances like the rape scene shows the sickening thought processes and behaviour of the teens attending North Manual Trades School. The sight of slang in Blackboard Jungle is few and far between but we get a glimpse with Miller stating Hes crazy, hes high, hes floatin on Sneaky Pete wine, to Dadier. The quote is just saying that West is drunk on cheap wine, and estimating the age of the students being around 16 or 17
Although close is still far off the legal drinking age in 1955 being 18. This being a an act of rebellion, although not being super serious. Showing up to class drunk does show something about the culture of teens those days. It is not only Blackboard Jungle where teens are problematic, many scenes in Rebel Without a Cause and Gidget also focusing on the nature of the rebellious teens in the Golden Age period. Rebel without a cause opposing Blackboard
Jungles setting, being mainly set in the households of middleclass familys. With this change of setting and a whole economic level we can still see similar issues. These issues being Jim getting into a knife fight on his first day of school or playing a game where the last Gidget is on the other end of the spectrum being a family with more wealth and the severity of the rebellion lessened. In Gidget we see young girl rebelling from the stereotypical ways of a
teenaged girl. Finding enjoyment out of surfing with the beach bums. This is also the first time we get a glimpse at teen girls voice. One noticeable trend is that as we go up the economic hierarchy the rebellion and violent behaviour decreases. LESSON OUTCOMES v e R d
e t i is In reference to situational and cultural context in the movie Blackboard Jungle, account for the films representation of teenagers as impertinent, rebellious and violent. Understand the way teenagers are represented in Blackboard Jungle Understand how the director achieves this Understand why situational and cultural context play such a big role in the film Have a useful completed handout that will be able to be used for revision
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