Analysis Of Jim Stark In Rebel Without A Cause

Great Essays
The advent of the 1950s ‘bad boy’ image is one that has been cultivated and adapted throughout the years to suit each generation’s ideals. Whether the bad boy be played by an actor, or be a person who’s identity is solely based in the real world, the characteristics are nearly identical. The classic ‘bad boy’ character has a mysterious past—or can be from the wrong side of the tracks—rebels against authority, usually smokes, and ultimately has a heart of gold. The generally female character always falls for the act and believes that he can change; she’ll be the one to change him with her never wavering love. James Dean’s character of Jim Stark in Rebel Without A Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955) is an early prototypical version of what was believed …show more content…
“You’re tearing me apart.” He shouts to his father in one of the many powerful scenes between the two. At the time this film was made and released, having a strong father figure was a trope that studios and writers were playing with as much as possible. Usually, it would be that the mother of the household would be the more submissive character, which is eventually seen to be the case in Judy’s home. At many different points in the story, Jim has confrontations with his parents. From the first scene the three argue over the reasoning for their moving to the new town they lived in for a mysterious reason that isn’t completely revealed at all in the story. The source of this tensions appears to be Carol’s constant need for her son to behave, and for them to be the perfect family to anyone looking on from the outside. So, with the mysterious past part out of the way, it is almost shocking that Jim actually comes from a middleclass family. Jim smokes though, and that is an instant sign that he doesn’t always follow the rules, and is bound to be a jerk that rebels at every given chance. This is what the audience is lead to believe anyway. All of those thoughts and ideas are dashed away as soon as Jim sees Judy in the morning before school, and starts jumping to see her over the gate. Instead, Judy is the one who is standoffish, preferring her obnoxious and doomed boyfriend over the …show more content…
Leaving out the fact that Jailhouse Rock is clearly a musically based story, the two main characters are wildly different in their conception and realization on screen. Jim Stark is seemingly regretful for all of the events that take place in the run of his storyline in Rebel without a Cause. Even though Buzz’s death was not directly his fault, he still felt the need to take responsibility for what happened, and is determined to speak to an unwilling police officer about the incident. Jim attempts to be a friend and role model to Plato, who needs him more than anyone. In the end, Jim wants to be the pillar of strength that neither boy had from their own father’s at the time, and to show his own father that being strong, and being a ‘real man’ is easier than he thinks. Vince Everett from the beginning tries to put on a somewhat innocent face. Being put up against the surprisingly strong character of Peggy, of course meant that any of his previous characterization had to be thrown out the window, or immediately exaggerated. Unlike with Jim Stark, who has done nothing for which he needs to be redeemed, but is anyway, Vince Everett’s character isn’t given the closure it deserves. Whether the accident that could have taken away his livelihood changes who is has become as a person, is unclear even when the film fades to black. With one character unnecessarily

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