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Taxi Driver Masculinity Theory Analysis

746 words - 3 pages

Taxi Driver Masculinity Theory analysis

Released in 1976, the screenplay is set in a post-Vietnam War America. Robert DiNiro, the main character in the movie by the name of Travis Bickle, claims to be an ex marine and a Vietnam War veteran who drives a taxi at night in NYC. In his screenplay, the Taxi Driver, Martin Scoses suggests Travis Bickle a main character who undertakes the role of a cowboy, to be someone who embodies the masculine and violent traits in pre counter culture America, but also someone who represents elements of western mythology. In order to support his argument Scoses uses Travis need to fulfill his masculine cowboy persona, by making him the hero of his own life.

Travis unclearness with what his country has become requires him to construct a masculine cowboy persona for himself and become societies savior in order to survive. Similar to a gunman riding alone in a corrupt town seeking justice, Travis sees himself as this person needing to “clean up” the downfallen city of New York. After his death in the end of the movie, newspaper headlines “A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is a man who stood up.” The idea Travis has about masculinity is outdated and rather psychotic as he literally buys into this idea of western mythology of masculinity by mimicking cowboy figures like Doc Holliday. He wears cowboy boots and even rehearses cowboy like poses in his mirror. His need to “protect” Betsy as well as help Iris an underage girl out of prostitution clearly demonstrates once again his need to fulfill his “western cowboy” figure. In the scene where his desire to help Iris is shown, Travis says to Iris, “You're a young girl, you should be at home. You should be dressed up, going out with boys, going to school, you know, that kind of stuff.” Similar to the paradigm about the sturdy oak, exclaiming about a man who is able to be there for him and others when they call for help, he sees himself as this person, this “western cowboy” with guns and knives symbolizing his masculinity. Therefore, his treatment for women is clearly represented in...

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