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Symbolism Behind Fear and Foresight

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Symbolism Behind Fear and Foresight

Society in the twenty-first century states that kids should be proud of their differences, and that conforming to the norm is a way to be lost amongst the majority. Everyone is created differently, and we all react to different situations in our own manner based on our ideals taught to us as a child. These choices define who we are, and show how we are different among the masses. What separates the strong from the weak is our ability to make life altering choices that pursue our foresight rather than letting our fear of being different stop us from what we want to achieve. We as humans must maintain our ideals to pursue our foresight. Dr. Strangelove is a satirical Cold War film directed by Stanley Kubrick that focuses on how people react independently to situations based on “fight or flight”. He creates elaborate connections between symbolism and the strength in characters. During the film there are a couple characters that are able to accept being different and are able to pursue their foresight. General Buck Turgidson takes on the flight tactic for self preservation, while General Jack D. Ripper, for example, is able to hone in on fear and use it to his advantage. When these characters are faced with life altering decisions, they disregard what the general consensus is to pursue what he believes to be right.

What separates man from animal is our ability to make decisions based on our emotions rather than intuition. “You will always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear,” Sammy Davis, Jr. Everyone has some sort of internal fear inside of them whether that is fearing failure, rejection, loss etc.. we all as humans fear something and that is our nature. What separates the strong from the weak in our society is the ability to be able to use fear as a weapon. This is is evident between two characters in Dr. Strangelove, General Buck Turgidson and Jack D. Ripper. General Buck Turgidson is an exaggerated character who is known by his goofy tactics and his absurdity but what is misunderstood is the weakness behind the character. While the meeting in the war room is called to order Turgidson is quite anxious with the whole ordeal between his anxious responses to most importantly his chewing gum. These actions are purely based on his fear of his self preservation even stating that “20 million people killed,” is better than “150 million people killed”. He is willing to put the lives of 20 million people in the grave in order to save himself. During moments where he is faced with life altering decisions he tends to resort to his chewing gum, a sort of relief, to calm his nerves during certain situations. This is not a bad thing but it drives temporary comfort into the character letting his ideals slip away from him. Turgidson values his relations with his secretary but during the war room scene, when he has a piece of gum in his mouth, he pushes her off and explains how he can not talk to her during that instant. This reveals to the audience that he has begun losing his ideals. Inevitably leading to him providing absurd tactics on how to “fix” the problem. However his idea of a solution is based on the fear of his own self preservation rather than his foresight which is fueled by his beliefs and values.

Contrary to Turgidson, Jack D. Ripper is a strong, confident and courageous man who is oftenly faced with life altering choices that would evoke fear into any being. Throughout the film fear does not radiate off of the god like figure, and pure control is generally demonstrated. However, once we further our knowledge of the character who is a communist hating, right wing sociopath who does not trust others it reveals that he is very cautious around his “precious bodily fluids”. He fears that the communists will “sap and impurify” his bodily fluids along with the rest of the worlds. Ripper does not fear many things and through camera angles and his cigar shows that he sees himself as above the rest of the world but at this moment it reveals what Jack D. Ripper fears, the communists. He fears “communist infiltration, communist indoctrination and communist subversion”. What differs Ripper from Turgison is his response to fear. Jack can “no



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