American Beauty - Theme Essay

1587 WordsSep 21, 20067 Pages
The theme of beauty, and specifically American beauty, emerges through all of the main characters in the movie. The American Beauty could be the sultry teen Angela, the epitome of blonde American sex appeal. Carolyn's obsessive tending her rose garden is a pervasive and double-sided symbol of beauty, as her flowers are a thin cover for the ugliness in her life. Perhaps the greatest messenger of beauty in the film is Ricky Fitts, the eccentric pot-smoking teenager who through his camera lens perceives beauty everywhere he looks, so much beauty that he feels his "heart is going to cave in." Regardless, beauty is found everywhere in this film and is portrayed by various characters, symbols, and scenes." Lester and Carolyn are bonds that no…show more content…
He begins exercising for a more youthful body. He sells his new car for a 1970 Pontiac Firebird. He buys a remote control toy car. He begins listening to music he has forgotten long ago, music from the 1970's. He decorates the garage in early 1970's décor and starts smoking marijuana. And he quits his responsible job for the one he held as a teenager: a fast-food fry cook. [..] It can be argued that this regressive state is spurned on and modeled after the influence of the Burnham's new eighteen-year-old neighbor, Ricky Fitts; a boy that becomes a parallel character, Lester's figurative "hero", and the one that give Lester a taste of his adolescence through marijuana. We see this overtly when Ricky quits his job in front of Lester and Lester admits that he "just became my personal hero". Also, a bit later in the film, Lester talks nostalgically with Ricky as he describes his life as an eighteen-year-old: "When I was your age, I flipped burgers all summer just to be able to buy an eight-track. . .. it was great. All I did was party and get laid. . . . I had my whole life ahead of me." They have been fooled into thinking that the American Dream involves materialism and status, and that these things will provide joy. Carolyn struggles mightily to seem -- and to try to make herself be -- joyful, cheerful, even giddy. Since this is so utterly false, and requires so much energy to do, when she is alone, she often gives way to tears, frustration,
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