Dualism In Zoot Suit

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Zoot Suit’s use of duality and politicization of characters and ideologies is a key component of the Sleepy Lagoon murder and the disempowerment of Mexican Americans in the 1940s, which lead to the rise of the Chicano movement. Through the two main characters that the audience see political matters highlighted and duality of humanity. Henry Reyna and El Pachuco are granted three dimensional personalities in Zoot Suit through writing techniques and artistic aspects, which serve to represent the disempowerment of the Mexican American community in the 1940s. On a most basic level, Henry represents the common archetype of the ‘nice guy’. He loves his mother, he’s planning to join the army, he seems to be able to date whoever he wants but chooses to have a sweet but equally simple girlfriend. The audience, at the beginning of the film, feels a generic brand of compassion for Henry, the kind one feels when a character and their struggles are simplified. The archetype of the average nice guy is one that is generally only written for white male characters in American media. The audience sees Henry’s love for his mother from the beginning, in the scene when he gives her extra money he’s made in order to cover expenses. In that same scene, Henry’s father mentions Henry’s desire to join the army. This is immediately followed by Henry’s parents forgetting who he is taking to the dance, the implication being that he has the ability to date nearly any girl in his school and that he

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