Sling Blade Essay

1558 Words 7 Pages
Sling Blade

Film directed by and screen play by Billy Bob Thornton.


Sling Blade’s main theme is the redemption of Karl’s lost childhood. Karl Childer’s overly religious parents believed he was a punishment from God. They severely abused him, treated him like an animal, and forced him to live in a shed in solitude. Everyone in town picked on him and called him names. He was seen as a “retard” or slower than others. He had little to call his own. His only possessions were a Bible and several books on Christmas and carpentry. Karl was taught the Bible as a child, but it wasn’t really the Bible. The stories they told him were not in the Bible. His parents had made up their own stories and had led him astray on the rights and wrongs
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     Through a deadly crime, Karl freed his young friend from a life of pain and despair, only to end up back where he began at the “nut house”. The choice of right or wrong seemed to make good and evil equal.

     The main point of Sling Blade was to convey the message that sometimes wrong can be right. Symbolically, killing with the switchblade represents for cutting away the troubles that get in the way. Sling Blade was a subjective film. It seduces the audience to emphasize with Frank and Karl and think the way the director wants.      


     The first element I found that supported the theme was the script. The actors’ dialogues shaped the characters’ roles. Karl adopted a new dialect. He picked up a backwoods, disturbed, monotone, punctuated by a throaty “um-hmmm”. Karl’s dialogue showed that he spoke in a simple way. He avoided complicated, fancy language. He spoke like a child, slow and easy, while the others in the movie indicated more education through their speaking. Karl explained the way he was treated as a child, his love for Frank, and his fear of Doyle. His moments of silence revealed his reflection, his caged up behavior, and his childlike manner. Karl’s words shaped him as gentle and to the point. Karl told Frank’s mamma she’s good for Frank. He let people know their worth. At the end Karl stated, “the world was too big”. He

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