Symbolism in Gran Torino Essay

874 Words Apr 13th, 2014 4 Pages
Like most good movies, Gran Torino contains a lot of symbolism throughout its story. Some symbols are obvious and some are easily missed if a person isn’t looking for them. Among the various symbols there are three that deserve extra recognition. They truly help to tell the story and fall perfectly in line with the movie’s underlying themes of life, relationships, and death. The first and most obvious is the Gran Torino, the car itself, representing the theme of life; the second is the refrigerator that Walt is moving out of his basement, less obvious but representative of a real turning point in the relationship between Walt and Thao, enhancing the theme of relationships; the third symbol, tying in with the theme of death, is the …show more content…
Finally, at the end of the movie when Walt wills the vehicle to Thao, the Gran Torino comes to represent Walt himself. Thao will likely never be able to drive that car without thinking of Walt and everything the man did for him. The scene involving the refrigerator may be short, but it carries a lot of power in explaining the evolution of the relationship between Walt and Thao. Their initial association was forced and not welcomed by either side. As Walt watched Thao complete all of the neighborhood chores that he assigned, his attitude toward the boy slowly started to soften. Walt offers to sell the fridge to Thao for $25 as opposed to the $60 he was planning to advertise. This is the point where it becomes evident that Walt actually views Thao as a friend. This scene also shows that Walt’s “man training” is working. The personal transition that Thao is making is evident when he takes a stand and argues with Walt, insisting to lift the heavier top side when he helps Walt move the refrigerator out of the basement. It’s amazing how much a kitchen appliance can contribute to the story. The final symbol lasts no more than a few seconds but carries an immense meaning with it. In the final conflict with the gang, the viewers expect to see a heroic gun battle with Walt eliminating the entire gang. Instead what they observe is Walt managing to draw the fire of all of the gang members with no intent of ever fighting back. After being

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