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美国作业代写:Social Class Conflict in Screwball Comedies

2017-06-08 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Paper范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的paper代写范文- Social Class Conflict in Screwball Comedies,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了神经喜剧。神经喜剧,一个诞生于二十世纪三十年代的独特流派,盛行于大萧条时期,所有的神经喜剧出现在那个时候似乎是一个强大的社会阶级批判。对社会阶级的批判可以显示人们急于摆脱社会的状况人们希望摆脱这个不愉快的社会。

Screwball Comedies,神经喜剧,assignment代写,paper代写,美国作业代写


Screwball Comedy, a unique genre established during the early 1930s, prevails during the period of the Great Depression and all the Screwball comedies appear at that time seem to be with a strong social class critique. The critique toward the social class can show people’s eagerness to get them rid of the social condition then and people would like to escape from that unpleasant society. As a result, the films at that time, mostly Screwball comedies, accordingly instill such critique within so as to express the discontentment of the film makers, directors and some other personnel like that. As for the Screwball comedies, “the writer played almost as great a role in shaping a film as its director” (Mast, 19). The screwball world-view assumes that people have to experience the struggle between economic classes, which will be elaborated on in the below. During the process of illustration, the examples of nine Screwball comedies will be taken as evidence and they are respectively “The Awful Truth”, “The Lady Eve”, “My Favorite Wife”, “Bringing Up Baby”, “Love Crazy”, “The Palm Beach Story”, “His Girl Friday”, “It Happened One Night” and “The Thin Man”. It is hoped that this analysis can help people know more about Screwball comedies so that they can understand the films better while appreciating.

Social Class Conflict in Screwball Comedies

First and foremost comes the social class conflict in “It Happened One Night”. To put it more specifically, the reporter Peter Warne and the society aviator King Westley are actually two men that have both undergone the struggle between economic classes in this film. On the one hand, Peter Warne is out of work so that he is in urgent need of a story, leading to his taking advantage of Ellie as the subject of a really juicy newspaper story. And on the other hand, King Westley chooses to tie the knot with Ellie simply because of her money and it has nothing to do with love. But what is different is that Ellie Andrews is a spoiled and wayward heiress whose father is a billionaire and she makes up her decision to run away from her family when her father rejects her engagement with King Westley. From this, we can find that both these men are put in a lower social class when compared with that of Ellie Andrews. Or maybe it can be stated in another way that the upper class seems to be depicted as idle and pampered and it is difficult for them to cope with the real world. Taking Ellie as an example, she is unable to live independently herself when she is deprived of the help from her family, resulting in her money and clothes’ being robbed on the way when she is whisked away to her father’s yacht in order to search for her husband toward New York. However, what is a pity to say is that when people from lower class are able to pass themselves off to become upper-class, then they will do the same as upper-class people with relative ease. In these works, directors create an appealing mirror-world which implies “difference, a sense of apartness from the ordinary, everyday, social world” (Leach, 79), from which we can also indicate that there are the differences in social class among people at that time.

With the social class conflict in “It Happened One Night” being mentioned at length in the above, what follows is the social class conflict in “The Lady Eve”. In this film, Jean Harrington together with other con artists, namely her circle, is the ones that have to suffer from the struggle between economic classes. The group of con artists mainly includes her dad Harry, sidekick Gerald as well as Sir Alfred Alfred McGlennan Keith. So it can be easily imagined that all these people have to try all kinds of possible ways in order to make a living, leading to their targeting the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money. However, what is different is that Charles Pike, rich but unsophisticated, is heir to the Pike Ale fortune and he is really with a large sum of money to deal with at hand. The same as Ellie Andrews in “It Happened One Night”, Charles is as well one that is idle and pampered so that he chooses to unceremoniously dump Jean when he discovers that she is one part of a con racket. Charles deems that he is different from Jean, which can be seen from what he has said that “Don't be vulgar, Jean. Let us be crooked, but never common”. While breaking up with Jean, he says cruel parting words toward her and Jean tells him that “The best [girls] aren't as good as you think they are and the bad ones aren't as bad. Not nearly as bad.”. Out of being hurt by Charlie, Jean is determined to take revenge on him and she begins to disguised herself as the Lady Eve Sidwich. When Jean becomes Eve, she just acts the same as other upper-class people and she seems to have many suitors though she appears to be ‘good-girl’ persona on the surface. As a result, Charlie has no choice but to suffer from a short and disastrous marriage to Eve. But that real ‘bad-girl’ con-artist Jean is also with various virtues, like a soft heart, a true love for Charlie and so on. So the fact that lower-class people will do the same as upper-class people to become idle and pampered when they can really make it possible to become upper-class in the due time can be well supported from the personal example of Jean’s changing to Eve. Jean’s behavior shows that she “appeared eager to abandon all social restraints on their behavior by taking to heart the idea that equality meant enjoying the pleasures customarily reserved for men” (Parrish, 147).

When it comes to the social class conflict in “The Thin Man”, what is a must to mention is that there is class difference between the former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora. Therefore Nick is the one that has to suffer from the struggle between economic classes in this film. Moreover, most of Nick’s old cronies in New York are from the same class as Nick and several of them are eccentric characters. According to this, people from the same class are likely to mingle with others that are from the same class as them and they tend to understand one another better. And what is different is that his wife Nora is one from the upper class and she does not understand the uneasiness of life of those from the lower class. Just take her investigating the murder case of Dorothy Wynant’s step-mother as an example, the rationale why she chooses to involve herself in the murder case lies in that she holds that it is exciting enough to bring her much fun. But as a matter of fact, the murder should be regarded as something solemn and respectful so that it should be carefully treated. Also, the death of the victim will bring sorrow toward his/her family members and the result of the murder case will directly influence the life of the suspect, which further indicates that the murder case should be laid high emphasis on. What is unexpected is that Nora just takes it as one kind of fun and her being idle and pampered can be well suggested.

And then comes the social class conflict in “His Girl Friday”. In this film, Hildy Johnson is the specific one that has to experience the struggle between economic classes in that her husband is actually her boss Walter Burns. So a fair knowledge can be obtained that there is class difference between Hildy Johnson and her husband Walter Burns. Or maybe it can be put in another way that Walter can be seen as one of the upper-class people and he has the characteristics of upper-class people, to try all kinds of possible means to prevent his wife from leaving him and remarrying to the insurance agent Bruce Baldwin. From this, a fair knowledge can be obtained that Walter would like all the things can happen toward his desired way and he seems to have a strong sense of controlling. For one part, Walter does not want to lose Hildy as a star reporter and for another he is unwilling to lose her as a wife. “The decision transforms the whole character of the film, in more ways than may at first be obvious” (Hawks, 244), which indicates that Walter’s decision has changed a lot toward both his own life and that of Hildy. Therefore Walter spares no effort to delay the trip of Bruce and Hildy, long enough to persuade Hildy to stay for good and not leave him at last. From the personal example of Walter, it can be easily found that he has presented the common feature of people from upper class while Hildy and Bruce tend to be the typical ones that are from the lower class.

Furthermore, the social class conflict in “Bringing Up Baby” will continue. Concerning the characters in this film, David Huxley, a befuddled and mild mannered zoology, is the one that has to undergo the struggle between economic classes because he has to secure a donation at $1 million for the museum as a paleontologist. Therefore he has to leave a good impression on the wealthy dowager Mrs. Carleton Random who is right the one that will give the $1 million endowment toward the museum. But what is unexpected is that the appearance of Susan Vance, a flighty and often irritating heiress with a pet leopard called Baby, has ruined all David wants and Susan has disrupted his plan to a large extent. There is no doubt that David would like Susan to go away eagerly so that he can act toward what he has planned. David is so helpless that he cries in a distressed voice: “How can all these things happen to just one person?”, which indicates that he is really a passive victim. Another similar scene is that when facing query from his fiancée, helplessly he says “Just name anything and I’ve done it!” But the fact is that flighty and irritating as Susan is, she turns not to want or be able to leave David, which can indicate the characteristics of people from the upper class to some degree. Or maybe it can be stated in another way that Susan won’t understand how important that $1 million donation will be toward David in that she has never been in badly need of money as him in her life. Also, the personalities of David’s being befuddled and mild mannered and Susan’ being flighty and irritating can well suggest the critique toward the social class. And it is due to Susan that Miss Swallow says to David that there will not be a honeymoon by emphasizing “Our marriage will be based purely on our dedication to your work.” Mast even argues radically that Miss Swallow “is the ultimate attainment of a life yearning for death” (Mast, 298). From this, a fair knowledge can be easily obtained that David is from a different class when compared with that of Susan Vance and her aunt Elisabeth. Susan and Elisabeth denied “the notion that men and women had inherently different natures” (Parrish, 147).

So we can say that the film “Bringing Up Baby” is really a good example of man’s being placed in an economic class that is much further down that of the woman in the society. And the sentence said by Susan that “He’s the man I’m going to marry. He doesn’t know it, but I am.” can clearly indicate the higher social class of Susan than David, which is just as what has been summarized as “sex-antagonism” by Leach. In his article, he formulates it as “the sexual warfare" involving "a struggle for dominance, usually with the woman asserting an authority which society denies her” (77). He continues by pointing out that “male is sorely tried by frustration and humiliation caused by the female and the sexual conflict often develops into a confusion of sexual roles” (77). From this, we can say that man’s not only being placed in an inferior place in the sexual warfare but also in the economic class.

Besides, the film “The Palm Beach Story” is another Screwball comedy that has illustrated the critique toward the social class. As for this film, the inventor Tom Jeffers and his wife Gerry Jeffers are the ones that have to go through the struggle between economic classes and they find their married life difficult. The detailed case is that for one part, Tom has a job that can not be able to help him support his family and he has little money to make a living, leading to his being posed the threat of being thrown out of the apartment. For another, Gerry decides to help her husband to develop his big idea by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire Wienie King even if she still loves her husband. It can be easily imagined how much Gerry has to sacrifice by making up her decision to divorce her husband who she still loves but marry to another man who she does not love at all, which can also indicate the uneasiness of the life for people from lower class at that time. Therefore it is not hard to discover that the millionaire Wienie King is actually one that is from the upper class so that he can easily help solve the living problems of Tom and Gerry and he can smoothly split the couple by giving money. The behavior of Wienie’s giving money to Gerry in order to split the couple shows that he does not know what true love is and he deems that love can be bought by money. Based on this, it can be readily predicted that Wienie has the characteristics of people from the upper class of being pampered to a certain degree. The greatest difference between the life of Wienie and that of Tom and Gerry can enable it to be easy to understand why the critique toward social class will occur under the social situation at that time.

Last but not the least comes that the social class conflict in “My Favorite Wife”, “The Awful Truth” as well as in “Love Crazy”. What is a pity to say is that in these three films, the social class conflict is not that obvious as the previous six films as have been illustrated in the above. But what has to be pointed out is that there are still some indications of social class difference in those three films more or less. In “My Favorite Wife”, Ellen wants to seek for career and adventure, but by the end of the movie, though, she finds herself happiest with her husband and children around. “These particular women discover that they can no longer be happy the way they used to be because love is their true job” (Basinger, 18), from which we can find that Ellen holds that there is class difference between women working outside and women at home and that is just why she insists on her career all the time. While in “The Awful Truth”, Lucy Warriner’s dating with rich Daniel for remarriage can show that she would like to change her current state and find someone from the upper class. And as to “Love Crazy”, the reason why Susan’s mother would like Susan to break up with Steve is that she hopes that her daughter can find someone that is from an upper class then Steve. Thus it can be easily understood that social class is an ingrained idea in people’s mind at that time and people have been severely influenced by that stereotype for a long time.


The phenomenon of social classes in conflict is really one common feature of the Screwball comedies during the Great Depression and people at that time have really suffered the pains from the different social classes more or less. But what is fortunate to say is that the phenomenon of mismatching of people from different classes has enabled those people to overcome their differences in an amusing or entertaining way. Or maybe it can be put in another way that mismatched people may also lead to romance in the due time as long as they can successfully overcome the differences between each other. While how people from different classes should cope with one another depend on their own in the real case, which calls for further research in the future.


Frank Capra, 1934, It Happened One Night

Garson Kanin, 1940, My Favorite Wife

Gerald Mast, “Bringing Up Baby”

Gerald Mast, “The Comic Mind”

Howard Hawks. “The Lure of Irresponsibility”

Howard Hawks, 1938, Bringing Up Baby

Howard Hawks, 1940, His Girl Friday

Jack Conway, 1941, Love Crazy

Jim Leach, “The Screwball Comedy”

Jeanine Basinger, “A Woman’s View”

Leo McCarey, 1937, The Awful Truth

Michael E Parrish, “Fortunes of Feminism”

Preston Sturges, 1941, The Lady Eve, America

Preston Sturges, 1942, The Palm Beach Story

W.S. Van Dyke. 1934. The Thin Man.


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