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Analysis of Terry Malloy's Story in The Film 'On The Waterfont'

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On the Waterfront is a film that explores the story of a blundering man, Terry Malloy, as he is suffers while trying to stop the forces that wish to destroy him and the woman he loves. Kazan utilizes this internal conflict to highlight the fact that understanding is possible, even in the bleakest of circumstances, using Edie Doyle and Father Barry to represent guidance to the protagonist on his quest for the truth. The deaths of a number of the longshoremen as well as the harsh scenes in which Johnny Friendly is seen beating his union members or manhandling Terry are examples of when Terry suffers and learns from those who are supposed to be guarding them. Kazan uses these scenes to paint a bad picture of the union for Terry so that he can make his own mind up.

Terrys understanding and perception of justice plays a key role in the film as Johnny Friendly seems to be in denial of his immoral actions, but doesn’t see it as wrong. Terry says “He wasn’t a bad kid that Joey” to which a passerby states “He was a canary” illustrating the differences in understanding between them, further highlighting the phase of learning Terry is going through. After the murder of Joey Doyle, very few people in the community are prepared to speak their mind relating to the murder, Terry holds off confessing until the end of the film but is guided in his understanding by Edie and Father. Barry.

Father. Barry is utilized by Kazan in the film as a representation of doing the right thing at all costs and he preaches this idea to Terry. Terrys view of the world and himself slowly changes and morphs throughout the film as he listens to Fr. Barry’s teachings. When Father Barry is standing over Dougan’s body, we see a moment of change for Terry, as Friendly’s workers pelt rubbish at Fr. Barry Terry tells them to stop and even fights with a boss. Terry in this moment slips from being on the fence about the union to understanding its treatment of its people and unites with Father. Barry to stop it continuing.

Terry’s understanding after his moment with his brother Charley shows not his understanding of the workings of the mob but his understanding now that every part of the mob is corrupt and immoral vowing to stop It. As he convinces his brother to join him Charley says he can only lie to Friendly, but also gives Terry a gun to use, which he ends up not really using. After the scene in which Charley is seen in an alleyway murdered, Terry finally cracks and wishes to testify to the commission so that the union can be stopped.

Terrys final moment after testifying at the court is the scene in which he confronts Friendly for his crimes. Terry approaches the building and in argument with Friendly remarks that ‘I’m standing over here now’ signifying his new allegiance to the longshoremen and his understanding of how they have been treated and which moral side he should be on. After this the fight scene ensues leaving Terry broken physically but not spiritually while leaving Friendly worthless in the eyes of his union members. This plays out with the union now controlling no one and Terry leading the men as he stumbles into the boat showing them that he can beat the union.

Kazan’s film helps Terry along the path of understanding who he is and who others are in respect to their morals and the rightfulness of their actions. The quote ‘I’m stood over here now’ shows us that he has found his place stood amongst his brothers at the dock longing for an honest pay for an safe and honest day’s work. Terry’s understanding in the film goes from the simple minded ignorance of D&D to speaking out for whats right for the workers of the Hoboken docks.

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Analysis of Terry Malloy’s Story in the Film ‘On the Waterfont’. (2022, July 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-terry-malloys-story-in-the-film-on-the-waterfont/
“Analysis of Terry Malloy’s Story in the Film ‘On the Waterfont’.” GradesFixer, 07 Jul. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-terry-malloys-story-in-the-film-on-the-waterfont/
Analysis of Terry Malloy’s Story in the Film ‘On the Waterfont’. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-terry-malloys-story-in-the-film-on-the-waterfont/> [Accessed 4 Oct. 2022].
Analysis of Terry Malloy’s Story in the Film ‘On the Waterfont’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Jul 07 [cited 2022 Oct 4]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-terry-malloys-story-in-the-film-on-the-waterfont/
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