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The Construction of Walter White's Character in Breaking Bad

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Words: 677 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jan 4, 2019

Words: 677|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jan 4, 2019

Walter White: Family Man, Meth Cook, or Both?

AMC’s Breaking Bad’s Pilot episode addresses a variety of economic, social, and political issues. When Walter White is diagnosed with cancer, he faces a financial crisis, which then leads to an intense moral dilemma. Walter knows that the medical expenses he will soon face due to his diagnoses will lead to distress and family problems. When Walter resorts to cooking crystal meth to make money so that he can pay for his medical expenses, it becomes clear that in America, high paying jobs are too few and medical expenses are too high resulting in the abandonment of basic morals.

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Walter White is a man who loves chemistry. He went to school to become a chemist, but when he got married and had a handicapped son, he was faced with a decision: settle for a less time consuming job, make less money, and be there for his family or work as a chemist, make more money, and not be there for his family. Of course Walter, a family man with good morals, chose to become a high school teacher in order to help his wife raise their son. Now that he has cancer and is reaching the end of his life as a new child is on the way, he knows that his current income is not enough to cover medical expenses and leave his family well off after his death. This reveals the issue in America of work verses family. In America, lots of families are torn apart because of financial issues or stressful work hours; if it’s not the first issue, it’s the latter. Life in America is a trade-off game- you can either work hard, long hours and cause family stress that way, or work less hours and make less money, causing family stress that way.

Walter White’s wife is expecting a baby, only adding to the financial issues that the White family will soon be facing. Walter knows that due to the fact that he lives in America, where every individual in 2008, had to pay for healthcare, will have to pay extremely high medical expenses in order to survive his battle with cancer. This demonstrates the controversial issue of healthcare and the show illustrates that due to the fact that expenses are so high that people have to resort to immoral ways to pay for their medical bills. This aspect of the show reveals that medical expenses are an issue that also causes many issues in people’s lives. At the point where a dying man considers not getting treatment for a terminal illness due to the cost, there is clearly a problem with health care in America.

Walter, a family man, high school teacher with his morals in line would do anything to protect and take care of his family. This embodies the stereotypical idea of a ‘good-ole-boy’ American family man, revealing the ideal American husband. However, the twist in the show is that he justifies his immoral action of cooking meth by saying it is all for the sake of his family. This shows that in America, immoral actions can be justified for family. Despite the fact the viewers of the show know that what Walter is doing is extremely wrong, while watching the show, most viewers like Walter White. This reveals that Americans consider actions for the sake of taking care of your family justified to at least some extent.

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As Walter White begins his battle with cancer, faces his moral dilemma of how to pay for his medical expenses, and attempts to take care of his family the American life and moral are shown. His sacrifice of becoming a high school teacher tells us that family should come first according to American ideals. Next, his financial struggle due to his medical expenses reveal that there is a health care issue in America. Finally, the likeability of Walter White despite decision to cook meth to help his family shows us that in America, money and family are the driving factors of many actors.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Construction of Walter White’s Character in Breaking Bad. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-construction-and-main-features-of-walter-white-character/
“The Construction of Walter White’s Character in Breaking Bad.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-construction-and-main-features-of-walter-white-character/
The Construction of Walter White’s Character in Breaking Bad. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-construction-and-main-features-of-walter-white-character/> [Accessed 28 Feb. 2024].
The Construction of Walter White’s Character in Breaking Bad [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 03 [cited 2024 Feb 28]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-construction-and-main-features-of-walter-white-character/
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