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Gran Torino Clint Eastwood Essay

1301 words - 6 pages

'Sometimes, the most unexpected events enable individuals to grow.' How is this shown in Gran Torino?
The key point in Clint Eastwood’s film, “Gran Torino” is all about the necessities of becoming a man and being important to society. The characters in “Gran Torino” undergo changes within the film that were caused by traumatic events that occur in the film. Thao gains confidence and becomes a man, finally realising his usefulness in the world. Walt gains new views and perceptions of the world around him and even learns to let go of his past. However, character development doesn’t extend out to all characters within the film, but situates on the most important individuals within the movie. ...view middle of the document...

Thao is taken to the Barber’s store to learn how to talk appropriately to other men, by doing this, Walt aids Thao in getting a part-time job in construction work. Before the interview for Thao’s job, Walt gives him one last piece of advice; “A man can tell a lot by his handshake.” This is used later in the hardware store whilst Walt is getting Thao a tool-belt, the scene ends with a strong handshake between the two, both showing respect and showing a mutual likeness between the two. Fong, Thao's cousin and main character from the Hmong 'gangbangers', bullies Thao throughout the movie and each time, Thao's confidence wavers, he used to be weak and accept the violence and criticism like it was fine but he learns to grow a back-bone thanks to Walt, who always made fun of his shy personality. Thao is always trapped in their confrontations and each time, Walt pulls him back on track and guides him on to a brighter future.
Haunted by his past and devastated by the loss of his wife, Walt realises that his family don't really want anything to do with him and he doesn't know them at all. When he meets the Hmong people, he sees that their lives are the complete opposite to his. Walt's house may be refined and new and neat. But it seemed that the inside of his house was dark and gloomy, like his past and his present life. Wandering through his house on the Wake of his wife's funeral, Walt is like a ghost, trying to find a place where he belongs. Upon getting to know the local Hmong people, Walt begins to embrace their culture and sees that they're vibrant. The food, the brightness of the house, they even mingled and spoke to others, treating each other like family. Walt mentions on the day of his birthday that all he really eats is his beloved beef jerky. This kind of food symbolises his life; dry, flavorless and generally lasting for quite a long time, that is, until the Hmong people started to walk up to his house and give him bountiful food, full of colours and many different tastes. Racism was something Kowalski liked to throw around, casually calling the Hmong people things like; “Gooks” “Zipper heads” (Zips) “Swamp Rats” and many more. Walt uses these racial slurs in a mean way at first, constantly criticising the Hmong people. An example would be when the Hmong people first congregate at the Vang Lors’ house for the birth of a child and Walt sees them all walk into the house with all kinds of Hmong...

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