Essay by saikimCollege, UndergraduateA-, May 2005

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One of the things that first struck me about the play was that the characters believed they lived a good life. I saw the exact opposite. The good life is shown through success, success through a career, education, goals, and love, or at least we are brought up thinking so. The gangs only had one another and without the support of that gang, these boys/characters would not exist as individual human beings. The Jets did not want to have jobs, and they mocked the ex-gang member, Tony, for leaving the gang to make a future for himself. Life outside the gang was not an option for the Jets. None of the boys had any future plans or felt the need for anything else in their lives. Tony did not live the good life, but he did have dreams. He knew there was a better life for him out there, and parting from the gang allowed him to search for that life.

Maybe it was only me, but Tony seemed to be the happiest person there, even before he met Maria.

The West Side Story did not demonstrate a good society, either. The people outside the gang did not help to lead these kids in the right direction. The gangs learned to be negative towards one another, because people of higher authority did the same, such as the cops. I was shocked when the cop made racist comments towards the Sharks, I would think that a black man in that time period would be more aware of racial tensions and slurs. In the song "Officer Krupke" the Jets sing of several reasons to why society believes they are bad kids. Society makes it okay for them to be bad, and the boys just accept those excuses. People in their society were...