Joe Frady: A Symbol of the Times

Essay by rainforme313 December 2003

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Throughout the 1970's, there was an expanding subculture in the American society, which disapproved of the government and questioned their actual motivations. In the 1974 film The Parallax View, the audience was able to relate to the main protagonist Joe Frady and his struggles because they had similar thoughts and feelings which Frady personified towards the government. Frady symbolizes the sense of alienation, the feeling of powerlessness, and the evasiveness of the truth, which were growing sentiments within this society at that time.

Throughout the film, Frady becomes more and more separated from society, and eventually he becomes completely alienated. The director Pakula even says that Frady is supposed to view the world as full of alienated people who don't have any lasting relationships (Pratt 128). In the opening scene, Frady is seen standing alone, and is rejected by his ex-girlfriend and reporter Lee Carter. In the following scenes of the movie, Frady is portrayed as a single man who doesn't have any close connections, such as a wife or close friend.

When Carter comes to visit him, he is with another women, but it appears to be a casual relationship than anything. This purely physical relationship can also illustrate Frady's purely superficial relationship with the world around him. Soon after, Carter supposedly dies of a drug overdose, but is actually killed. The only other person whom the movie shows involved in Frady's life is his news editor, who seems not to even like Frady that much, but nonetheless, he too is killed later in the movie. Thus, anybody who merely plays a role in Frady's life is exterminated. Also, he was reported dead later in the movie, and he left it that way in order to perform some research for his paper. Thus, Joe Frady doesn't even...