Split personalities playing a roll in film

Essay by nylaxCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2004

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Split personalities and secret identities have always played a major part in the characters of pulp fiction and film. They present themselves as polar opposites of what their lives truly are, which, in actuality are cold-blooded killers or hired hitmen. They must portray themselves as completely different people in order to accomplish their goal. The two lives work against each other, however, one haunting the other while the other one begins to be consumed with guilt or new feelings. The characters cannot survive with two identities and this ultimately leads to the demise of many of them. Throughout the books we have read and the films we have viewed these two-faced characters begin the story acting perfectly as the new role they have chosen, but as the novel progresses clues to their genuine nature leads to the disclosure of their true identity. In many cases the character narrating the story is also leading two lives.

This allows us to see deep inside their mind; giving us a first hand account of each of their two lives and ultimately what leads to their downfall.

In Double Indemnity author James M. Cain writes a story about the perfect murder gone horribly wrong through the first person narration of Walter Huff. Walter is an insurance salesman who, on a routine job, comes across the beautiful Phyllis Nirdlinger and soon becomes involved in a deadly plot to kill her husband. After the murder, Huff soon discovers the secrets of Phyllis's deadly past which ultimately leads to the demise of the two murderers.

When Phyllis is first introduced, she is portrayed as a striking blonde floozy who immediately begins flirting with Huff as soon as he steps into her house. Soon Huff finds himself lusting over Phyllis, making it easy for her to lure him...