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Modern Times

In: Film and Music

Submitted By pkoehler2015
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“Modern Times” In Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” there is an unusual love affair between a factory working man (Chaplin) and a woman (Gamin) that just lost her family and is orphaned. Chaplin and the Gamin have a love like no other in which they both share a common dream that brings them together. Chaplin and the Gamin idealize the “American dream”. They witness a happy husband and wife and make it their dream to someday live as they are. This dream includes a husband, a wife, a house and everything that comes with it except the responsibility. In a particular scene in the movie Chaplin fantasizes about life with Gamin. His fantasy includes a cow milking itself. In the fantasy Chaplin wipes his hands on the curtain and throws an apple with a carefree sense, showing he holds no values. He takes the house for granted. Idealistically, when someone has a house they would do the opposite and value every aspect of it. These images from Chaplin display his lack of education. The Gamin also displays a lack of education when she finds a shack and turns it into a mini home. Based upon what she thinks should be, the Gamin foolishly creates her version of a husband and wife scenario. The Gamin makes a meal for herself and Chaplin from bread and meat she most likely stole seeing as earlier in the film she steals bananas from a boat to provide for her family. If the Gamin had any sense of education she would have preserved some food for another time knowing that they were not well off. In this scenario the Gamin and Chaplin act as children, feeling the need to eat in surplus instead of thinking of tomorrow. The ideas of the Gamin and Chaplin bring them together in a relationship. They both want to achieve that “dream”. Destiny happened to throw them together and they have no one else so they chose to live the dream as one. In terms of relationship the Gamin and Chaplin share an immature relationship. Their bond is of a dream and it realistically couldn’t happen. They do not see father than what is in front of them which is another example of the Gamin and Chaplin thinking like children. They do not wonder where their next meal will come from. They live life in the moment and figure out what come next when they meet up with the situation. There are various aspects of the Tramp and Chaplin’s relationship that lacks maturity. Their relationship is based upon what they think should happen and could happen. It is a simple unfortunate encounter of two people who are seeking refugee from the law. Both the Gamin and Chaplin are constantly running from the law. Chaplin actually enjoys jail and commits crimes on purpose so he can get back in to jail. This is an example of retreatism which is a typology of modes of individual adaptation. Chaplin rejects both the cultural goals of society and the institutionalized means. They both have no one but each other and found a sense of love from that. One scenario in the movie showed that they truly care for each other despite the situation. When Chaplin received a watchman job he made sure to include the Gamin. He took care of her and made her eat. He put her to bed but in a respectfully commendable way. Chaplin tucked the Gamin into bed and left and went about with his work. The Gamin also showed affection toward Chaplin. She always awaited his release from jail no matter how many times he ended up there. The Gamin was always on the lookout for a job for Chaplin even until the very end. They never abandoned each other no matter what situation they landed in. In comparison to ideas of “Modern Times”, Karl Marx shares similar ideas in his Communist Manifesto. Marx explores the ideas of marriage and relationship through the bourgeois. Marx says, “The bourgeois sees his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.” Chaplin views the idea of a wife as an instrument of production. Chaplin’s definition of a wife is someone who will stay home, cook and clean. In his fantasy he visualizes coming home from work, meeting the Gamin and a well-cooked meal. The meal of the fantasy is truly a fantasy. Chaplin visualizes largely cooked steaks that idealistically are not served to two people. This links back to the idea of lack of education.
In Modern Times the role of a wife is uniform. The movie portrays a wife to be a homemaker. The role of the wife is the ideal “American dream wife”. The happy women who stays at home, sees her husband off to work and awaits his arrival in the evening. Adding to that, preparing meals, taking care of the house and doing everything expect physically working in the labor world.
The ending of “Modern Times” displays the ultimate idea of the Chaplin and the Gamin. The ending shows the Gamin and Chaplin walking into the sunset. They do not know where they will go or what they will do. All that mattered to them was that they were together. All failed for them so it was time to start again. No matter how many times Chaplin and the Gamin fell down, they always picked themselves or each other up. Despite how mature or immature the relationship they shared was, it gave them the fuel to keep going.

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