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CONFLICT BETWEEN PROJECTED AND ACTUAL IDENTITIES OF INDIVIDUALS IN PARTNERSHIPS IN THE TELEVISION SERIES MAD MEN AND THE FILM REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
Tanja Vidmajer, 2016, undergraduate thesis

Abstract: My diploma thesis deals with the television series Mad Men and the film Revolutionary Road. The first part of the thesis consists of short summaries of both works as well as descriptions of the two married couples as main character figures from each story, the Drapers and the Wheelers. Firstly, the main part of the thesis discusses American post-war domestic ideology and the meaning of identity through a detailed analysis and comparison of the main protagonists and their relationships. Additionally, the thesis reveals how conformity, domestic containment, the banality of suburban life, consumerism, strictly defined gender roles, superficial marriages and the loss of one’s true identity lead to adultery and the destruction of the protagonists’ true selves. Secondly, alienation, a sense of frustration and silent despair inevitably culminate in the break-up of their marriages. Thirdly, the conflict between the actual and projected identities of the character roles they are bound to play becomes so major that the utopian aspirations of living their lives in the American dream are shattered into pieces. The inability to escape from their empty, hopeless lives is all there is left. Both works can be considered masterpieces, particularly in displaying conformity and the lack of that personal drive to ever escape mediocrity, mainly because they seem to be more determined by the environment than they are capable of realizing. Ultimately, I had to pose a question: Are we all living our true, actual identities, freely and autonomously, or are we just like the Wheelers?
Keywords: domestic containment ideology, conformity, identity - social character, suburbanisation, consumerism - mass culture, quest for authenticity, hopeless emptiness
Published: 23.03.2016; Views: 526; Downloads: 35
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