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In the film Requiem for a Dream, when did you note that Sara Goldfarb and Harry...

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ranger1980 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 1, 2013 at 12:18 PM via web

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In the film Requiem for a Dream, when did you note that Sara Goldfarb and Harry Goldfarb might have reached the point of no return regarding their addiction? Did you think they would become addicted when they first began their drug use of choice?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 1, 2013 at 12:46 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that part of what makes the film so compelling is that it shows that there is a part of what makes us intrinsically human so very close to addiction.  The ability to dream, to conceive of a life so much better than the one we live, can act as a type of narcotic and make us addicted so very quickly. Harry, Sara, Tyrone, and Marion all embody this.  

One could make the argument that we know that Harry and Sara open the drama at a point of no return.  The stealing of his mother's television, the pain that it causes her, along with Aronofsky's use of the split screen to show what drug addiction does to both addict and those who have the cursed capacity to care for the addicts are all representative of how he is truly past the point of no return.  He steals, gets high, and repeats the process.  For her part, Sara already shows the tendency of an addict in the way she is addicted to the idea that her son will be a source of pride for her.  Just in the repetitive cycle of destruction that Harry pursues her television, Sara pursues it back.  At the same time, Sara shows her own tendencies towards addiction in the way she is immersed in the self help infomercial for Tappy Tibbons.  Her retrieval of the television can be seen as an act of motherly love and support.  However, a darker read could be that she needs the television to feed her addiction into a world of illusory self- help, reflecting just as much of a need for a fix as her son.

From this point in the film, it becomes clear that mother and son are operating dangerously in the world.  Their descent into addictive qualities from which there is no returned is only furthered by their temporary and flirtations with success.  Sara does lose the weight. Harry does make money.  This only enhances their addiction for when things begin to go bad for them, they become even more driven to indulge their addiction.  When Harry sees his profits dwindling and his drug supply decrease, it is not a call to stop.  It is a demand to intensify.  When Sara begins to hear the fridge call out to her and pop out of the wall while the television characters haunt her, it is not a clarion moment to stop.  Rather, it necessitates more pills, and more doctor visits; blue ones to supplement green ones that support purple ones.  The same tendencies shown in the film's opening have become magnified. This condition reflects how both Harry and Sara were predisposed to becoming addicts because of an endless hope, a limitless desire to experience good in the quickest of manners.

For both Sara and Harry, the crises they face causes them "double down" and move into a point of addiction where they are no longer in control of their indulgence.  Rather, it controls them.  Sara's panicked and disheveled attempts to get on the television show ends up with her institutionalized.  She has accomplished her goal of having lost weight, being able to fit into the "red dress" and experiencing the pride of a good son as she is applauded on the Tappy Tibbons show.  She has received her "juice by Tappy" in the portals of her mind.  For Harry, his desire to go to Florida to "tap into the market" is a futile quest.  It is one that sees him imprisoned with having his arm amputated.  His call to Marion is shrouded in lies and failure, with the stump of an arm as a constant reminder that he is imprisoned by his addiction.  

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