In Taxi Driver, where is there an example of the pressure involved in not belonging?  

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

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There is a gradual breakdown in Travis' character that is sometimes overlooked.  Most of his anti- social behavior is evident, in terms of his ramblings and musings as well as the bloodbath at the end of the film.  Yet, there is a gradual atrophy in his character that is highly significant.  This is brought on by the pressure of not belonging, of lacking any sort of social connections and social solidarity with anyone or anything.  Travis' conversation with Wizard outside of the coffee shop might be one such moment.  The pressure of not belonging brings on an articulated desire to think "of bad things, man."  When Travis speaks to Wizard, it is a moment where it becomes evident where the pressure begins to weigh on Travis of not belonging.  This is further seen when Travis is watching television, leaning back in his chair and balancing between the tilted chair and the television.  He keeps leaning against the television with his foot while some soap opera is on.  The television falls over and breaks, and Travis leans forward in his chair, hands against head muttering "God Dammit," almost in a mantra of pain.  This scene is a powerful one as it shows that the pressure not to belong is a brutal one, painfully evident as it brings out the tormented state in which Travis lives as being isolated from all of reality.  In these moments, the pressure involved in not belonging helps to make an unbalanced individual completely unreachable.


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