In Elia Kazan's film, On The Waterfront,  If Father Barry and Edie Doyle didn’t exist in the film, do you think Terry Malloy would eventually experience his moral awakening and testify against...

In Elia Kazan's film, On The Waterfront,  If Father Barry and Edie Doyle didn’t exist in the film, do you think Terry Malloy would eventually experience his moral awakening and testify against his friends by himself?

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

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I think that Terry could or might have achieved the emotional transformation without Edie or Father Barry, but it seems highly unlikely.  It is Edie's presence early on in the film that begins the process of Terry beginning to think about what is happening and his role in it.  Prior to this, Terry remains "D & D" and is a part of the mentality of conformity and silence.  Terry does not examine his own culpability as well as the conditions that surround him.  Terry is not reflective in this regard, as he sees himself as the only possible cause worth living for and refuses to acknowledge something more transcendent at play.  It is because of Edie and because of Father Barry that Terry begins to process of assessing his own world and what part he plays in it.  Terry begin to feel guilt and feelings of complicity as a result of his interactions with Edie and his feelings of love towards her.  The transformative power that love holds for Terry is not as likely if Edie is not there and if Father Barry does not serve to be the moral compass by which Terry can find the strength to challenge Friendly.

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