For this paper I have chosen to review the film Fried Green Tomatoes. It is a tale of a small old town, its more popular residents, and a murder mystery told in retrospect by the main character Idggy.
I was able to identify several social structures within the small town during the movies flashbacks as well as its modern day narrative setting. There were no government officials present, but a sheriff kept order amongst citizens. That same sheriff, however, partied with the same people that he enforced the law upon. It was the typical small town environment where everyone knew each other and was generally friendly towards one another. There was also a bad guy who became important when it was found out that he was abusing his wife and trying to control her and her child. There were also blacks in town that were not treated as fairly as the white people. I saw these structures affect the characters at different times throughout the movie. The black/white issue was present throughout, as we saw them being butlers, doing whites chores, as well as other labor oriented tasks. The bad guy was confronted by nice town folk when it was found out that he abused his wife. As far as the sheriff, his role came into play when he had to arrest Idggy for the murder of the abusive man. The only time the structures were changed was when a black man, Big George, was accused of the murder. If Idggy hadnt gone on trial, George wouldve had to go on trial. He surely would have been hung, but Iddgy cared for him and took responsibility knowing that she could win and spare his life too.
Norms that were portrayed are similar to the situations above. They are also similar to todays small towns in some respects, such as being friendly and knowing everyone. There are some big differences with other norms from todays society though. The race issue is the biggest difference. While there are still some problems today, we have come a long way as far as treating people more equal.
The racial issue is the biggest social issue that the characters symbolized about our social world. Like I said before, it has gotten better through the years. However, racism is still very present today. The biggest difference is that in todays world it is a social deviance to be racist. Back then it was commonplace to treat people of color differently. That is where social conflict was depicted in this film. People of color were alienated and outcast from the white peoples world. The sad thing is how they dealt with it was just to accept it. Inside they may have felt differently, but their actions on the outside would have you think that they didnt care and simply took what was handed to them. This conflict was not resolved during the film, nor is it completely resolved today in our society.
There was one scene where social control took place. That scene included the Klu Klux Klan. Although blacks were considered lower, the actions of the KKK were deviant and taken too far. The sheriff of the town disbanded their demonstration and actions, which included the caning of Big George. The KKK was also the most evident subculture represented in the film. Its social reality is very real because the KKK is still around today. They arent as prevalent as they were back then, but nevertheless they are still here. And, until we can rid our society of haters like them, gender, race, and class issues and differences will remain.
Overall I enjoyed this film. For the most part it is a sweet film about an old railroad town in a quaint setting. The characters have some style and spunk and make the movie fun. I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for a funny, yet touching film on any free evening.
The film Fried Greeen Tomatoes