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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

Bodily Purity, Violence, and Language: Jake La Motta’s and Travis Bickle’s Becomings in Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” and “Taxi Driver”

This paper shows how the characters of Jake La Motta in “Raging Bull” and Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver” both desire to become somebody. In order to accomplish such becomings, both characters must purify their bodies before entering the world of their respective missions, which involve ritualistic violence. Ultimately, they can only inflict such violence for a certain amount of time before their bodies fail them. Therefore, Scorsese’s heightened attention to the bodies of his characters and their violent acts shifts toward the end of the films, as he replaces the image of the power of the body with written or spoken instances of the power of language.

Presenter: Brenna Doran (Graduate Student)
Topic: Film Studies
Location: 204 Holmes
Time: 1:15 pm (Session III)