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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

God's Lonely Man: Isolation and Alienation in “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver”

This paper focuses on Martin Scorsese's examination of isolation and alienation in “Taxi Driver” and “Mean Streets.” Taking the stance that Travis Bickle is the evolutionary successor of Charlie Cappa in this examination, it argues that Scorsese has come to rely upon alienation to such an extent that these films revolve around and depend upon the isolated natures of their main characters. In “Mean Streets,” Charlie's mental and spiritual worlds are set in sharp contrast to the heavily populated circumstances of his physical world. In “Taxi Driver,” Travis's alienation is all-encompassing, and thus reflected in both his mental and physical states of being. Though Scorsese's examination is the crux of each film, there is no solid resolution for either Bickle or Cappa, leading Scorsese onward in his seemingly perpetual search for closure for "God's Lonely Man."

Presenter: Robert Flynn (Graduate Student)
Topic: Film Studies
Location: 204 Holmes
Time: 2 pm (Session III)