I think we're more focused on City of Glass because it's more difficult for us to understand. What were Quinn's motivations? What did he gain from this? Where's the "moral of the story"?
These questions were answered for us by the move Rear Window. Jefferies became involved because he was homebound and began studying his neighbors. He was able to put a criminal away for a crime, and still keep the beautiful girl. If nothing else, he gained a partner and didn't have to part with Lisa because she proved that she could handle an adventerous life. (In the beginning, he told the nurse that he couldn't marry her (Lisa) because the life of a photographer wasn't compatible with a fashion model.) Part of the moral of the story is that bad people will get caught. (I wonder if that's more of a 1950's theme. Would the same thing/idea work in 1998 or would Jefferies be arrested for stalking/harassment?)
I'm surprised more people in our class didn't have an issue with Jeff sitting there and spying on people. He watched people in the privacy of their homes. (Think of the lawsuits today.) I'm all for people-watching - down on the Mall or at the beach. But I have a problem with looking through keyholes and using binoculars to get involved in matters that are none of the outside world's business.
Christopher Reeve's version of Rear Window will be broadcast November 22 on ABC.
"Reeve will star in a remake of the classic 1954 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Rear Window. The two hour TV movie for ABC Entertainment will be the actor-director's first lead acting role since his accident. In the new version, Reeve will play a paralyzed man, confined to a wheelchair, who witnesses a murder from his apartment window. His home will feature state-of-the-art voice-activated devices that enable him to live with a measure of independence despite his disability. In this classic, Christopher plays the role of a wheelchair-bound photographer who spies on his neighbors and begins to suspect one of them of murder. The role was played by Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock's version of the film. Although Christopher is paralyzed from the waist down, today's "handicapped" technology has progressed to the point where he can do just about everything James Stewart did by using voice-activated gizmos." (Source)
"City of Glass" and "Rear Window" both tell a story about an individual who turns into a detective. These two detectives, presented in both book and movie, search for evidence to support their theories and guesses on who the murders are and what evils they are going to do next. Auster and Hitchkock create a reality by slowly developing clues that point against the "criminal." Whether it be missing jewelry or walking patterns, the two detectives scrutinize their victims every move. The detectives follow them closely and become so self absorbed that they are unable to separate their personal lives to the entities that they are following.
So too, in this class, we are to become detectives. We shall analyze New York City's past and present, watching closely the presentation of it's neighborhoods. Being an observer and a critic, we should heed the words of Richard Hastadter, who wrote about the need to maintain separation from the world that is being criticized but to also be careful from withdrawing -- going so far from popular-culture that we have disassociated ourselves from America.
The lesson that is taught to us in the movie "Rear Window" and in the book "City of Glass" is one of virtue. We see two individuals become obsessed with uncovering all the answers that they often miss so much. Perhaps we should slow down this remote control world we live in and look at details from a distance that will then allow us to be successful "notetakers, code-breakers, and reason's scientists."
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