"Unbreakable: A Study Of Parallels"

2498 words - 10 pages

Through the use of parallelism within the narrative of Unbreakable, the viewer comes to gain a greater understanding of the characters of David Dunn and Elijah Price, and what motivates them. This in turn allows the film to become more multifaceted and complex than if the narrative had simply focused on one character alone. Throughout the film there are two significant instances of parallelism. The first is the parallelism between Dunn and Price, which focuses more on the variations of their similarities; despite the fact that we are continuously shown the same general aspects of their lives, such as their health, we are encouraged to concentrate more on the differences between th ...view middle of the document...

In these two scenes selected from Price's life, we come to see how fragile this boy is, and we can start to make assumptions as to what his life was like in the time between his birth and his life at twelve, and also begin to envisage what he will be like for the rest of the film. Since much of the film's story concentrates on Price's condition, this background information is essential to the rest of the plot, because it gives us the information we need to fully understand Price as a character.The similarity of Price's opening scenes and Dunn's opening scenes is the first instance of parallelism within Unbreakable. While they are vastly different in content (for instance, Dunn's opening scenes occur in the present day, Price's occur in 1962 and 1974; Dunn's focus on his miraculous survival, whereas Price's scenes center around his continuous frailty), the overall information gained by the audience is the same. We begin to suspect about Dunn's phenomenal capacity for survival when we learn that he is the sole survivor of the train crash. In the same way that the audience was shocked at the revelation that Price's arm and legs were broken at birth, we are even more surprised that Dunn has survived such a horrific train crash which has killed all other passengers aboard, and we start to realise that he is not an ordinary character. Again, we start to form certain expectations of what is to come regarding Dunn's character from these opening scenes.While this is quite an obvious instance of parallelism between the two characters, there are other details that are revealed in their respective dialogues. One of these is the fact that they are both isolated from the rest of society. Price's isolation is directly linked to his disability, and we come to realise this when he tells his mother that the other children make fun of him. Dunn's social awkwardness appears in the very tense and nervous conversation he has with the lady sitting next to him on the train, which eventually drives her to find another seat. While we might attribute this discomfort to the fact that he seems to be trying to ask her out, a conversation that he has with his wife Audrey later on in the film confirms that he knowingly tries to keep people at a distance, and so can never feel completely at ease with anyone. This is again parallel with Price's isolation; neither seems to fit in with the rest of society because they are different.This parallelism of the pair's differences is repeated on numerous occasions throughout Unbreakable. While we come to realise that sickness is such a large part of Price's life that he cannot avoid it, we also understand that, since Dunn has never had to deal with sickness, he has never discovered that he does not get sick. We see this in two opposing scenes. The first is when Dunn goes to his employer to ask him how many sick days he has had. He does not even know that it is none until he checks on it. Price, on the other hand, knows he has had exac...


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