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Word Count: 1,201
Journey is explored in vitally different ways in the film Whats Eating Gilbert Grape Ostensibly journey implies movement but its the nature of this movement that lies at the heart of the film In the film the audience is confronted with Gilberts the main protagonist personal psychological journey from emotional entrapment to inner freedom Journey is initially perceived through the effective long shot of the endless road that stretches towards the horizon symbolically suggesting possibilities and opportunities or in other words freedom However they appear just out of reach of Gilbert who remains stationary in the foreground sitting while Arnie his mentally-handicapped brother is strutting around impatiently Gilberts voice over informs the responder watching the campers is our yearly ritual and that they are just doing the right thing passing through Also emphasizes a lack of journey on Gilberts part and it is immediately obvious why As the caravans come into view in the distance the peaceful music picks up and the caravans seem to be sparkling from their reflectors This symbolizes a form of escape They are free unlike Gilbert who is stuck in a hopeless town The camera pans to Endora which is portrayed as a series of faded still shots The buildings look shabby and derelict and there are no signs of life showing lack of life Gilbert feels Endora is like dancing to no music where nothing happens and nothing ever will The statement Endora is where we are portrays his entrapment Gilberts family contributes to his lack of movement by placing the burden of responsibility on him His father died 17 years ago his mother is left a pathetic obese wreck his sister cant hold a proper job Ellen his other sister is selfish Arnie is mentally handicapped and Gilbert is left to take the role of the father figure From all this he has shut down mentally and does what every body wants of him
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