2000 word essay

On January 1, 1950, John Huston released a film titled The Asphalt Jungle. In the film, Sterling Hayden stars as Dix Handley alongside Louis Calhern who stars as Alonzo as the ruler of The Asphalt Jungle. The Asphalt Jungle revolves around a heist going wrong after a team of criminals comes together to steal a million dollars worth of jewels. The group consisted of men from all walks of life, but the one thing the men had in common was their need for money. In the film, The Asphalt Jungle, traumatic actions are revealed early when Dix’s girlfriend, Doll, asks him about his dream. The death of his father, his horse, and the loss of the crop and ultimately his beloved home, were the traumatic turn of events which led to Dix’s criminal lifestyle. Trauma theory can be defined as viewing a piece of work by considering the psychological results and changes due to a character undergoing a tragedy earlier in the story or before the story. Trauma theory also considers the characters actions to be results of the characters past damage. Trauma has been analyzed for several decades from various perspectives. Author Amir Khadem states that “Trauma theory is perhaps less a field or a methodology than a coming together of concerns and disciplines” (Khadem 144). Trauma theory considers characters damaged and views their actions to be a result of their damaged past. Scholar Irene Visser makes a statement about the trauma theory stating, “Suggest that a sociological framework for a theory of trauma will answer the need to rethink the relation between specificity and comprehensiveness in postcolonial literary studies. Decolonizing trauma theory, then, has entailed a movement away from the original Eurocentric theory’s foundation in Freudian psychoanalysis” (Visser 257). Author Irene Visser believes trauma is now recognized as “displaying both centripetal and centrifugal tendencies”(Visser 258). Trauma theory considers psychological traumatization when both internal and external resources are inadequate to cope with the external threat. The way one thinks, the way one learns, the way one remembers things, the way one feels about themselves, the way one thinks about other people, and the way one makes sense of the world are all profoundly altered by traumatic experiences. Police officers track hoodlum and ex-convict Dix Handley to a café where Dix's friend saves him from getting arrest by hiding Dix’s gun. Another character, Doc, visits Cobby, a gambling bookie, with a proposition to make half a million dollars in return for a fifty thousand dollar loan from Cobby's contact, wealthy but corrupt lawyer Alonzo D. Emmerich. Later, Doll Conovan, a gorgeous waitress, visits Dix and asks if she can stay with him for a few days, and Dix agrees. That night, Doc presents Alonzo with his brilliant plan for a massive jewelry store robbery, and after closing the bargain, Alonzo runs to his mistress, the young and gorgeous Angela Phinlay. The next morning before he leaves to meet Cobby, Dix talks with Doll about his past on his family's Kentucky farm and how much he longs to go back. Dix tells Doll about how his family had lost everything by saying, “And then everything happened at once. My old man died and we lost our corn crop. That black colt, he broke his leg and had to be shot. That was a rotten year” (The Asphalt Jungle 00:27:22). At Cobby's, he meets Doc, who has heard that Alonzo has gone bankrupt spending all his money on Angela. At the same time, Alonzo admits to his private detective, Bob Brannom, that he is broke, forcing them to plan together a way to cheat Doc out of the stolen jewels. Alonzo asks Cobby to advance him the fifty thousand dollars, and on the night of the crime, manages to pull himself away from his wife May to meet Bob. Meanwhile, Doc, Dix, Louis Ciavelli and driver Gus rob the store, but when a guard happens by, Dix hits him and fires his gun accidentally, wounding Louis. Gus delivers Louis to his home because he is afraid to take him to the doctor, where his wife Maria watches him die. Dix and Doc go to Alonzo's as planned and realize he is trying to cheat them when Bob pulls out his gun. Alonzo makes the statement, “Crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavor” (The Asphalt Jungle 01:52:11). Bob and Dix end up shooting each other, and as Bob dies, Doc advises Alonzo to ask the insurance company to pay for the return of the jewels, no questions asked, or else Dix will kill him. Soon after, Alonzo dumps Bob in the river, and Dix and Doc escape to Doll's new apartment, where Dix refuses to see a doctor, even though he is bleeding. Soon, the police find Bob's body with a piece of Alonzo's stationery paper in his pocket, and though Alonzo uses Angela as his alibi, his story is quickly destroyed when a taxi driver tells Hardy that he once dropped Doc off at Cobby's, and Cobby confesses the whole scheme. Hardy then pushes a willing Angela to tell the truth about Alonzo, who immediately shoots himself. After Doc hears about the suicide, he says goodbye to Dix and leaves town. By lingering at a café outside of the city in order to leer at a young girl dancing, however, Doc gives the police just enough time to catch him. Meanwhile, the weakening Dix agrees to let Doll escape with him to Kentucky, barely making it to his family farm. As he dies in the pasture, Hardy speaks to the press about the popularity of crime in the urban jungle.

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