The Meaning of Changing of Color in Pleasantville
Posted On April 9, 2017
The Meaning of Changing into Color in Pleasantville
Most humans have the chance feel and express their individuality in their lives, learning from their experiences whether they are good or bad. The human experience evolves and changes people by the imparting of knowledge and wisdom that cannot be gained from just reading a book. In Gary Ross??™s movie ???Pleasantville??? the people of Pleasantville have robotic lives are aware of things that happen in the world, but haven??™t had the opportunity to experience them. Living their lives in a television show, they are depicted in black and white, in a beautiful and pleasant world where nothing goes wrong and every human experience is nothing but wonderful. As Bud and Mary Sue enter the show, some of the people of Pleasantville change from black and white to techni- color, while some do not. The meaning of some of the people changing into color grasps the viewer??™s mind as to why that is so. The explicit sexual education of Mary Sue to her boyfriend Skip Martin, and her Mother Betty, the imparting of knowledge by Bud to the people of Pleasantville and the change in the thinking and emotions of the people of Pleasantville, change it into a colorful world forever.
As the main character David and his twin sister Jennifer are fighting over the remote control to watch their respective TV shows, they are sucked into the world of Pleasantville, where they lives are changed as they become the characters ???Bud??™ and ???Mary Sue ??™ in the actual
TV show which is depicted in black and white. They also become black and white and remain that way until the enlightenment between right and wrong arrivest o their senses. Mary Sue being frustrated and unhappy in this new world decides to make changes to it, as she sees that the people in Pleasantville are boring with no sexual appetite. She takes her boyfriend Skip Martin, a character on the show who has no knowledge of sex, to Love Lake and imparts her idea of a sexual education to him. Their wild experience in the open top car in front of the other youth at Lover??™s Lake, opens up the eyes of the younger generation as they also start experimenting with real sex. From then on some of the youth start to change color, but only those who are willing to open up their minds to the experience of thinking for themselves and feeling and expressing all kinds of emotions. They start going to the library and check out books, they start reading to others and start embracing change. They are no longer willing to live their lives in the robotic, repressed, monotonous way that they did before. Mary Sue also educates her mother Betty by telling her what sex really is. As her mother becomes aware of her sexuality, she feels alive and changes from black and white to color. The change in color represents an awareness of her mother??™s thinking and a change in her attitude, as she is no longer willing to be the typical, fake, happy housewife of Pleasantville.
The first time Bud educates the people of Pleasantville is after the fire in the burning tree. The young students of Pleasantville inquire about how he knew how to end the fire and tells them about fire and other normal things that happen in normal peoples??™ lives. He informs that there is a world beyond Pleasantville that is scary and different. As Mary Sue shows Bud what happens to the books when she tells the students of Pleasantville the stories that were unwritten in the library books and the pages start to fill up with words and illustrations. Bud is amazed at how the gaining of information and knowledge brings a life of authenticity, freedom and true
happiness to the people of Pleasantville. Bud also helps Mr. Johnson, the diner owner develop his keen sense of art and painting. He brings an art book to Mr. Johnson who is in awe of the beauty and grandeur of the artwork in the book. He feels that he not able to continue his art, because it??™s wrong to do something out of routine, but Bud tells him differently, and he starts to paint though the night. When the morning comes, he wakes up to see that everything in his diner has turn into color, from the fruit to the dishes, everything is transformed. As he becomes enlightened with the power of autonomous thinking he attains color in his body, realizing that true freedom of expression is the real way to live.
As the story progresses, some of the areas in Pleasantville and some of the people of Pleasantville are beginning to attain color. The meaning of changing into color in the movie means to be different from others who are still in black and white. It means those who start to think and who are open to change are gaining enlightenment represented in the form of color. The people who resist change, like Bud??™s Father and the Mayor of the Town, stay in black and white until the court scene, in which the whole town gains color, when Bud explains that the acceptance of change is all right and not bad. The whole town of Pleasantville become normal and becomes a part of the real world. The robotic, monotonous living is put to a stop, which makes truly happy. Not knowing what is coming next becomes okay. As the people of Pleasantville realize that acceptance of change is not a bad thing they become autonomous, independent and happy as they are now able to live their lives expressing their individuality and creativity.
In the end, the liberation of the citizens of Pleasantville from routinely fake lives, makes the town a genuine and truly happy place to live in, where freedom of expression and creativity prevails. Bud and Mary Sue unintentionally change Pleasantville via their actions creating
autonomous, self expressing individuals with true feelings and emotions. The changing of color has a prominent effect though out the movie, which depicts the differences in the people of Pleasantville. Those who cannot change from the repressed, restrictive lifestyle stay in black and white yet those who openly accept change and a real education of the mind and soul, change their colors, like a peacock showing its feathers. As the viewer comes to end the movie, one realizes that freedom of speech and expression are not the fundamental rights of every human being, but they are also the reason for constant change and evolution of societies today. Human beings today take for granted the so many rights they have, without taking into account that there was once a time in history, the way as it was in Pleasantville.
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Pleasantville. Dir. Gary Ross . Perf. Toby McGuire, Reese Witherspoon.
New Line Cinema. (1998). DVD.