Colour, Sound And Other Symbols In "Soylent Green" By Richard Fleischer

2175 words - 9 pages

Frequent polarizations are not the only way the dysfunctional world of "Soylent Green" is vividly recreated for the audience; there are also individual signs, or symbols, lacking opposites, whose connotations are very different from their literal meanings. These connotations include emotional overtones, subjective interpretations and socio-cultural values. Because of their ability to change over time, signs create a unique chain of references that can be broken down to provide an even bigger insight into the dystopia of the future.The most obvious symbolism is that of the name; the protagonist, Robert Thorn and his friend Sol Roth's names are particularly interesting. Representing sin, sorrow and hardship, the thorn is one of the most ancient symbols in the world; along with the rose, it represents pain and pleasure. The thorn is an emblem of Christ's passion (the crown of thorns). There is an element of Christ in Thorn, he is passionate, determined and heroic. Sol may be derived from Solomon, meaning wise. By giving the characters such meaningful names, the writer gives us an immediate insight into them.Colours symbolise a great deal in this film and some colours have particularly strong meanings. Green is the most prominent colour in the film, and it also forms part of the title. It can represent envy, evil, trickery, growth, renewal, life, neutrality, passivity and indecision. It is a sign of freshness, youth, virtue and peace. In the film, we can link green to global warming, a sick feeling, unhealthiness, weirdness, depression and pollution. It is also ironic because the colour green represents life, and Soylent Green is composed of dead people.Black represents a lack of colour, a primordial void, and emptiness. It can also mean sorrow or mourning (the Christian tradition of wearing black to funerals). In this respect it can also symbolize death. Black is also linked to witchcraft (Black Magic), evil, the unknown, loss, depression and despair. In "Soylent Green", black is used in specific places and clearly with good reason.Red is an emotionally charged colour. It is associated with anger, blood, lust, vengeance and fire. It can also mean love, passion, and health. At the end of "Soylent Green", Thorn is shot and we see his blood-covered hand reach up as he tells everyone "Soylent Green is people!" Blood usually represents life itself; it is the element life that functions inside the human body. Red represents the end of a series which begins with sunlight (yellow) and follows intermediately with vegetable life (green). This is ironic as Soylent Green is made of dead people. Blood is closely tied with passion, but also with death, war, sacrifice and the warding off of malicious powers. Thorn makes it his mission to make people aware of what is really going on and as a result of this he ends up dyeing. When used in reference to Christ, blood represents "atoning for all humanity".When Sol Roth goes 'home', he tells the orderly that his...

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