The narcissistic masculinity of Travis Bickle : American "Reality" in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver

Pauw, Waldemar (2006-12)

Thesis (MA (English))—University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


In this thesis, I examine the way in which Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver can be read as a critical investigation of post-World War II American masculinity. Drawing on Susan Faludi’s arguments regarding the post-World War II American ‘masculinity crisis’, I highlight specifically how Taxi Driver addresses American masculinity in the context of ideals of heroism, of the myth of the Wild West, of the Vietnam era, and of the increasingly influential role that the popular media play in shaping conceptions of masculinity. In the process I indicate that Taxi Driver exposes, and critiques, an association in modern American society between masculinity and what analysts have termed the ‘myth of regeneration through violence’.

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