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Thelma and Louise

Essay by   •  November 29, 2010  •  Essay  •  581 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,383 Views

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Thelma and Louise is a movie that portrayed women to be naпve, impulsive and irresponsible. Feminists say that the film showed how women are "victims of this patriarchal society we live in,"(4) and others say that Thelma and Louise are "forced to be criminals because of men" and that "the male society is the reason why a harmless girls' weekend away was turned into a suicide"(4). I beg to differ. I believe it was poor decision making that ultimately led to their deaths. One of the consequences of their irresponsible choices resulted in a man's murder. A common opinion is that the murder was committed in self-defense, but in actuality it was not.

I've replayed the scene over and over again and keep asking myself the same question. "Why did Louise shoot Harlan?" Different sources of summaries and reviews stated the rationale for Louise killing him was to stop him from raping Thelma (4, 5, 6). I feel that is a misconception, and strongly disagree with these assessments. Thelma got drunk and trusted a complete stranger to accompany her while she got some air. Unfortunately he tried to take advantage of her drunken state and attempted to have sex with her. Thelma quickly sobered up and tried to rebuff Harlan's attempt. This is when he went "caveman" and began to rape her. Fortunately Louise came to the rescue and threatened the man with a gun, so he relented. After giving him a verbal lashing, the women began to walk away. Upset that he couldn't add another notch to his belt, he mouths off to Louise, telling her that he should have "gone ahead and fucked her anyways." Not believing what she's hearing, Louise asked him to repeat himself. After telling her to "suck his cock" she hauled off and shot him, killing him instantly.

Was it self defense? No, because when she shot him, Thelma and Louise were no longer in danger. It was clear who was in control of the situation when she pulled out the gun. When Louise shot Harlan she acted on her emotions. He said something that offended her and she reacted. Furthermore, after shooting him, she walked up to the corpse and whispered, "You watch you mouth, buddy."(7) While I do realize that seeing her best friend almost get raped and probably being raped herself must have wreaked havoc on her emotions, that is not a justifiable excuse for taking justice into her own hands.

While they

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