Plato's Allegory of the Cave in Pleasantville
Writer and director Gary Ross captured the essence of Plato’s philosophical views in his movie, Pleasantville. The movie is about two siblings, David and Jennifer, who live in completely different high school social scenes. Jennifer is the wild, extroverted teen who is obsessed with partying and boy drama. David, on the other hand, is a social outcast and spends most of his time watching TV, specifically, his favorite show, Pleasantville. David idolizes the show because of the perfect town in which everyone is accepted and there is never anything that goes wrong. When the siblings’ mother goes away, the two are left arguing over what TV channel to watch. As their fighting develops, they eventually break the remote, which leads to the
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They, however, were very mistaken. They were just as ignorant as the people of Pleasantville, just in a different way. Jen’s radical actions of having sex when she goes on a date in Pleasantville do not make her turn to color because her actions are what would be expected from her back in her own cave. She only turns to color when she gets in touch with her emotions and relieves some insecurities that had hindered her from being her full self. The people that first turn to color are ridiculed by town leaders and people that had not yet left the cave. This explains why philosophers are often ridiculed; the people that were in color, representing philosophers, had divorced mundane concerns and found their true inner spirit.
Plato’s final two conclusions describe the nature of education and the role of the philosopher, which are also dramatized in the movie. Plato tells that the role of an educator is to point their students in the right direction. In Pleasantville, the people are both students and teachers. They are teachers to Jen and David; the townspeople teach Jen and David the importance of tradition and good values. The townspeople are also students: they learn from Jen and David how to ignite their inner flame and break from the cave that Pleasantville once was. Similarily, Jen and David are also both students and teachers. They are students in that they take the lessons from the people of Pleasantville in order to help them reach the sun and