Do the right thing is a film that was authored and directed by Spike Lee in 1989. The film has been one of the most ground-breaking comedies and it exposes the simmering racial prejudices that dominated America at that time (Reid 3).
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The author uses a large cast in the film making it possible to bring out the major themes on issues dominating American society. In the scene, the author exposes his complex study on the dichotomies of daily life among diverse ethnic communities thus making the film to appear more of a comedy than an ordinary drama (Cooper 456).
Previously, the comedy has gained commercial success where the author received myriad awards and accolades due to its cultural significance (Cooper 454). One of the key issues dominating the scene includes various forms of bigotry such as racism existing in Metropolitan cities of US. This essay aims to examine how the concept of “Right” thing has been developed citing examples from the film.
How the concept of the “right’ thing has been developed in the film
Spike Lee has made a deliberate attempt in the scene to develop the concept “right” thing in a manner that delivers a true meaning to distinguish good from evil.
According to the way the concept has been used in the scene, it is definite that there is a true law that distinguishes a right act from a wrong one. In other words, Spike Lee attempts to bring out some of the characteristics of a “right” thing. From a careful analysis of the film, the author has clearly demonstrated that there are universal and natural laws governing the “right” thing.
For example, as the film ends the author projects an utterance by Martin Luther king which says that, “Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral” (Cooper 459). From this phrase, it is definite that in every society, there is a recommended way of doing “right”. In this case, one can argue that the concept “right” thing should be practiced naturally since it is the only way to conform to true laws that operate in a given society.
This also implies that there are actions that are unacceptable and for this reason, they cannot be regarded as right. On a slight note, Spike Lee intends to reveal to the audience that a “Right “thing is that action which is socially acceptable (Reid 27). However, the author fails to demonstrate the fact that a “right” thing might be socially acceptable in one society and unacceptable in another. For example, there are certain taboos held by Whites that are unacceptable among the Black people.
In line with this, the concept “right” thing has been depicted as the action that brings joy and happiness to a human life. A good example from the film include a case of Mookie, one of the main characters in the scene who is seated so happily counting his money after working very hard.
One can also discern that as he works, he keeps reminding Sal (his employer) to give him his salary early enough to cater for his upkeeps. Since there is no single moment Mookie ever neglected his responsibilities in the work place, Sal eventually gives him his pay without delay. The author also portrays how the concept helps to eradicate social conflicts and possible losses in the society. For example, in the scene, Mookie does right by working hard to earn in order to silence his problems.
From the scene, doing the right thing requires one to think and act critically (Reid 43). In this case, Spike Lee develops the concept “right” thing by defining it to be a critical and a rational action. It is arguable that when one think and reason rationally, the action that follows will definitely have positive impacts. Failure to do the right thing eventually increases chances of conflicting with people as observed at the beginning of the scene.
For example, as the film unfolds we find long-simmering racial-based tensions in Brooklyn neighborhoods (Reid 23). Racial prejudices escalate to numerous tragedies and violence simply because some people perceive themselves to be better than others (Reid 41). For instance, the Latin American fails to reason that they are not in any way better than Black Americans. Consequently, this results to racial intolerance, hatred, conflicts and deaths of innocent people from minor races.
In the scene, the author develops the concepts “right” thing in a way that it becomes synonymous to that action which conforms to nature. Though this is not explicitly expounded in the comedy, this is evident from Martin Luther King’s quote which says that, “The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind” (Reid 161). From this phrase, it is definite that blindness interferes with the law of nature by making people immoral, cruel and impersonal. In this case, the “right” thing is that action which does not humiliate or even annihilate the opponent.
At some point, the author poses a controversial question in the viewer’s mind. After viewing the film, one tends to ask, “What is the right thing to do in a society dominated by racism such as America?” This question might appear simple from the film’s outset though it is not easy to get a straight answer (Cooper 459). In fact, the author himself does not provide a clear answer to the question. This is due to the fact that in the scene, it appears very difficult to break some dominant taboos exhibited by characters on stage (Reid 45).
For instance, the White people perceive other races as minor and this is acceptable to them unlike a case where Black people perceive every race to be equal to others. Notably, the author uses characters that are good while others are bad yet we do not see him take a stand on what is perfectly “right”. Instead, the scene is full of suspense leaving the audience to carefully scrutinize what the author perceives to be “right” thing in the society.
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To recap it all “Do the Right Thing” is a comedy that depicts how a society should respond to critical issues such as racial intolerance. It also emphasizes how people of diverse races and gender should become accountable to their actions. In line with this, there are numerous ways in which Spike Lee has developed the concept of “right” thing in the film.
In other words the concept “right” thing has been developed in diverse viewpoints as portrayed in the film. For example, one can discern from the scene that the concept “right” thing has been used to denote actions are well guarded by natural laws. Moreover, the concept simply refers to an action that conforms to the state of nature. In line with this, the author to some extent develops the concept to denote a rational and critical action that is socially acceptable.
Cooper, Jill. “What is the Right Thing? A Self-Psychological Discussion of Spike Lee’s do the Right Thing.” Psychoanalytic review 86.3 (1999): 455-64. Print.
Reid, Mark. Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1997. Print.