By Erik Reyes 12/18/2011 Pursuing and Compromising Happiness in The Truman Show Individuals do irrational and rational things all the time. Every day, we make decisions that are actually quite two sided. The item or goal you pursue has a value that is irrelevant. The evident fact is that you can pursue something realistically or unrealistically. “The Truman Show” by Peter Weir displays various examples of how individuals pursue and compromise their happiness. Peter Weir clearly states that the pursuit of happiness is always one that has different paths and different methods.
Christof, Truman Burbank and Sylvia/Lauren Garland are all excellent examples of human nature and its’ rationality. Christof (played by Ed Harris) is the creator and director of “The Truman Show”. When having a heated conversation with Sylvia, who formerly played as Lauren Garland in “The Truman Show” Christof states, “I have given the chance for Truman to lead a normal life. The world, the place you live in, is the sick place, Seahaven is the way the world should be”.
Thus, showing that his perspective of the world is dark. Throughout the film Christof is speaks and places his hand on various screens and footages of Truman.
These simple gestures and acts send messages to the viewers that Truman Burbank is the root to not only the happiness to billions of viewers but, also the root to Christof’s happiness as well. Truman is Christof’s most prized possession, the “apple to my eye” and “number one fan” sort of speak.
Christof is an example of a human being that takes irrational approaches to pursuing their happiness. Christof instills phobias into Truman’s heart, for example, fear of dogs and water to anchor Truman thoroughly into the fake sands of Seahaven. Although, this was an extremely irrational method to keep Truman in Seahaven it was extremely effective.
When Truman had escaped his household Christof had immediately got a search party to locate Truman and return him home at once. Christof discovers that Truman is out at sea on a boat sailing away from Seahaven. Upon this discovery Christof has commanded to localize a storm to “intimidate” Truman back to shore. It is ineffective and Truman strives to fight his way out of the storm taunting and singing aloud. This enrages Christof and he summons a massive storm with enormous waves to engulf Truman in water. Christof sees his most prized possession half conscious barely hanging onto the boat struggling.
This is yet another example of irrational actions a human being would commit to pursue their happiness. Christof’s happiness is Truman; therefore, Christof is not willing to let Truman go. Not even for Truman’s own strive and pursuit of happiness. Christof is a perfect example of how a person pursues their happiness in an aggressive manner. Truman Burbank (played by Jim Carey) is the star of “The Truman Show”. Truman is a great example of someone who takes both rational and irrational actions to attain their happiness. In Truman’s college days he had came across a student by the name of Lauren Garland.
Although Christof had casted Hannah Gill (played by Laura Linney) as Meryl and the love interest for Truman, Truman still aims to snatch the heart of Lauren Garland instead. The aggression of Meryl could have potentially pushed Truman away from Meryl and towards Lauren instead. Truman has only a handful of occasions in which he sees Lauren. Truman decides to study instead of go spend time with Meryl and his best friend, Marlon (played by Noah Emmerich). While studying Truman sees Lauren and decides to try converse with her then eventually persuading her to go out somewhere.
This simple action displays his interest in Lauren and his strong feelings for her. He attains happiness by going with Lauren to the beach and kissing her passionately. She suddenly gets taken away by her “father” and Truman has been informed that Lauren and her family are moving to Fiji. The instant that Lauren was out of Truman’s sight was when Truman’s ambition to travel to Fiji was planted. His pursuit of happiness had suddenly begun. As the years went by Meryl’s aggression eventually tore Truman’s walls down and they became husband and wife.
Truman had only married Meryl as a “rebound” to the loss of Lauren after all those years. This is an example of a rational action that a person would take to compromise their happiness. Although, Truman marries Meryl he realizes that he has feelings for Lauren and still has the ambition to go to Fiji and find her, “You can’t get any further away before you start coming back”. This is an example of an irrational action that a person would do to pursue their happiness. Truman buys magazines to create an image of Lauren. Later on in the film he decides to escape to find Lauren and commits a series of irrational acts.
He creates a decoy for him to leave his house, digs a huge hole through his lawn and goes on a boat to sail off in search for an exit from Seahaven and for his long lost love, Lauren. Truman stared death right in the face to pursue his true happiness. Truman is a great example of how the amount of ambition drives human beings pursuit and/or compromise of their happiness in different ways. Eventually, Truman gains sufficient awareness of his condition to leaving Seahaven, developing a more mature and authentic identity as a man, leaving his child-self behind and becoming a True-man.
Sylvia (played by Natascha McElhone) casted as Lauren Garland by Christof is a great example of how an individual would approach their pursuit of happiness realistically. Sylvia had been fired because she had risked the exposure of Truman finding the truth about his whole life being a false set. Sylvia had joined a protest group called “Free Truman”; this group felt that it was humanly incorrect to have a person “caged” and hidden from the true world. There are many occasions in the film of shots of Sylvia’s apartment. In her apartment, there are various items that show she still longs for Truman and misses him.
For example there are various items that say “Free Truman” on the walls. There is also a sign that says, “I’m on Truman T. V. ” from the parachute that an intruder used on “The Truman Show”. Sylvia watches “The Truman Show” for the sake of keeping Truman close to her. However, the only things she can do are pray and hope for a miracle that somehow Truman will escape from the show. Her pursuit for Truman is the definition of her happiness. Sylvia’s pursuit is very realistic and Sylvia’s commitments are very rational. Even though Sylvia seems very rational she has had her share of irrational actions.
At one point in the film Sylvia decides to call Christof to have a heated conversation with him on live television in hope of giving Christof a change of heart or sending a message to him. Even with the smallest, most immanent chance Sylvia tries to help Truman. This act proves that human beings all have a sense of irrationality within them. Evidently, as shown in the film there are pieces of each human being that give off both rational and irrational thoughts and plots for that pursuit. Human nature gives us common laws and similarities.
Commonality is something that offers human beings variety in a border line. We all may have the same goals, but we approach or pursue it differently. This could possibly be through aggression and extreme action like Christof; with strong passion, naivety and curiosity similar to Truman Burbank; or with a realistic and distant fight holding to happiness like Sylvia. Hence, “The Truman Show” gives many examples of how people pursue and compromise their happiness all differently. Finally, “In case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night”.