The West Side Story tells the love story of Tony and Maria amidst the rivalry between their races. Maria is a Puerto Rican while Tony is an Anglo-American. The said tale was based on Shakespeare’s famous play, “Romeo and Juliet”. The story also portrays a battle for urban territory. A territory which was infused with cultural characters and political meanings for the interactions as well as social acts based on the “American Way of Life”. Basically, Manhattan is a city which is divided based on territory, economic, and race.
Each socio-economic group occupies a territory which is distinctly separated. The film has played a part in carrying on the view of the West Side as a place of metropolitan and racial problems. There is one particular scene in the story which happened in a gymnasium. It was a dance scene which was important in illustrating the disruptive border line between the Jets and the Sharks. The color of one’s skin, their dress codes and their dance styles gave unique description of the two rival gangs.
As one watches the dances one could see the hatred between the Jets and the Sharks appear to open to some prospect of communication and dwelling with each other. This particular possibility originated between the attractions of the two protagonists namely Tony and Maria. The love which was evident the first time the two protagonists met each other was captured in the camera. The exchanged glances and the sexuality emanating between the two obliterated the ethnic and racial differences between their races.
The two tried to erase or to take away their minds from the hard reality of their feuding races. That was the start of the two protagonists’ attempts to find an urban space which would allow their interracial relationship. In spite of their love for each other both were painfully aware of the dilemma their situation forced upon them as could be seen on one of Maria’s lines. “But you’re not one of us…and I’m not one of yours” (Robbins, 1961).
However Tony expressed through a song his pursuit for a place where they could cultivate their love for each other. In this regard, by trying to obliterate the present reality the hopelessness of an interracial marriage was established. The film as a whole could be said to have a transcendental and supposed universality which obliterated all historicity. It also replicated a sense of aesthetic, literary as well as apolitical values.
Works Cited: Robbins J. and R. Wise(1961). West Side Story. Japan.