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The Birds
by Alfred Hitchcock A Political Allegory The first atomic explosion over Hiroshima during World War II opened up a whole new era in warfare. The cold war, fueled by a nuclear arms race for supremacy divided the Eastern and Western powers straight down the line. Events like the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Korean War and the War in Vietnam signified the paranoia of the United States and the fear of the Communist Bloc. The U.S.S.R. and China along with the smaller Communist satellites were encroaching upon the United States' "turf." This led to the "Containment" theory a plan by Western Europe and the United States to block the spread of the Communist sphere of influence. In Alfred Hitchcock's " The Birds", these feelings of paranoia are symbolized in the encroachment of the birds on the small town of Bodega Bay. The Communist Bloc was a feared coalition, a group of rouge countries threatening the sanctity of Western Democracy. The birds in the movie symbolize the united front created under the Warsaw Pact. The multiple species of birds, diverse and estranged from each other, unite to fight a common enemy, man. Humankind, representing western democracy, is powerless and incapable of defending itself. The vastness and overbearing presence the birds have is insuperable. The attacks at first are small and localized, but they quickly escalate and spread to nearby towns. This parallels the spread of communism in the mid 20th century, where small third world nations were falling under the communist sphere of influence and it was feared that communism might eventually overtake the world. The central family in " The Birds" is a symbol of western democracy. While at first the age disparity between Mitch and his sister might seem peculiar, it is easily explained when viewed as a symbol of the Western sphere of influence. Mitch's mother, allegorically speaking, the United States, was the only surviving super-power after the dismantling of the United Kingdom, her husband. The United States was then allied with several other nations ranging in different sizes and strength. For example one could view Mitch as a large country such as France, while his sister could be viewed as a small nation like Israel, a weak democracy under the "protection" of the United States. As the movie finishes, the birds are left in the town, isolated and free to roam. Their threat is stronger than ever before and the rest of the country is still at risk. The containment theory used by the United States many times failed to control the spread of communism. The Communist sphere of influence was an over-bearing presence ready to strike at any moment.

 



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