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.