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“Modern Times” by Charles Chaplin

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    “Modern Times” is a silent movie written and directed by Charles Chaplin in 1936, through which he wanted to represent his observations and anxieties of the 19th century. It is dependent on pantomime, a style that does not use any sounds except for sound effects century and is understood universally. Though it was a depressing time, Chaplin wanted to show that there’s still hope for a better future, and it is just how one looks at the situation and deals with it. The movie “Modern Times” has depicted great examples of the early 19th century Progressive Era we discussed in class such as scientific management, machine tyranny, unemployment, and entertainment.

    The movie talks about the life of a Tramp who is struggling with adjusting to the new world after WWI, in search of a better life. He is working on an assembly line that represents the idea of machine efficiency that we have discussed in our class, where workers each do one job to be as efficient as humanly possible. He and his colleagues barely have any breaks, working non-stop. Chaplin’s character was also used as a guinea pig by the scientists and the factory owner to test machines for making the work even more efficient to the point where they would try to take away their lunch breaks. I believe that this part of the movie represented scientific management (Taylorism) a lot because they were trying out all of the new scientific and engineering ways for making the most of the labor productivity and that only shows how eager and desperate to improve and to make more people were. We can see in what ways scientific management intensified the demands of work. It became nearly impossible for people to work because the environment became stiff and unsatisfying which made the employees unhappy as opposed to the previous times when people were willing and excited to work. All of that crushed individuals because people couldn’t take that kind of pressure to do the same tas,k for 8 hours straight, not get tired during that time, and be sure to do everything with no mistakes. And even though Taylorism had value to the production, employers stumbled upon resemblance from the workers due to impossibly high work standards which only worsened already existing conflicts between employees and management.

    Because people wanted to produce more and more the human workers became just a small addition to the new machinery world. We can see how the “tyranny of the machines” dictated the pace, and the work scale, dehumanized people’s communication and made the behavior of individuals robot-like. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the machines were used to try and feed the workers so that they wouldn’t waste time on lunch breaks. At some point in the movie, there is a scene where a vast machine swallows Charlie’s character and digests him right into its heart. I feel like it’s an excellent metaphor for effedrivers escapedcts century for the situation in the newly industrialized world of new technologies that leave no place for human wo markers. All of that drivers escaped the main character crazy, and he is sent to the mental health clinic to recover from the enormous amount of work and stress.

    From that point where Charlie’s character and Paulette’s character meet we can see a representation of the life back in those times. A scene where they finally find a job together at a restaurant shows the audience that even though thee were hardships of that time, unemployment, the Great Depressionthei and poor people on the streets, there were still rich people. They still went to the department stores and restaurants. And not only rich people, but everyone wanted to be entertained. I guess it was a way for them to picture a better life, remember that there still are reasons to smile. It was a way for them to ease their mind at least a little. I think this part of the movie shows that the entertainment was still relevant and growing in popularity.

    It was both an exciting andmarkersdevastating time for everyone. With a total twist and change in how things always were in the society came the new realization of life, the new technology, the new style of living, and, most importantly thriving. It was a turning point in the history of the United States since which the progression has only been going up. I enjoyed this movie a lot because of how it was filmed: even though it may look like a comedy for entertainment purposes only, if you look deeper you can see that Charlie Chaplin tried his best to cover and represent all the problems of the beginning of the Progressive era. He filmed it so that anyone would be able to enjoy it and laugh at it and finish watching it with a knowledge of what happened, with thoughts on what is right and wrong for our society. Because even though the business world is growing we must never forget about who is behind all the work: human beings.

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