Characterization of Mookie in Do the Right Thing

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Characterization of Mookie in Do the Right Thing

Introduction

The movie, Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee, is set in a Brooklyn, a place that experiences social ills, which may determine the development of a person’s character. The story line is about the experiences of an African American in the character of Mookie, who is played by Spike Lee. Even though the environment within context is ill, Mookie acts as a good person who knows how to always do the right thing. Mookie makes the right decisions in the urban environment in which the he lives against the odds which he faces. Eventually, Mookie is not able to help in reducing the tension between Sal and Raheem. This tension eventually leads to the climax of the movie, which comes from systematic conflicts that the director of the film brings. This essay reviews the importance of the urban environment in the development of Mookie’s character.

The basis of cause of drama in movie is caused conflict of interests among people with divergent opinions. In Do the Right Thing, the most outstanding theme is conflict, as depicted in almost all the elements of the movie. The creation of conflict by the director is so effective that the movie critics have involved in supporting certain characters while discussing the issues in the movie. This is obvious because a movie, just like other artistic works, is a reflection of what happens in the society. Do the Right Thing covers politics of the American society as a reflection of what the society does; hence, it would be wrong to isolate the Spike Lee’s political perspectives. The two extreme viewpoints that are taken by the movie critics depict the American people’s take on racial conflicts rather than the political ones, as created by the author.

An audience, trying to grasp any meaning of the unfolding events in the film, constantly meets conflict. As the film is set, these conflicts are caused by the characters in the movie. There are at least 124 conflicts between the characters in Do the Right Thing. For example, when Sal asks Radio Raheem to switch off his boom-box, there is an eruption of conflict where Raheem says “Yo! Put some more mozzarella on that motherfucker n’ shit,” on top of his voice (Do the Right Thing). Race-based issues are dominant in the movie, but hat is not the only concern.

The real moment when the director of the movies depicts high tension between characters is when D. J Mister Senor Love Daddy causes commotion with his radio alarm. After the alarm rings, Mookie wakes Jade, his sister, up. Jade is very upset about Mookie’s call, because the day is Saturday, and she expects to sleep longer. Mookie’s persistence to wake her up makes Jade irritate her, and she replies, “Shouldn’t you be at work?” (Do the Right Thing). These two characters are related by blood, and there should not be high tension between two members in the family, as depicted in the film. The urban environment disrespects the value of family ties, as the case may tell. The siblings’ lack of understanding is an indication that the family, as a basic unit of the society, is dysfunctional. In real life, Lee has four kids, and his experiences in the family may have been the motivation towards to show familial tension as one of the main themes in the movie.

The movie also tells the audience something that is common in the neighbourhood, namely, sexual tension. Through Mookie, the director demonstrates the effect of sexual flirtation. Jade flirts with Sal, and this invokes Mookie and Pino, as evidenced by the reactions from their faces. Moreover, Mother Sister also flirts with Mayor in order to improve their relationship. The flirtations in the relationships highlighted are intended to annoy those witnessing them. While the other relationships invoke negative reactions, Mookie and Tina seem to be doing the right thing. Nonetheless, their relationship faces problems due to Mookie’s failure to take responsibilities. As a result, he is constantly reminded by Jade and Tina to face the challenges by fulfilling his responsibilities. Mookie’s relationship with Tina demonstrate the gendered stereotype in the society, where the females are seen as constantly nagging and conscientious, while the males are seen as irresponsible people.

Sal and Mookie are in constant confrontations due to Mookie stinginess to perform his duties as an employee. Buggin’ has a catch phrase “stay black” (Do the Right Thing), which brings another racial dimension in the movie. Buggin’ yells this phrase to Mookie in order to remind Mookie that he ought to perform his duties at the plaace of work without being reminded. This is a racial connotation because of that fact that Mookie’s race should take orders from the employer. Both the title of the movie and the climax results from the responsibilities of the employees at the place of work. Raheem dies because of the failure to do the right thing. As a result of this death, Sal pizzeria meets with failure. This would have been avoided if Sal yielded to the demand of the employee to include African American pictures on the wall as well. Jade laments that Buggin’ should have been “...down for something good in the community,” (Do the Right Thing). Mookie’s depiction as the good guy would have helped quell the tension between Raheem and Sal before the tragedy struck. However, the failure of Mookie’s intervention makes Lee build the tension between individual characters to the final point, where everything crumbles, as the characters are trapped in an environment of conflict and tension. The climax and the title of the movie are clear: people can change the society in which they live by simply doing the right thing.

CONCLUSION

The director of the movie Do the Right Thing built the character of Mookie in a difficult social context. The society lacks relationship discipline, which in turn causes sexual tension. Moreover, there is familial tension that distorts the harmonious manner in which siblings should interact with themselves and the way parents should raise their children. The most fundamental issue that arises from the film is the tension between the different races. While Raheem and Mookie are employees at Sal’s pizzeria, their employer is abusive. Mookie does the right thing, and he is not agitated by Sal’s remarks. Raheem is a victim of the racial tensions that are created by Buggin’ and Sal.

These events show the level of tension that exists in the society on issues of gender, sexual relationships, and race. Everybody has the responsibility to do the right thing in order to make a change. This is because aggression cannot be met with aggression, and if the human race loses focus, there will be a great threat to harmonious coexistence in society. Hence, this movie is a reflection of how the issues that affect a given society may lead to erosion of good moral values that mankind should aim at upholding. 

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