We’re analyzing a scene from The Town.
For part 1 of this study, looking at the beats and power play between Doug and Jem, go here.
For part 2, looking at exposition, go here.
In this post we’ll explore how theme emerges from dialogue, thematic subtext from text.
Into the scene:
So, what’s going on here in the way of exposition? What are we being exposed to thematically?
Later, at the end of the scene, we find out that Jem’s family took Doug in when his dad went to prison. Doug obviously started to fuck Krista, Jem’s sister – who isn’t mentioned by name here. Krista got pregnant, had a daughter, and from this we learn that she doesn’t know who the father is. Next, Doug, in quite an eloquent way, basically tells Jem his sister was a slut:
…there aren’t enough free clinics here in Mattapan to find out who the father of that kid is.
But this section of the scene is working subtextually on two more levels – interconnected by theme.
1. Krista & Shyne.
Krista’s motherly love for her daughter Shyne is the reason she later sacrifices her brother and Doug, giving them up to the FBI.
2. Doug’s mother.
When Doug asks his dad, on a visit to prison, why he didn’t look for his mother when she walked out on them, Doug’s dad says ‘because there was ‘nothing to find.’
He infers because Doug’s mother was no different to all the other single parent girls he sees on the projects ‘fucking around’ – was no different, in fact, to Krista.
So, underlying this section of dialogue, ostensibly conflict between Doug and Jem about the identity of Shyne’s father, is one of The Town’s major themes: parenthood and its absence.