Lester Burnham's Rebellion In Sam Mendes American Beauty

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“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion” -Albert Camus. The act of rebellion is a means for a person to become someone he/she wants to be in a more radical way. In Sam Mendes’s, American Beauty, we watch as Roger Ebert puts it, “Lester Burnham, the hero of ‘American Beauty’... [and] the story of his rebellion” (Ebert pg.1). Lester Burnham rebels not against society as a whole but the society he lives in, we follow him as he slowly breaks his societal norms and becomes the happy man he wants to be. Early on the movie starts off with a very sombre tone as Lester starts out saying, “And in a way, I'm dead already"(Ball 1). Claiming that he is already dead inside…show more content…
I didn't lose it. It's not like, "Oops, where'd my job go?" I quit. Someone pass me the asparagus… I'm sick and tired of being treated like I don't exist. You two do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it and I don't complain. All I want is the same courtesy”(Ball 54,55). Lester’s anger festers until he snaps at both Carolyn and Jane. He acts almost like a more mature teenager trying to express what he wants but still reflects his rebellious not caring ways. The thing is Lester is not asking for anything insane, he basically just wants the same respect they get. Eventually, Lester’s insane ways are brought out when Carolyn comes home to a new care in the driveway. When she asks who’s car it is Lester responds by saying, “Mine. 1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car I always wanted and now I have it. I rule!”(Ball 60). Not only is Lester acting like a five year old who got a new toy but his goes against his wife and buys a new car. This isn’t just a car to him, this is what he has “ALWAYS” wanted, He does it to be happy. Lester is not an idiot nor is he being mean by purchasing this car. He just wants to be happy, in the end after talking with Angela he discovers that Jane is doing great Angela asks him how he is doing. “God, it's been a long time since anybody asked me that...I'm great”(Ball 85), Lester can finally say that he is truly happy. Though he has a destroyed marriage, a terrible form of income, and no friends of any sort Lester’s rebellion got him his ultimate goal. Happiness, and he dies full of it, staring at an old photo of his family, smiling until he takes a bullet to the

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