The Truman Show: A Metaphorical Analysis
Posted On August 3, 2022
I’m looking at the 1998 Jim Carrey movie titled “The Truman Show.” This movie is not only full of metaphors, it is a metaphor itself. I will discuss what the metaphors are in the film, their meaning and how they tell the story.
The purpose of this film is to inspire the audience by relating the life of a certain individual to their own lives through the use of metaphors. Truman is the main character and is the star of a real estate TV show. The only problem is that he doesn’t know that his life is the subject of a TV show. He lives in a gigantic studio that encloses the population and land of a small island town called Seahaven. 24 hours a day his life is broadcast live to the rest of the world. In order to keep the show running, the team must constantly find ways to keep him from finding out his life is a TV show and they must keep him from constantly leaving Seahaven. The plot of the film takes place when Truman decides that nothing will stop him from achieving his dreams of becoming a champion and takes the audience on his journey following that decision.
There are three main themes throughout the film. The first main theme is that of the ‘big picture’ or ‘a world within a world’. Because Truman lives in a television studio and doesn’t know the outside world exists, he can’t see the big picture. The audience can relate because all of humanity has been trying to figure out the meaning of our existence here on earth. Many people have a similar belief or at least hope that there is life after death and the life we now live is not all there is to life because we cannot see the big picture. The world within a world can also be a metaphor for those moments in life when people try to achieve a goal or a dream and strive to achieve it without knowing in advance if they will achieve it or not.
The second main theme is that of fear. To get through life or to achieve a dream or a goal, people need to conquer their fears. Loss, failure, pain, discouragement, frustration, etc., are all examples of obstacles to fear. All of these obstacles are capable of preventing someone from achieving their dreams. Truman lives on an island and is afraid of water. To see if there is more to life, Truman must overcome his fear of water. The sea is also a metaphor for all the obstacles to stop someone. There are storms, sharks, waves, winds and the sea is also huge.
The third theme is that of perseverance. Perseverance goes by many names including commitment, determination, dedication, consistency, or never giving up or never giving up. These are just a few of the names that mean to keep going no matter how hard, difficult, painful or discouraging things get. Never giving up is the hardest thing a human being can do because it means one must confront and overcome fear. Those who can do it achieve, achieve and obtain anything. Sooner or later, if someone is determined enough to find a way, he will. Nothing can stop a person from trying one more time, no matter how many times someone might fail. Crossing the sea requires an extreme amount of perseverance to finally overcome all obstacles and reach the shore on the other side where our goals and dreams lie.
Truman feels that there is something more to life that he cannot see and decides that all those fears that have prevented him from leaving Seahaven and achieving his dreams are not going to stop him anymore. Due to his utter determination, Truman finds a way out of the studio and into a real world. He is the True Man because he refuses to let the world decide who he is, and rather decides who he is.