Down a dark alley…

The idea of dark, dank and lonely city life has been explored through a multitude of books and films. One of the more well known films of this sub-genre is Martin Scorese’s “Taxi Driver” where the story follows Travis Bickle, the protagonist, a mentally disturbed Vietnam veteran. Through the eyes of Travis we see the taxi shifts and day-to-day life in city and it exposes several examples of the dark irony of city life. Some critics believe that the ‘Taxi Driver’ was an unrealistic film, but this is missing the point that it is from Travis’ perspective which becomes more and more affected by his environment.


An ironic notion of city life, is that with such a huge collection and diversity of people, the city can take on an overwhelming bland face. In a metropolitan area, the mundane is normal and almost everything is mass produced. This feeling has been captured by several impressionist artists throughout the 20th century. The most famous could perhaps be the “Golconda” by Rene Magritte which was in turn inspired by the poem “The Man in the Bowler Hat” by A.S.J. Tessimond who also sought to capture this anonymity. This conformityis forced onto city inhabitants and those who don’t comply are cast aside.

Golconda – Rene Magritte

Despite being a huge centre of money for a nation there is the ironic fact there alongside this huge money flow is the greatest level of poor and homeless individuals with cities. The reason behind this is because of the straight standard that cities reward and the diversity which it destroys. The promise of riches and fame that await you with a city is a complete fabrication, further more it will suck anyone dry who believes this “Dream of success in the city” even in the slightest. The result of this is a cut-throat mentality where on the devious or the wicked survive and crime is rampart.

The success bringing attitude of “just looking out for No.1” which the city life rewards creates perhaps the greatest ironic notion so far. Despite being a centre of huge population and immensely crowded cities are the loneliest places on Earth.  

Surrounded by people but not being able to open up and interact with anyone because of an idiotic dog-eat-dog mentality is what eventually causes Travis Bickle from ‘Taxi Driver’ to go on a murderous rampage in which he sees himself as cleaning the dark, dank and lonely streets of New York City. It through the actions of Tavis that we can see the soulless  crowded and overwhelming true nature, representing the lowest point of human development.

” Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonely man… June 8th. My life has taken another turn again. The days can go on with regularity over and over, one day indistinguishable from the next.
A long continuous chain. “

[I was tasked to create a persuasive piece that argued against city life, using the prompt, “Cities represent the lowest point of human development.” So obvious not all these opinion are mine but I did think I made some good points.]


If you want to make any arguments against these statements go ahead in the comments, they would be very welcome!


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