Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Insects in Blue Velvet

Throughout Blue Velvet, there is the reoccurring use of insects. Insects are the most diverse group of organisms on Earth and live in every hospitable and inhospitable climate on the planet. No matter where we go or what we do, insects are constantly surrounding us, whether we are aware of their existence or not; similar to people’s immoral, wickedness. I think that in Blue Velvet, insects are used to symbolize the darker flaws of society.

In the opening of the film, right after Jeffrey’s father dies of a heart attack, the camera zooms into the pristine, green grass, delving deeper and deeper into the ground. Soon, the lush suburban lawn is crawling with hundreds of stark black, terribly loud, crawling beetles. Right underneath the perfect Lumberton yard, an entire colony of unpleasant bugs is teeming with life, while within Jeffrey’s picture-perfect life, whole worlds of unjust, unpleasant things are occurring that he is completely oblivious to until he begins to investigate the severed ear.

Jeffrey soon devises a plan to get into Dorothy’s apartment by posing as an insect exterminator and while he plays the phony exterminator, another man arrives at Dorothy’s door. There is nothing particularly note-worthy about the man at the door other than his obvious wickedness and his bright yellow coat. Yellow coats in the business world are not the norm, so it’s clear that the director is trying to get some sort of message across. After this scene, Jeffrey refers to the man as the Yellow Man. His yellow jacket could be a reference to the stinging, feared insect, the yellow jacket.

In the closing scene, after everything is resolved, a robin comes to Jeffrey’s kitchen window and eats a still moving beetle. The main problem at hand has been fixed, but the world is still swarming with problematic pests.

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