The issue of authority and respect has been and will be an ongoing issue between youngsters and their elderly. In the story Red Dress by Alice Munro and the movie Rebel without a Cause by Nicholas Ray the issue of authority and respect comes up many times through the character actions. Authority and respect is directly linked to one another. It is very hard to obey supremacy if you have no respect for authority. In both the works we have studied, all the characters have trouble dealing with the issues of authority and respect for themselves and for others, they do not show respect to their parents and therefore does not look upon them as authority figures.
In Alice Munro’s the Red Dress, the narrator and her best friend Lonnie have two totally different relationships with their respective guardians. The narrator, without the mention of her father, is in care of her mother, whom she thinks butts in too much into her business. She sort of resents her mother for being so too close and nosy about her private life. Her mother’s stories, which at one point seemed interesting to her, is now ‘become melodramatic, irrelevant, and tiresome’. She knows that her mother only means well but sometimes she wishes she could be like Lonnie. Lonnie is in care of her father; her mother had passed away some time before. Her father never notices her and does not show his affection for her, she is pretty much on her own. The narrator considers her as a ‘Blue-Baby’ and privileged. The narrator also sees her mother as ‘shameless and obscene’; she tries to direct her friend’s attention away from her mother as much as possible. In the story, we are told by the narrator that she was ‘never comfortable for a minute’ in high school and ‘was close to despair at all times’. She hated being called upon to do anything in front of an audience, whether it is the class or just the teacher. She reveals that she hasn’t accepted herself as who she is, always wishing to be like someone else, she hasn’t learned to respect herself as a growing teenager which makes it hard for her to understand the relationship between her mother and herself. Since she lacks the proper understanding and respect for her mother and herself, the narrator has trouble seeing her mother as an authoritative figure, which makes her less tolerant to the other authoritative figures in her surroundings.
In the case of Rebel without a Cause, the main characters want to respect their parents. They want to have normal relationships with them but cannot seize it. They go out to look for it elsewhere instead. Which makes the audience feel sympathizing towards them. They are identity-seeking teenagers alienated from the world by their parents. Jim, Judy and John a.k.a. Plato is searching for understanding, companionship, and a sense of belonging. Jim is confused about his family as to who should be the ‘man of the household’. He sees his father as a ‘chicken’ and he does not in anyway want to become like him. He wishes he could see his father as a man, someone he can respect and someone with authority. Judy has communication problems with her parents throughout the movie. She wishes for her father to show more affection for her. She seeks attention with her friends who are seen as trouble making teens. Plato has been deserted by his parents long ago and struggles to maintain any kind of relationship with anybody. His actions, the shooting of the puppies, the constant lying to establish any interest of his companions, show how emotionally-disturbed and desperate he is for any kind of relationship with anyone. He searches for connection, someone to become his family. Close to the end of the movie, Jim, Judy and Plato meet up in an abandoned mansion and pretend to be a family. They learn to respect and accept each other for who they are they don’t pretend to be anyone else. They find comfort within themselves and in a way, becomes each other’s family.
Authority and respect is indeed linked to each other. Before finding respect