Mirroring vulnerability: Fear and shame in the judge

J. S. Dasmesh Kaur, Raihanah Mohd Mydin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper examines the estranged father-son relationship in the 2014 American drama film The Judge and explores how the protagonist, Judge Palmer, and his son, Hank, negotiate between their remorse at failing to form filial attachment and their continued defiance towards reconciliation. Both characters appear to mirror one another's emotional disconnection as each isolates himself in a cocoon of invisibility and lack of interaction. This mirroring gesture is a motif that recurs throughout the film, making evident the internal and external conflicts of the narrative. The finding of the study indicates that the judge's fear and shame i.e. his inner conflict, is rooted in the numbing of his emotions towards his second son. The finding also indicates that only by accepting the aspect of fear and shame does the protagonist learn to admit both his past failure and his current estrangement from his son. This recognition of his fear and shame, as the investigation illustrates, leads to a recognition of his vulnerability. The construct of vulnerability used in this discussion can be defined as the empowering awareness of one's fragility in the face of conflict. Judge Palmer's acknowledgement of his fear and shame allowed him to understand and recognise the conflict he faced with his son, Hank. The implication of this reading is that when each man embraces his fear and shame through a sense of awareness of his past failures, the filial conflict between them begins to be resolved and the estrangement between the father and son appears to mend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalPertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities
Volume24
Issue numberFebruary
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Fingerprint

shame
vulnerability
anxiety
father
reconciliation
drama
Shame
Mirroring
Vulnerability
emotion
narrative
lack
interaction
Emotion

Keywords

  • Fear
  • Mirroring
  • Numbing
  • Shame
  • The Judge
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Mirroring vulnerability : Fear and shame in the judge. / Dasmesh Kaur, J. S.; Mohd Mydin, Raihanah.

In: Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Vol. 24, No. February, 01.02.2016, p. 109-118.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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