The Truman Show - A Metaphorical Analysis

"Truman feels that there is something more to life that he can't see and he decides that all of those fears that have kept him from leaving Seahaven and achieving his dreams are not going to stop him anymore."

I am examining the 1998 Jim Carrey film entitled "The Truman Show." This movie is not only filled with 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 with the use of metaphors. Truman is the main character and he is the star of a realty television show. The only problem is that he doesn't know his life is the subject of a television show. He lives in a gigantic studio that encases the population and the land of a small island city 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 crew constantly must find ways to stop him from figuring out his life is a T.V. show and they constantly must stop him from leaving Seahaven. The plot of the movie takes place when Truman decides that nothing is going to stop him from achieving his dreams and becoming a champion and he takes the audience on his journey that follows through with that decision.

There are three major themes throughout the film. The first major theme is that of 'the big picture,' or 'a world within a world.' Since Truman lives in a television studio and doesn't know the outside world exists, he is not able to see the big picture. The audience can relate because all of mankind 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 that we now live is not all there is to life because we can't see the big picture. The world within a world can also be a metaphor for those times in life when people attempt to achieve a goal or a dream and put forth work to obtain it without knowing ahead of time if they will succeed or fail.

The second major theme is that of fear. In order to get through life or in order to achieve a dream or goal people need to conquer their fears. Losing, failure, pain, discouragement, frustration, etc., are all examples of obstacles to fear. All of these obstacles are capable of stopping someone from achieving their dreams. Truman lives on an island and is afraid of the water. To see if there is anything else to life, Truman must conquer his fear of water. The sea is also a metaphor of all the obstacles to stop someone. There are storms, sharks, waves, winds and the sea is also vast.

The third theme is that of perseverance. Perseverance has many names including commitment, determination, dedication, consistency, or never giving up or never quitting. These are just some of the names that all mean to keep going forward no matter how hard, difficult, painful, or discouraging things may get. Never quitting is the absolute toughest thing a human being can do because it means that one must confront and conquer over fear. Those that can do it achieve, accomplish, and obtain anything. Sooner or later if someone is determined enough to find a way they will. Nothing can stop a person from trying just one more time no matter how many times someone might fail. Crossing the sea takes an extreme amount of perseverance to eventually get past all the 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 can't see and he decides that all of those fears that have kept him from leaving Seahaven and achieving his dreams are not going to stop him anymore. Due to his complete determination Truman finds the 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 he decides who he is.

Author: Timothy McGaffin II

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