Harold And Maude Essay, Research Paper
Harold and Maude
In the movie Harold and Maude, Harold is a young boy out of place in the world. He is obsessed with death and grief. Maude comes along and teaches him how to live his life and discover his true individuality. She adopts Harold and tries to bring him out of his depression and put him back in to the world as a person. Maude s obsession with life and Harold s obsession with death makes an interesting movie with an even more interesting moral.
In the Greenhouse scene, Maude is describing what type of flower she would like to be. She chooses the sunflower, due to its tallness and simplicity. She then to Harold and asks him what type of flower he would like to be. Harold then gestures to a field of seemingly similar Daisies. Maude asks why and Harold answers, “Because they’re all alike”. Maude then reacts emotionally saying “Oh, but they’re not! She explains to Harold that even though that these flowers seem alike they aren t. She describes that each flower is different in its own individual and special way.
She is trying to teach Harold to realize the individuality in everything, even if they appear alike because nothing is ever alike, Maude also wants Harold to see the individuality within him self and be able to respect it no matter what society wants him to be or become.
Maude continues to explain to Harold that people who look like this, referring to the individual Daisy in her hand, but allow themselves to be treated as that, referring to a seemingly similar field of Daises. What Maude tries to tell Harold is that he, like the daisy, is an individual. So he shouldn t be treated or want to be treated like the similarly seeming daises. As the next frame shows a graveyard in which all the tombstones are exactly alike, even though the people represented by them aren t. Yet, they are buried as if they were all the same, like the field of Daises.
Harold s mother in this movie represents society, her being a wealthy socialite herself, and pushes Howard to become more “normal” and there for less as an individual. She tries to put him in the army; in which all solders are taught basically the same and pretty much do the same things. If one were to look at the army, they probably would see less individuality than in the rest of the world. Harold and Maude realize this and construct a plan to prevent his acceptance into the army. They put their individual skills in to creating a plan. If Harold had become a “normal person” and put aside his ability to act and create dramatic situations, he would never have had the ability to scare off his right handed uncle.
Harold s mother also tried to make him more normal or at least less strange individual by buying a supposedly popular car. She thinks that he will become more “in” with the “crowd”. This only causes his new respect for his individuality to burst out and with his individual talents he is able to make this car more representative of himself and not anyone else.
When his mother brings in some setups for Harold to meet, he tries to scare them off with his strangeness. He succeeds in doing so with all of them except one. The last one he is unable to scare her away, because she respects ones individuality. She being an actress exposes her to her own individuality as a performer and others personal creativity. She sees Harold as a talented performer and a respectable individual.
In the end Harold is able to live and respect life and his individualism. He learns this from his lover Maude. With Harold s newfound respect for himself he can now live as a true human. Being human by nature makes us different, otherwise our species would never evolve. If we all tried to be the same all our individual human talents and abilities would be lost. This I think is what Harold learned from Maude, how to live.