Describe a positive or negative relationship in the text.
Explain how this relationship was important to the text as a whole.
In the film Parasite directed by Bong Joon Ho, a negative relationship is between the Parks and the Kims. In the film, the Parks are portrayed as a wealthy family, and the Kims are showcased as a poor working-class family. This relationship was important as a whole as it clearly illustrated the key ideas that social inequality is harmful to society and the false consciousness of the working class. These ideas are important to the text as a whole as they showcase the death and destruction social inequality causes and how the only mobility in unequal societies is downward mobility. Bong uses various techniques such as camerawork, dialogue, motifs and symbolism to highlight these ideas effectively.
The idea that social inequality is harmful to society is important to the text as a whole because it proves the lack of empathy the rich have for the poor. Bong uses motifs and close-up shots to illustrate this. An example is Mr Park’s obsession with crossing the line. “if there is one thing I hate… it’s people who cross the line”. In the film, Mr Park creates a division between his fortunate and wealthy world and that of the working class, and he won’t let anyone whom he doesn’t deem worthy or equal to him cross it. This dehumanises the rich and the poor. In the film, a recurring motif ‘the stench of poverty’ is used to reinforce this idea. Close-up shots are repeatedly used to emphasise Mr Kim’s expression when the Parks make the action of holding their noses. “When you boil an old rag… it smells like that”. Mr Park makes sure to make it obvious that the smell emanating from Mr Kim is intolerable to him. The close-up shot of Mr Kim showcases how this makes him feel humiliated and degraded. and this degradation and humiliation is what led to Mr Kim killing Mr Park. Through this negative relationship between the contrasting families Kims and Parks viewers are able to understand that social inequality leads to death and destruction. These ideas are important to the text as a whole as they show how the lack of empathy for others can lead to the destruction of relationships, friends and lives. This relates to the wider world as research conducted by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson proves that in highly unequal societies people are more sensitive to being made feel inferior.
The negative relationship between the Kims and the Parks was important to the text as a whole as it showcased the idea of the false consciousness of the working class. This idea is important as it shows that in an unequal society, the only mobility is downward mobility. Bong uses dialogue and symbolism to effectively communicate this idea. In the film Kevin the only son of the Kim family receives a scholar rock from his friend Min, saying that it will bring his family material wealth. Kevin is repeatedly seen holding this rock because he thinks “it is so metaphorical”. The rock gives Kevin ‘false hope’ that his family can improve their position in society. This false hope is what leads the Kim family to lie, cheat, plot and manipulate their way into the Park household. In the film, the Kims are portrayed as having many attributes such as being clever, resourceful and adaptable. However, in the film, these talents are used to steal the jobs of the previous driver for the Park family Yoon, and the previous housekeeper Moon-Gwang. This shows that in unequal societies people’s talents are to be used in a negative way. it views society as a group of competing individuals. Kevin only realises that his hope is false when his life becomes worse than where he started. His sister is dead and his father is missing. However during the dream sequence even after Kevin places the scholar’s rock back in a stream, viewers see that Kevin continues this false hope. This is because those in the working class have no choice but to participate in the global capitalist society in order to survive. This is important to the text as a whole as it shows the vulnerability of the working class. Bong shows us that in unequal societies the only mobility is downward mobility. Bong’s purpose is to give viewers a forwarning of the future. This film is a call to action. If we do not change society and do not attempt to strive for equality then we have a bleak future ahead of us.
The negative relationship between the Parks and the Kims is important to the text as a whole as it shows the key ideas that social inequality is harmful to society and the false consciousness of the working class. The idea that social inequality is harmful to society was proven through the death and destruction it caused the characters in the film. The false consciousness of the working class demonstrates that in unequal societies the only mobility is downward mobility and how false hop can become a parasite in our lives. Bong wanted to reflect the truth of current times.