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Introduction Bonnie Parker Thelma Dickinson & Louise Sawyer
Alabama Worley Conclusion Femme Finale

      Through the comparison of Bonnie & Clyde, Thelma & Louise, and True Romance one can see an obvious progression of the female character in the contemporary American road film. Where Bonnie never moves further than assuming Clyde’s persona, and Thelma and Louise spend most of their journey trying to get past the person put upon them, Alabama is free to move ahead to her desires. Already defined, she acts as vixen, wife, warrior, heroine, and mother; waiting for no lead or pressure, just doing it on her own. Alabama, acting as narrator of the film, automatically sets up the audience for a successful ending. In this respect, Bonnie, Thelma, and Louise never had a chance. When the credits open on Bonnie’s story, the names change from white to red, alluding to the ultimate bloody demise of both characters. In Thelma & Louise, the opening shot is of an endless dirt road in the middle of the Arizona desert. This scene certainly reflects the futility of their flight and the endless search for ‘self’ later to be portrayed in the film. The snapshots in both Bonnie & Clyde and Thelma & Louise work to pre-determine their fate. In Bonnie & Clyde, the snapshots help to make them famous and end up immortalizing them, making them legends. Before Thelma and Louise go on their journey, they take a photo of themselves. Echoing Bonnie & Clyde, this picture makes them legendary, and is ironically blown out of the car before they drive over the cliff, landing at the feet of the policeman trying to save them. While this last action may seem autonomous and noble, it is not really their own in that it too closely mirrors similar actions shown in the legendary movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Some might make the same comparison between Bonnie & Clyde and True Romance, calling it a "Bonnie and Clyde of the nineties." This comparison remains pretty superficial in that the only similarity is the "guy and girl take to the road" theme.

      Where Bonnie can be seen as the ‘birth’ of the contemporary female character, living as an ‘imaginary’ self to Clyde’s reality, Thelma and Louise can be seen as the dissatisfaction with that ‘self’ and a movement to another. Bonnie initially appears fragmented and naked, later becoming re-born in a car seat to Clyde’s instruction. Thelma and Louise come to represent the dissatisfaction with this occurrence, imparting on their own journey, conscious and conversing: "I’m sorry it was you that did it and not me...Something’s crossed over in me...I can’t go back...I feel wide awake," with one eye on the road ahead (Louise driving) and one eye looking back to their past (Thelma repeatedly shown looking in the side-view mirror). Alabama in True Romance, gets to physically actualize the ‘real’ on a road previously paved by these women. She is the culmination. Where Bonnie is born to emulate and die, and Thelma and Louise are dissatisfied voices who die reaching for the ‘real’, Alabama just is.

References Cited
"Bonnie and Clyde." Filmfacts, (September 15, 1967)

Gianetti, Louis D. G-dard and others. New jersey, Associated University Press, 1975.

Greenburg, Harvey. "The Many Faces of Thelma and Louise." Film Quarterly, (January 1992)

Kael, Pauline. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. Boston. Little, Brown, and Co., 1968.

Hopper, Dennis: "Blood Lust Snicker, Snicker." Grandstreet, (Summer, 1994)

Lacan, J. The Four Fundamental concepts of Psychoanalysis. New York and London, Norton, 1981.

Penley, Constance. Feminism and Film Theory. New York, Rutledge, 1988.

Rosen, Marjorie. Popcorn Venus. New York, Coward, 1973.

Seldon, Raman. A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory. Kentucky, University Press, 1985.

Shannon, Claude E. / Weaver, W. (1949). "Recent contributions to the mathematical theory of communication." In, The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana, IL: U. of Illinois Press.

Smelik, Anneke. And the Mirror Cracked. Great Britian, MacMillan Press Ltd, 1998.

Bonnie and Clyde
Directed by Arthur Penn
Writing credits: Robert Benton and David Newman (III)
Runtime: USA:111
Country: USA

Thelma and Louise
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Callie Khouri
Runtime: USA 129
Country: USA

True Romance Directed by Tony Scott
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Runtime: USA:120
Country: USA

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