Rebel Without A Cause

Jim Stark

Character Traits:

In the beginning of Rebel Without A Cause, we meet main character, Jim Stark as he is being taken to the police station. At first, it seems like Jim is just a defiant juvenile. He wanders the streets drunkenly, fights with his parents, tries to punch a cop, stays out past curfew, and even races cars. But as the movie continues, we find that Jim is just an insecure teenager. Jim is repeatedly called a chicken, which upsets him very much. We figure out that this is because Jim is unsure of himself or how to be a man. It is because of the insecurity that Jim feels the need to prove himself. Towards the end of the movie, our view of Jim changes as we realize that he is actually quite a trustworthy and sincere man. Jim says himself, "I've never done anything right" but he wants to do something right for a change. Jim goes to the police after the chickie race in an attempt to actually do something right. He also takes care of Judy and Plato and makes them feel loved and like they belong.


Jim's major problem with his family is that he has never known what it means to be a man. Jim constantly looks to his father to learn this, but his father never manages to show him how to be a man. It is because of this that Jim has become a rebel. He doesn't know how to act like a man so he does things that he thinks make people manly, which actually just result in more trouble for him. One of Jim's biggest pet peeve's is people calling him "chicken". This makes him so upset because when people call him this, he knows they're questioning his manliness which makes him feel like he needs to do stupid, "manly" things to prove himself.

Jim's Evolution:

I think that Jim definitely changed during the course of this movie. He starts out as a defiant, insecure teenage boy. But throughout his experiences with his dysfunctional family, his new love interest, Judy, and his new friend, Plato, I think Jim truly learns what it means to be a man. Jim learns how to care for people and learns that protecting the people you care about is one of the manliest things someone can do.

Symbols: The Mansion

The mansion that Jim, Judy, and Plato go to symbolizes for them the "perfect" family. While they are in the mansion, they all act as though they are grown adults touring the home. They talk about how lovely life is and how annoying children are. They act as though nothing is wrong and there is no amount of dysfunction. I believe that the mansion, for these characters, symbolized what they believed to be the perfect family.

Theme: Belonging and Family

I think belonging and family is the most important theme of this movie. The reason I think this is because all of the kids problems seem to be centered around their family or feeling like they belong. It is because of the fact that these kids don't feel like they belong that they rebel. I think that this movie teaches about the importance family and belonging.

Rank the characters in order of most disturbed to least disturbed and explain...

Plato: I think Plato is the most disturbed because his parents aren't there for him at all and that has really messed him up psychologically. It even got so far that he had no conscious about shooting puppies and even cops.

Jim: I think Jim is the next in line because he's not exactly psychologically messed up, but he is very confused and conflicted by manliness. He looks to his dad for help, but he is none which just confuses him even more, causing him to rebel.

Judy: I think Judy is the least disturbed of all the characters because her only issue seems to be the fact that she no longer gets as much attention from her father. Rather than this being a psychological issue, it is more an issue of Judy being needy.

By: Trenna Boyd