Jim Stark, the Son of a Chicken

Rebel Without a Cause Character Analysis


Jim's family finds themselves moving from town to town running away from the trouble Jim gets into. He also struggles making friends and fitting in with the kids at school. To distract himself from all of his problems, Jim gets drunk quite often and fights with his parents. Jim Stark is a bit of an outsider.


Throughout Jim's life, he's dealt with his parents incessant arguing. Though they love him, Jim never receives the love and support he so desperately needs. It bothers Jim that he never sees his father stand up to his mother, and he wishes that he would just hit her. Jim doesn't understand why his father feels threatened by his mother.


In the beginning of the movie, Jim is quite lonely due to his family moving around so much. Because of his tendency to be an outsider, Jim lacks the skills required to make friends. The only people he's usually around are his parents. In this movie he makes some of his first, and closest, friends (Judy and Plato).
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Jim is very compassionate because he cares about Plato. He knows that Plato has had a rough childhood and needs a role model. Even though Jim isn't Plato's father, he understands that Plato views him as a father figure because he's never had one. If he wasn't compassionate, he wouldn't allow Plato to treat him like anything more than just a friend.

Why is Jim afraid of being called a ¨chicken¨?

JIm doesn't want to be called a chicken because he doesn't want to be like his dad. He sees his dad get pushed around by his mother, and he hates him for it. He doesn't want to be cowardly, so refuses to say no to a challenge.