eng300 midterm - Jonathan Zatz Question 2 If a person's...

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Jonathan Zatz Question 2 If a person’s goal is to be successful and further their position in life it is inevitable that one must be adept at the notion of contingency. Boaz Yakin clearly makes this point in the film Fresh (1994). Although Fresh’s (Sean Nelson) natural ability for contingency leads him to be successful at something illegal, it can be read as a metaphor for success in any field and in life. The environment in which Fresh lives is extremely volatile and ever-changing. As is made apparent throughout the film the world of drugs can be great for someone one moment and potentially fatal the next. The same could be said when playing a game of chess; on one move you believe you are ahead of your opponent and then before you know it you have lost the game. It is in this manner that Yakin uses chess as a metaphor for dealing drugs and also establishes the importance of contingency in relation to survival. Through his chess training with his father (Samuel L. Jackson) Fresh quickly picks up on the importance of contingency. He then starts to implement this concept when dealing drugs and balancing his loyalty between rival drug dealers. The biggest difference between Fresh and the drug dealers he works for is that he is thinking ten steps ahead (as one would in chess) and they are only concerned with the present. An example of this is when Fresh reveals to Esteban (Giancarlo Esposito) that his sister has been sleeping with a rival drug dealer. Instead of thinking about contingencies or consequences, Esteban goes right ahead and retaliates with force and kills many people. This point in the movie signified the beginning of the end for Esteban as it becomes apparent to the audience that he is playing into Fresh’s contingency plans. It is in this 1
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manner that Fresh begins to flourish in a contingent world and Esteban fails due to his lack of contingency. Fresh understands the importance of manipulation when dealing with contingencies. Niccolo Machiavelli states: “The experience of our own time shows that those princes who had little regard for their word and had the craftiness to turn men’s minds have accomplished great things and, in the end, have overcome those who governed their actions by their pledges.” 1 An example of how Fresh uses his craftiness and manipulative ways is the manner in which he gets Corky (Ron Brice) to kill Jake (Jean-Claude La Marre). The scene that depicts this is almost a direct relation to Machiavelli’s statement; Fresh uses his “word” to convince Corky that Jake was disloyal and by doing so becomes one step closer to his ultimate goal. Fresh uses pure manipulation to turn these two against each other and to play right into his master plan of contingency. The defining characteristic that leads to the demise of the drug dealers and the
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eng300 midterm - Jonathan Zatz Question 2 If a person's...

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