Chapter 9 - Tone and Theme

A History of Violence

Tone described: Unadorned, realistic, Norman Rockwell America with a dark cloud overhead. 

Tone illustrated: The unadorned realism comes first from the minutia of everyday family life, then from the violence, which is gritty and brutal, not the least bit glamorous or heroic. The easy-going camaraderie in Tom’s diner and the scenes where Tom shares a meal with family are pure Norman Rockwell. The dark cloud comes from Fogarty’s black car, black suit, and his menacing persistence. Later the dark cloud emanates from the suspicion Tom’s wife and son have for Tom. 

Theme: There is a violent streak in all of us, to be contained or not.  

A moment that illustrates the theme: Tom and his wife are normally very tender with each other, but late in the movie an argument between them erupts into physical violence and lovemaking that closely resembles rape.

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