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The Theme of Social Exclusion in Let the Right One In

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Let the Right One In tells the story of two children, Oskar and Eli, who form a friendship over their shared isolation. Specifically, Eli is a vampire who is constantly isolated due to her thirst for blood. She only comes out at night and when she moves into town murders and disappearances start to occur.[1] Oskar is constantly bullied by his peers and subsequently develops the idea to hurt them back for the constant turmoil they have made him experience.[1] With this entry, the theme of social exclusion will be analyzed and presented as the reason for the formation of a friendship between Oskar and Eli, and how social exclusion connects to the theses presented by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen.

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This image depicts Eli as being serious and brooding. Her behavior is the consequence of her social exclusion.

First, the film begins with the introduction of the characters and the setting, which is in a suburb of Stockholm. One of the initial scenes of the film shows Eli sitting in the snow by herself. The cold and dark setting introduces the assumption that Eli is isolated and we also see that she must be on her own due to being a vampire. She constantly needs to keep moving so that she is not found out to be a vampire. This ensures that she is not able to form lasting relationships with others[2]. With her reality of needing to be always moving, Eli does not have any connections with others and is seen as being shy and standoffish from kids her own age. She does not have a social life.

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This image depicts Oskar being bullied by his peer.

Secondly, Oskar is continually bullied by his peers. He is seen to be living in turmoil due to the constant attacks and is not able to enjoy time at school. He befriends Eli and it seems that he is finally happy to form a friendship with someone else, but Oskar is planning to cause harm to his bullies.[3] In one scene of the film he is seen stabbing a tree and ranting, he is essentially planning to hurt or even kill his bullies. This does not correlate to the shy Oskar we see when interacting with Eli, but instead a violent and murderous side of Oskar. This dark side of Oskar can be connected to his forced social exclusion; he is seeking revenge for the constant bullying.

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An unlikely friendship between Oskar and Eli forms. This image depicts the first time they meet.

This kind of behavior from both characters, forced isolation and violence, comes from the forced social exclusion that was imposed on them. According to Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, the culture of monster has seven different theses that describe the fascination and structure of monster tales. One of the theses is that the monster is the epitome of difference. He states that monsters is "difference made flesh." These theses are seen in the social exclusion theme of Let the Right One In, since the two characters of Oskar and Eli are seen as being immensely different and ostracized because of it. They embody what it means to be different and because of it they experience negative social circumstances.

Course Material Sources:

http://www.veoh.com/watch/v197588916zB6HYeP

https://d2l.arizona.edu/d2l/le/content/563364/viewContent/4841247/View

Outside Sources:

  1. http://www.magnetreleasing.com/lettherightonein/
  2. http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0110902/bio
  3. http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0110901/bio

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