Do tragic hero stories in modern American gangster films pass the message `crime does not pay` effectively to children and the youth?


Dotragic hero stories in modern American gangster films pass themessage ‘crime does not pay’ effectively to children and theyouth?

Crimedoes not pay

TheAmerican conception of a gangster is slowly changing. Recent filmsand TV programs such as Wolfof Wall Streetand BreakingBadpresent new types of gangsters. They are more educated thugs and fitwell in the society. However, this has not blurred the message thatcrime does not pay. All of these stars who live a life of crime onscreen end up paying for their choices either through jail, death orother ways. This is supposed to discouraged society from suchcriminal ways.

Statingthe problem

Today,children and youth spend more hours watching TV and film than before.As rational human beings, they interact and judge the actions oftheir heroes on the screen. From this, they can learn virtuouslessons from them no matter how they are depicted.


Themetamorphosis of the gangster and their lifestyle on screen over timehas not diluted the core message that crime does not pay.

TheStatement of the Problem

Tragicheroes on screen and literature must adjust to a changing society inorder to remain relevant and retain the message that crime does notpay.


Themodern portrayal of gangsters or crime in the films makes it appearless offensive and admirable and thus may appeal to some children whoimitate such. However, this is not true. Crime, violence, aggressionand delinquency as portrayed by mass media engage their audience intheir imagination and fantasy world only but not in actual behavior.A study by Dalh and Vigna (667) indicates that an increase in theaudience for violent movies by one million reduces violent crime by1.1-1.3%. This shows that engaging crime in fantasy world reducesactual crime and passes the message that crime does not pay.


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