travis' loneliness is figured through glass - everyone he meets is first seen as an image through a window, rear-view mirror

, tv screen. he's a voyeur, a watcher, not a man of action that interacts w/others. his loneliness and frustration leads him to become a man of action in the most extreme form by the end of the movie, when he saves the prostitute and kills her oppressors. his loneliness and alienation result from his inability to communicate. he is mostly silent, and when he speaks, he angers others or is unable to express himself. he pisses off the man who hired him at the beginning of the film, pisses off the lady at the porn shop, alienates betsy, is condescended to and patronized by the senator, and cannot communicate his feelings to his fellow taxi driver. the senator and the pimp, on the other hand, are masters of words, master seducers, one seducing voters and the other seducing women. (the senator even sweet-talks travis, picking up his name and extolling taxi drivers. travis, on the other hand, is tongue-tied when the senator asks him a question) travis is on a mission to "save" the seduced women, betsy and the prostitute, from "hell". the pimp is especially framed as demonic; the lighting is red when he dances with and lies to the prostitute. their slick dishonesty contrasts sharply with travis' socially awkward, bumbling honesty. his hate, loathing, and frustration are directing both at society and at himself, as he points the gun to the mirror (speaking both to an enemy and to himself). he hates the scum, but he's also part of the scum and filth, and fascinated by it and attracted to it. even during the day, he frequents porn joints and tries to pick up the female attendant in much the same manner as the sleazy johns he hates. in the end, he's still lonely. the gratitude of the prostitute's faceless parents are communicated by letter, much as travis communicated to his own anonymous parents thru letter. when betsy seeks him out, one hopes his loneliness has ended. her perception of him obviously changed from reading the newspaper articles about him, a (mistakenly) heroic image of him reflected by the media. ironically, travis had originally attempted to communicate his sexual desire and desire for intimacy thru media (the porn film), only to achieve miscommunication. he denies betsy as her desires appear to stem from media representations of heroic men (the senator, and later, travis), not reality. tv and media serves as the nexus for his desires - porn, the teenagers dancing and experiencing intimacy and sexuality, the fighting couple, the senator. it also serves implicitly as the inspiration for his transformation. though westerns are never shown, the machismo of the westerns cinematic tradition permeate his new character; he wears cowboy boots, puts on a cowboy shirt, and repeatedly practices dramatic confrontations, challenging imaginary opponents to quickdraw showdowns. in keeping w/the contradiction theme, his mohawk makes him look like an indian rather than a cowboy, and the pimp tells him to go back to his "tribe".

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