Visuals and Space

Music and Space

Synopsis: Four Profiles

*Populist Politicians

*Blues Singers

*Confidence Men

*Outlaws and Gangsters



Synopsis: Four Profiles

For readers unfamiliar with the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, I would like to offer up a brief synopsis of the film. The three primary protagonists Ulysses Everett McGill, Pete, and Delmar (played by George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, respectively) are all escapees from the infamous Parchman Farm penitentiary and chain gang in Mississippi. Everett (as Clooney's character is most often referred to) has convinced his cohorts to accompany him in an attempt to recover 1.2 million dollars which he has buried in a valley about to be flooded by the Tennessee Valley Authority in order to provide hydroelectric power for the state of Mississippi. After catching a ride with a blind African-American "prophet" figure on a railroad handcart, they make their way to Pete's cousin's house, where their chains are removed and they discard their striped prison clothing. The trio is being pursued by the sheriff and his bloodhound and a gang of deputies. Pete's cousin turns them in for the reward money, and they barely escape the clutches of the law. What then ensues is a number of unlikely episodes in which the trio find themselves paired together with a variety of archetypal American characters. The film concludes
by drawing the episodes back to the real, underlying purpose of this Odyssey: Everett must return home to keep his wife from marrying another. And, following a series of penultimate and ultimate climaxes, this is exactly what happens. Four of these characters will be profiled in the following sub-sections, and others have been discussed briefly in conjunction with other concerns throughout this project. The purpose of the sub-sections to follow is to put the theoretical concepts of Roland Barthes laid out in the Introduction to work.