« Yu Katayama | Main | By Jeff Tow Arnett »

Boyz 'N The Hood - Amanda Palazzo

While some of the characters in “Boyz ‘N the Hood? fit the description of nihilists, the film itself does not. The film, while portraying characters caught up in the destructive cycle of violence, prison, and death, still functions as a morality play and is able to offer some hope. “Boyz ‘N the Hood? shows the result of choices made by the various characters, with Doughboy, avenging his brother’s death and paying for it with his life, and Tre, who despite often walking a thin line between life on the streets and one on the straight and narrow, is able to make it out of the ‘hood. However, proper conduct equating success does not always hold true, as is the case with Ricky, who was awarded the opportunity to attend college on a football scholarship, but was still gunned down in the street. The proverbial “moral of the story,? presumes that if one follows the “right? path and does the “right? thing, he has a chance at breaking free of his bleak situation and “making something of himself.?

But, obviously, things are not that simple – while often it is one’s choices that affect how their life turns out, the “if only? questions comes into play. If some of the nihilistic characters, like Doughboy, had guidance like that bestowed upon Tre or Ricky by their parents or the community, would they still be in the situation in which they find themselves? Regarding Doughboy’s futile viewpoint, Kitwana in “Young, Don’t Give a Fuck, and Black,? states, “…his options are limited and he can’t find a better way. He needs help navigating life. His family, community, and society have failed him.? Because he does not have the necessary parental support, he tries to find it on the streets, whereas Tre and Ricky are molded by their parents who prepare them for a productive future.

Towards the end of the film, as the crew cruises the street in search of the gang members who killed Ricky, Tre gets out of the car, deciding that he no longer wants to be part of the retaliative killings that they were about to embark upon. Tre, in leaving the others behind, showed that he had meaning in his life and did not want to wind up in prison or dead, as was inevitable. He had plans for college and wanted to start a business, dreams that would not be realized should he follow through with the killings. Juxtaposing this is Doughboy, who epitomizes the nihilistic attitude, tracking down his brother’s killers and blowing them away in the street. He had no prospects, no hope, claiming, “We gotta die sometime,? and his actions show a life without meaning.