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DeaconsDen Classic Reaction – Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds

“I want to go through life jumping into fountains naked.”

This is a line that represents the spirit of the character of Melanie Daniels and the what she represents to the spirit of Lydia Brennan. 

The Birds is Alfred Hitchcock’s The Shining. Much like Kubrick’s film, it’s a horror film that simply presents. You’re shown what is on screen, given clues that really don’t mean anything and you are left to come to your own conclusion and ask your own questions.

I’ve come to see The Birds as a story of the oppression of society and standards on people who have their own spirit. At the beginning of the film we meet Melanie and Mitch. They hit it off almost instantly despite some initial contention. Melanie is a socialite and a bit of a free spirited one at that. Mitch is a lawyer, but is also from a small town called Bodega Bay. Mitch still cares for his mother Lydia and sister Cathy after the death of his father. We are also introduced to Annie Hayworth, Mitch’s ex-girlfriend. Annie tried for Mitch’s affection and lost to Lydia. While dating Mitch Lydia was cold to her. Once Mitch ended back with his mother, Lydia warmed up to Annie. Lydia is cold to Melanie as well. We see the bird attacks start small and escalate throughout the film. I see the birds representing an oppressive swarm of society pushing back against the likes of a person like Melanie. The birds did not attack Annie during her time with Mitch because she submitted. And Lydia won the power struggle. Mitch is essentially in a Norman Bates situation with a much more healthy upbringing.

You may ask why do the birds attack the children and the other citizens? Well we know society will do whatever it can at times to force its way on others. If you push down the children, they will become adults who, like Annie, give up the fight to stay in their cage. I think the lovebirds throughout the film represent the end result of the bird attacks. The lovebirds remain in their cage the entire film. Playing the roles defined for them. The birds attack Melanie as if they despise the fact that Mitch is attracted to her. They swarm and swarm and swarm until finally, she submits. Melanie, Lydia and Cathy are another traditional unit. Melanie and Mitch are the lovebirds trapped in the cage now. Society has won. Lydia has won metaphorically.

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