Extended Close Reading Essay

Submitted By mikchels
Words: 990
Pages: 4

Two Cathedrals But Many Symbolic Meanings: Extended Close Reading I chose to do my extending close reading assignment on the episode “Two Cathedrals” from The West Wing because I believe that this episode has some great symbolic meanings in it. The last 15 minutes of this episode are intense in a way that has the viewers decoding what the real message and meaning of this episode is trying to tell us. Not only does this episode have several symbolic meanings but it also has flash backs that let us look back into the President’s life. President Bartlet is deciding weather or not he is going to run for a second term. The storm that is happening throughout this whole night is a rare storm that doesn’t ever hit the area. That right there tells us that this storm is going to have some sort of connection with whether or not President Bartlet does decide to run for a second term. The door keeps swinging open because of the storm; the last time is swings open he calls for Mrs. Landingham who was his secretary but is now diseased. As she walks in the room President Bartlet can see her and begins to have a conversation with her as if she is still alive. As of this moment there is no music in the background, just the noise of the storm. This gives the scene a very ire yet intense feel. Mrs. Landingham asks President Bartlet to not yell for her name and to use the intercom to reach her at her desk. I believe this symbolizes that she wants to the President to calm down and relax. She then proceeds to say that he doesn’t know how to use the intercom and he says its not that he doesn’t know how to use the intercom he just has never learned. I believe that right there is telling us that he is seeking help, that he needs to learn how to relax and needs a little guidance through this whole process of whether or not he should run for a second term. The door is still open and blowing wind and rain into the office while he is still talking to his deceased friend, helping us to distinguish reality from fiction. Even Mrs. Landingham is saying that President Bartlet is using her as an excuse to why he is having such a hard time. She wants to open his eyes and let him know that he doesn’t need her to get through this. There were flashbacks in the beginning of the episode of President Bartlet and his father and those flash backs show that his father doesn’t approve of him and thought that he was basically a joke. One of the flashbacks is of President Bartlet trying to stand up to his dad about a subject matter that Mrs. Landingham and brought to his attention but he didn’t even get to say what he really wanted to say because his dad hit him and pretty much made him leave. Mrs. Landingham is trying to build up President Bartlet’s confidence in this scene because after all of the years of abuse from his father he doesn’t believe in himself. She also brings to his attention that there are people out there that are way worse off than him so he should suck it up. He then realizes she is right and says, “Give me numbers.” Earlier in the episode he said the same thing when Mrs. Landingham wanted him to talk to his father. I believe this is the turning point for President Bartlet and he is starting to realize that he can in fact do this even with MS. It had not lightning the…