August 3, 2018 in Art
Provincialism in “Three Kings”

Provincialism is a confusing term, because it has many definitions

It can be a linguistic or psychological-social feature. In the film “Three Kings”, provincialism has a psychological meaning. Here, provincialism is a “limited in outlook, sectional, narrow-minded, unsophisticated, and lacking the polish of urban society”. It is an impediment which influences people when they prefer the interests of one group over the others. The most spectacular example is the Nazi Germany when the priority was in the identity of the new race. It does not mean that provincialism is a negative thing, but it influences the society. Because of its forcefulness, this term can also be an impediment. The negative side is in seeing one’s society as better than it really is. It is “blind patriotism”. The features of provincialism are in race, time, religion, age, place, and gender. The worst in this fact is that it leads to the other impediments as, for example, prejudice (Kahane). In such an influential way, provincialism impacts the formation of the person and the society. Concerning the film, provincialism is not the only impediment in the actions of the main characters. Loyalty, herd instinct, prejudice, and partisan mindset change the characters during the plot events. In general, impediment is anything that hinders. It can be the physical obstacles as well as the psychological barriers. These psychological features have the decisive place in the film. They are impediments, because they are the reasons of the non-rational actions which lead to mistakes. They push to the wrong path. The main characters of the film had also problem with these barriers. That is why they had got all their problems and changed during some events. It was the reason why one of them did not survive. The characters who had the greatest influence were Troy Mark Walberg, Conrad, and Archie.

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Troy Barlow was one of four soldiers who made the plot of the movie

At the beginning, he was an inexperienced man with a limited point of view on the happening events. For the celebration of the war ending, he dressed up the turban and was happy and excited as the other soldiers. His greatest proud was about his involvement into the war although he has not seen the fighting actions. His striving to be a soldier has both the loyalty and herd instinct as a basis. The loyalty was for the idea of his country and herd instinct was for being a hero. His prejudice shows up in the “funny” jokes and miscalling the Iraqi people with unpleasant nicknames. He proves his partisan mindset by killing the Iraqi soldier. This is why he is here: to fight. At least, after the official end of the war, he wanted to show what he can do. However, something changed. The following events show Troy the “attractiveness” of war and fighting. Especially, it developed when he became the prisoner. The Iraqi soldiers took away his uniform. It is a symbol of being a human, not the hero soldier anymore. The scene when the torturer told the story about his son’s death impressed Troy’s conscience. He imagined the same accident with his family, especially his daughter (Edelstein). Their conversation turned from the “torturer with a prisoner” to the “father with a father”. Troy understood the fallacy of the army actions. He gets attached to the torturer as to the living person with the same human feelings. It was the reason why the soldier did not kill him when he had the opportunity to do that. It is the evidence that partisan mindset disappeared. He turned to be a human again; he was not the soldier anymore. After this, his loyalty to the harmed Iraq nation pushed him to the sympathy. He encouraged the other soldiers to rescue these people. The partisan mindset has vanished.

Conrad Vig was a friend of Troy. He wanted to resemble him

Conrad’s goals were limited with the striving to be a “bad” guy and tough soldier. At the beginning, his provincialism showed up in his ignorance of the home life. He wanted to fight and to “see the war”. He understood the war as a funny game. He did not realize the horrifying “face” of killing and violence. That is also why he had prejudice and many stereotypes about the Iraqi nation. He used different terms to name them, for example, “door-coon” or “sand-nigger”. They seemed to be unreal toys for him. These are the features of his partisan mindset. However, the more he got to know the Iraqi people, the more he became interested in the culture and traditions of this nation. His largest interest was around the Muslin graving ritual in the shrine. When he was shot down after the rescuing of Troy, his last wish was to be taken to a Muslin shrine. At the end, the priorities of Conrad have totally changed. Now, he knew that war is not a game. He realized that their “enemies” were alive people with families and friends. He saw faithfulness and humanity of the unmilitary population. This reevaluation made Conrad another person. He grew up morally and became the hero man.

Archie Gates used to be a self-interested and narrow-minded man

For example, he treated the correspondents as things. With the first one, he had immoral affair. The other one he sent away from the sensational events. At the beginning, he was the representative of the herd instinct “victims”. He fought as a soldier and followed the orders. His position about the most important thing concerned the necessity. However, he showed his provincialism when he helped the Iraqi citizens to escape out of town. He realized the unfair treatment of the Iraqi soldiers and decided to act heroically. The loyalty to the government orders and serving the country ideals were the key pushes to the action. However, during the interaction and cooperation of his soldiers and the Iraqi population, he changed his priorities. The striving for gold turned into the willing to help those people. Once, when Archie and his brave soldiers rescued the Iraqi people from the town, they all have gotten into trouble. This time, the Iraqis helped them. They had an agreement. Anyway, Archie realized what was waiting for him and his gun mates if they led the Iraqis through the border, but the agreement was the agreement. After seeing the essence of this nation, he gave these people the gold. The mission was completed. Archie’s character has also changed. He understood that the illusive ideals are nothing compared to the real values.

All main characters quitted the service

This film shows the other side of war (Edelstein). Conrad died and was taken to the shrine. Archie started his work in the film industry. Troy led his business with his family. Their new attitude to life put everything on its places. All the psychological impediments were gone. Troy started to value his family more and understood that the other people also have feelings; it does not depend on the nation and culture. Conrad changed his arrogant and flouting attitude to the interest. He realized that the Iraqis are the same people with their own lives. In his final journey, he moved according to the Muslim traditions. In such a way, he showed his respect. Archie switched his self-oriented lifestyle to the altruistic one. His values changed for helping people and not following the illusions. His final job was similar to the war events, but it was safe for the other people. All of them began thinking “outside the box” and in such way liquidated their provincialism. The impediments are the reason of the human actions. Sometimes, they do not play an important role. However, in one moment, they can be determinate. It is important to take control over them and do not allow them to lead. Unfortunately, it is not so simplyas the fate sends various challenges which help to realize the sense and value of life.


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