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Trading Places

  • Date Submitted: 12/05/2012 05:39 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58 
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AMCS 200
Trading Places

The ideas of agency and structure are seen in everyday American culture, and the movie Trading Places shows this very well. The movie does show some standards of being independent, but I think the film tends to favor more of the structure side. Randolph and Mortimer Duke have entirely different views on the debate of nature vs. nurture. Randolph believes genetics really makes a good businessman, while Mortimer thinks that it is a person’s surroundings, the environment that causes success.
The beginning of the movie features the contrast between rich and poor in America. The characters are introduced in individual parts. Billy Ray Valentine a con man who lives on the streets has been taken in by the police for bumping into Louis Winthorpe, who assumes he is being robbed and gives Valentine his briefcase. Valentine is arrested, but according to Randolph, Valentine can be changed into a man of morals in ethics when put in a higher social and economic position. Louis Winthorpe lives a successful life as the manager of the Dukes investment company. Mortimer believes Winthorpe is where he is in life because of his upbringing. The Dukes Brothers develop a plan to swap these men’s lives by using the help of an undercover employee and several corrupt cops to frame Winthorpe. Winthorpe goes to jail, fired from their firm and also loses his extra benefits. Valentine becomes an executive consultant with the firm returning abandoned wallets and living his life with honesty. Winthorpe is befriended by the notorious hooker Ophelia. When Winthorpe realizes that Valentine has his old job, he turns to crime, trying to frame him for drugs and get his life back to normal.
As for the movie goes, structure is based on whoever lived in poverty had solid ties to the people in their lives and weren’t just crazy for the material things in life. Many examples shown are how the Dukes Brothers had their money and valuable perks. At first Valentine loved...


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