Breaking Bad Symbolism The Right Way To Use Symbols
Motifs are a great way to imbue a project with extra layers of meaning and substance. Through the use of intentionally placed visual or audio cues, a filmmaker can make any character, object, location, or sound into something much more than the sum of their parts. They become ideas representative of a greater theme and can often make all the difference in communicating to an audience what a scene or narrative is REALLY about.
To better understand how motifs work and how to use them effectively, were going to break down an example filled with symbolic meaning the world of, Breaking Bad.
How Walt Connected To Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states in its most simple form that the position and momentum of an object cannot be measured simultaneously. In other words, if one property is known, other important properties will remain uncertain. A similar type of uncertainty surrounded Walt throughout Breaking Bad. When Walt found momentum as a drug lord, his role as a husband and father was left uncertain or vice versa. Without being able to measure his mindset, it became more difficult to predict his actions. Heisenberg’s principle also claims that observation could influence the subject, preventing a full analysis. This would connect to those who learned of Walt’s secret and altered the outcome of his crimes.
Props Costumes And Symbols As Motifs
For example: Walt often wears green to represent, perhaps to represent his greed, and Skyler almost always wears blue. Each scene affects the colors differently, but each character has a base color to reflect their personality.
Breaking Bad Color Symbolism
In Season 3, Ep. 10s The Fly, Walt obsesses over the presence of a fly in his lab, insisting work cant continue until the pest is killed. Jesse becomes wary of Walt, throughout the episode, asking him to get rest and begging him to go home and stop working, but Walt refuses.
As a stand alone, the hunt for the fly could be a metaphor for Walts perfectionism and determination, but theres something else at work.
Breaking Bad Symbolism ‘The Fly’ Metaphor
We focus on the fly many times throughout the episode, often in POV shots, and it is never caught until Walter confesses to Jesse in an exhausted stupor that he wishes hed died sooner and that he now regrets some of their choices.
Breaking Bad ‘The Fly’ Episode The Universe is Random
The prominence and ever presence of the fly, even after this confession, represents the looming threat of death and the consequences of Walts actions that he knows he will never be able to escape.
Fly Motif In Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad themes and symbols ‘Hindered’ Eyesight
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Pardon Me Waiter I Appear To Have Some Ricin My Tea
We already talked about the source of ricin earlier in this post, but since it was written before the finale, now we get to discuss whether or not it would have worked in the way Walt used it. It was a bit of an unexpected twist with Walt using the ricin to take out the annoying/eccentric/hit-happy Lydia Rodarte-Quayle . Lydias penchant for Stevia and soy milk in her Chamomile tea was well established, having been seen in a number of episodes leading up to the finale. Walts sleight of hand swapped Lydias Stevia for ricin, and she was none the wiser until it was far too late. But would this have worked?
Probably not. I mentioned above that ricin, when inhaled, needs only 1/228th of an aspirin tablet to prove deadly, while about 4 aspirin tablets worth would need to be orally ingested to achieve the same effect. Walt likely gave her that dose, probably equivalent to a Stevia packet and very similar in appearance to the sugar substitute. While Lydia could have been cured if shed gone straight to the hospital, its more likely that the toxin wouldnt have taken effect in the first place … but why not?
Crystal Meth The Chemical Star Of The Show
N-methylamphetamine –N-methyl-1-phenyl-propane-2-amine), also known as meth, crystal, or pervitin, is the drug at the center of Breaking Bad. Scientific literature details many different means of synthesis , which are all to be found to varying extents in grey literature and blogs. As the authors do not have practical knowledge in synthesizing crystal meth, they can only rely on such sources.
Throughout the story, two different methods of synthesis are used .
Standard SynthesisAt the beginning, Walter pursues synthesis using pseudoephedrine. This is used in the real world, as well as in Breaking Bad by many meth cooks. However, by applying his knowledge of chemistry, his experimental abilities, and a half-way professional lab set-up, Walter is able to achieve much better results.
The base substance, pseudoephedrine is a plant-based phenyl ethylamine alkaloid and is used commercially in treatments for nasal and sinus congestion and can be extracted from these treatments. Due to the restrictions on sale, an extensive procurement network is required, which generally means involving a large number of drug addicts, in order to secure the necessary quantities. As the drug addicts can really only acquire the smallest of quantities each time by this smurfing, which involves either getting prescriptions for it or stealing it, the availability of this base substance is always a critical factor.
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Crazy Handful Of Nothin’
- Walter: Let’s get something straight. This the chemistry is my realm. I am in charge of the cooking. Out there on the street, you deal with that. As far as our customers go, I don’t want to know anything about them. I don’t need to see them. I don’t want to hear from them. I want no interaction with them whatsoever. This operation is you and me, and I’m the silent partner. You got any issues with that?
- Jesse: Whatever, man.
- Walter: No matter what happens, no more bloodshed. No violence.
- Jesse: When were you going to tell me?
- Walter: Tell you what?
- Jesse: Cancer. You got it, right?
- Walter: How did you know?
- Jesse: My aunt had one of those…dots on her to target the radiation. What is it, in your lung? I’m your partner, man. You should have told me. That’s not cool, okay? Not at all. What stage are you?
- Walter: 3-A.
- Jesse: Gone to your lymph nodes.
- Walter: Your aunt…How bad was she when they caught it?
- Jesse: Bad enough. She didn’t last long.
- Walter: How long?
- Jesse: Seven months. I get it now. That’s why you’re doing all this. You want to make some cash for your people before you check out.
- Walter: You got a problem with that?
- Jesse: You tell me. You’re the one that looks like you just crawled out of a microwave.
- Walter Jr.: Badass, dad.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
A sequel film was formally announced in February 2019, and was later revealed to be titled El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. The film was released exclusively on Netflix on October 11, 2019, and was broadcast on AMC on February 16, 2020. The film stars Paul reprising his role as Jesse, following the events of the series finale “Felina“, as the character searches for his freedom.
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Rian Johnson’s Experience On The Show
Director Rian Johnson worked on three episodes ” rel=”nofollow”> Fly”, “Fifty-One” and “Ozymandias“) and in an interview with IGN shared his memories from behind the camera. He shed some light on the process including the fact that he sat through “tone meetings” with Vince Gilligan. The two of them talked about every dramatic beat in a script, the distinct visual look of the show and how the tonal shift of each scene had to feel natural while serving the main storyline of the particular episode. Johnson also revealed that he learned so much about working with actors because of his directing of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, describing the experience as a “free masterclass.”
When asked about the show’s lasting legacy, Johnson offered up his thoughts,
“I think the seriousness and depth with which it took its characters is the thing that really makes it stand apart for me. And that’s where the power of it comes from. Obviously, starting with Walter White, there’s just very few stories that are told on that scale, that have a character who is that deeply considered at the center of it. And I’ve heard people describe it as Shakespearean, and I know that word gets tossed around a lot, but I think in this case it really does apply. And that speaks, not so much to the fact that he goes to a dark place, but the fact that his entire journey is so deeply resonant, because it’s so deeply considered.”
Did Lydia Bug The Barrel
Though it turned out she did not plant the GPS on the barrel of methylene, one can see where each of the men is coming from in their opinion of her. For Mike, shes a shrill and unstable loose end who tried to kill him against all reason. For Walt, her life is meaningless except in terms of methylene.
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Final Excursion: Stem And The Media
Scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians often play lesser roles in cinema and TV. They are often seen as the nerds and tend to stand on the side lines. Science fiction often portrays the scientist as either a hero or a madman in exaggerated fashion, or as a rather bizarre character in comedy . If chemistry is shown at all, it is often outrageously inaccurate. A classic example of this is the film Lover Come Back from 1961. During the story, a Nobel Prize Winner improves his cyclohexane formula by substituting a CH3 group with a CH4 group! In the German cult classic Die Feuerzangenbowle, there is also a terrible mistake. The following can be read on the chemistry classroom blackboard: Alcoholic fermentation: H6P5O11 Cane Sugar.
In Breaking Bad, there is none of this. On the contrary: serious scientific subjects are skillfully integrated into the conversations in developing the tension between the characters.
In Episode , Walter and Jesse argue about the quality of the meth Jesse produces using the second method. Walter: What did you use for the reduction? Dont tell me. Platinum dioxide, right? Jesse: No. Mercuryaluminium amalgam. The dioxides hard to keep wet.
But back to Breaking Bad.
Apart from the largely correct depiction of scientific details, this TV series is perfect for an entertaining TV evening after a hard day in the lab. It is demanding, exciting, amusing, often shocking, and made with great attention to chemistry details.
Vince Gilligan Had Specific Goals For Walter White
The shows creator Vince Gilligan revealed his vision for Breaking Bad from early on was transforming Mr. Chips into Scarface.
Film buffs probably remember that Mr. Chips was a kindly English schoolteacher in the 1939 movie Goodbye, Mr. Chips, which was based on the book by the same name. Arthur Chipping is disciplined in the classroom and finds his life fulfillment in teaching at an all-boys boarding school.
Meanwhile, Scarface is a very different film. The 1983 crime drama follows Tony Montana , a.k.a. Scarface, as he murders anyone who stands in his way to become the biggest drug lord in the state. Eventually, his quest for power and drug-fueled paranoia become his downfall.
Based on the eventsof Breaking Bad, plus comparing the Walter White from the firstseason to Heisenberg in the finale, its clear that Gilligan achieved his goal.
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Walter White Became The Antihero
Plenty of shows have tried to mimic what Breaking Bad appeared to do so effortlessly, which is to turn the protagonist of the story into the antihero. Audiences start out rooting for Walter White and hoping he could fulfill his noble task of providing for his family before he died. His methods, however, make it impossible for anyone to stay on his side by the end.
Walts business partner Jesse Pinkman represents a moral opposite who fails to embrace the ends justify the means approach Walt adopts. By the end of the series, Walt is willing to stop at nothing to achieve total dominance in the drug game. Jesse, meanwhile, internally struggles with guilt over the crimes he commits.
In the final season, Walt finally admits that he continuedpursuing power and money not for his family, but for himself. Its probably themost self-aware moment of the entire series and proves that Gilligan achievedhis goal. Heisenberg was on the same level as Scarface in the end.
The Chemistry Of Breaking Bad
Falk Harnisch, Tunga Salthammer
A recreational vehicle breaks the silence of the New Mexico desert. The driver, wearing only his underpants and a gas mask and showing signs of middle-age spread, steers it crashing into the embankment. The door bursts open, the driver falls out and, cursing, rips the gas mask from his face: Walter H. White, 50 years old, glasses and a highly talented scientist who is increasingly disillusioned in his work at a High School in Albuquerque. To help his family make ends meet, Walter is forced to take on a side job working at a car wash.
Walter H. White: hero or anti-hero? Driving force or driven by other forces? Chemist! Welcome to Breaking Bad.
Figure 1. Introducing Walter H. White, Chemist .
Walter H. White is the protagonist of the multi-award-winning American TV series Breaking Bad, which runs for a total of five seasons and is especially popular among young audiences.
At the beginning of the series, he is diagnosed with lung cancer and, in face of his seemingly unavoidable and imminent death, he searches for a way to establish financial security for his heavily pregnant wife, Skyler, and his handicapped son, Walter Jr. On hearing how much money can be made in the narcotics business, he accompanies his brother-in-law, Hank Schrader, who works for the DEA on a raid. He recognizes his former student, Jesse Pinkman , fleeing the scene.
Figure 2. Walter H. White and Jesse Pinkman . A duo as contrasting as they are successful .
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The Science Of Breaking Bad Book Review: Walter White’s Chemistry Explained
The Science of Breaking Bad by Dave Trumbore and Donna J. Nelson MIT Press 231 pages ISBN: 978-0-262-53715-5 £14.99 / $19.99
“Chemistry,” Walter White observes in the pilot episode of Breaking Bad, “is the study of matter, but I prefer to see it as the study of change.” The following 45 minutes are exactly that kind of study, with Walt himself as Exhibit A.
In an interview with the American Chemical Society’s weekly in-house magazine early in the show’s first season, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said that it was important to him to get the science right, and that he would welcome help from the chemistry community. With no real idea whether he was serious, the University of Oklahoma professor Donna J. Nelson, who had long wanted to see TV use its broad demographic reach to bring an appreciation of science to a wider public, checked out the first five episodes of the show. Satisfied that it was not glorifying either methamphetamine or the drug trade, she stepped up to offer to help.
In The Science of Breaking Bad, Nelson and Dave Trumbore tell the story of her ongoing contribution to the show over the following five years. The book itself appears to be written by Trumbore, who incorporates passages containing Nelson’s recollections and comments into his explanatory text.
Breaking Bad Blue Crystal Meth Rock Candy Recipe
- Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
- B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College
Have you ever wondered what AMC used for crystal meth in Breaking Bad? Walt’s famous blue crystal meth is rock candy, not drugs! Here is a recipe to make your own blue crystal candy, perfect for a Breaking Bad party or snacks while watching the show. Of course, you can make the candy any color, flavor it, or even make it glow under a black light.
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Is Breaking Bad Set In The 90s
Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, between 2008 and 2010, Breaking Bad follows Walter White, a meek high school chemistry teacher who transforms into a ruthless player in the local methamphetamine drug trade, driven by a desire to financially provide for his family after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
Why Walter White Called Himself Heisenberg
The name of Walt’s alter ego came from Werner Heisenberg, a German physicist known as a pioneer of quantum mechanics. As a chemist, Walt would be familiar with famous scientists likely, he took the German man as an inspiration. However, the name Heisenberg and the altered look also allowed him to separate himself from his actions and suppress guilt. Some fans have proposed a theory that Walt was the embodiment of Heisenberg‘s famous uncertainty principle, and that this is the true reason for Breaking Bad‘s Heisenberg reference.