Study Guide

Home Alone Violence

Violence

In Home Alone, violence isn't a bad thing—it's a cleansing and healing force. Without violence, how would Kevin defeat Harry and Marv? Calling the cops? (Okay, that might actually work).

No, instead Kevin uses comical violence to defeat his enemies. He really takes out the full arsenal: blowtorches, BB guns, swinging paint cans, icy steps, and a strategically placed nail. The violence is a huge part of the movie's comedy: it concentrates a ton of the laughs, and feels fundamentally just, since Marv and Harry are the bad guys and they're trying to attack a little kid who's home alone. It's poetic justice.

Questions About Violence

  1. Why do we find the violence in Home Alone funny? (Provided you find it funny—if you don't, explain).
  2. Is the violence Kevin uses against the burglars fully justified? Could he have used other strategies?
  3. Is violence as effective at solving problems in real life as it is in the movie? Feel free to argue pro or con.
  4. What is the best booby trap Kevin designed, in your opinion? Why?

Chew on This

The violence in Home Alone is enjoyable and comically relieving. It helps us channel our own impulses towards punishment and aggression in a fun and socially acceptable manner.

The violence in Home Alone sends a bad message to America's children because it teaches you that you can resolve problems through violence and shouldn't just tell an adult when you know burglars are going to try to break into your house.