The Symbolism of Shoes in Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit uses satire to bring out the realities of the Hitler’s Germany. The war and its terror is shown through the perspective of the young where the physical manifestation of Jojo’s brainwash is shown in his imaginary friend- Adolf Hitler. In this sense, it also captures the way hate breeds in young minds. All these commentaries can said to be linked sequentially through shoes. Shoes interlaces the narration to become the overarching symbol running throughout the movie.

One of the most striking scenes is projected through the shoes of Jojo’s mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson). Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) notices her mother shoes while she is dancing on the sidewalk. It also becomes the way he is able to recognize her hanging in the gallows. One of the most heartbreaking scene is captured through this symbol. Genocide and trauma of war are also encapsulated in this scene. Shoes are all the remains of the dead, of those who are tortured, and killed under this regime of hate.

Jojo’s character arc can also be viewed under this imagery. The propaganda is debunked from his mind as he flings out the imaginary Hilter by kicking him with his boots. The journey from his mother lacing up his shoes to him lacing up those of Elsa’s (Thomasin McKenzie). This gesture brings out his liberation from his Nazi fanaticism.

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