Rear Window

Rear Window Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Lisa's Nightclothes (Symbol)

Due to the Production Code, Hitchcock had to be very careful about depicting the sexual relationship between Jeff and Lisa, who are not married. When she brings over her silky negligee, it is a symbol of the fact that she plans to sleep with him that night. Even Doyle raises his eyebrow when he sees it.

Jeff's Camera (Symbol)

Jeff's camera is a symbol of the emotional distance he puts between himself and those on the other end of the lens. It also represents Hitchcock's own camera, which enables the audience's voyeurism.

Other Couples around the Courtyard (Allegory)

Each of the couples that Lisa and Jeff observe from his window are an allegorical representation of how their marriage could turn out. Mr. and Mrs. Thorwald are obviously the worst-case scenario. The newlyweds start out blissfully in love, but then start arguing after a few days in bed. The couple on the fire escape seem to be perfectly in sync with each other. They each have strange habits, but they are the same strange habits.

Lamps (Symbol)

Hitchcock often uses practical lighting sources in Rear Window, which symbolize Jeff's role as the director of his own little film. When Lisa enters his apartment for the first time, she turns on the lights one by one, drawing attention to herself - and she is dressed like a movie star. Later, Lisa tries to turn on the lights in Jeff's apartment, but he makes her wait until Thorwald is gone. Then, when Thorwald finally confronts Jeff, he uses his flashbulb to blind him; this is the only weapon he has. Like Hitchcock does with his audience, Jeff is using his photographic tools to misdirect and manipulate Thorwald.

Dining/Drinking Together (Symbol)

Throughout the film, communal eating and drinking is a symbol of camaraderie. When Miss Lonelyhearts is having a candlelit dinner all alone, she drinks a glass of wine. Jeff, who is having a stressful dinner with Lisa, raises a glass to Miss Lonelyhearts - this is his way of showing the audience that he understands what she's going through. He cannot articulate his feelings to Lisa, which is leading to his emotional loneliness and isolation. Right after that, Lisa serves Jeff an elaborate meal, but, in contrast, we never see them eat it. Later in the film, after Doyle has done his best to dissuade Jeff and Lisa from their campaign against Thorwald, he suggests they all have a drink together. Jeff and Lisa both treat him frostily, thus rejecting his friendly offer.