In the film The Truman Show, Truman expresses a desire to leave the island and to explore the world. He attempts to leave via car/boat/bus but is always thwarted by the intervention of Christof, like a broken down bus or an incident at the nuclear plant.

Christof obviously doesn't want Truman leaving the island, as it would mark the end of the Truman Show, but in some scenes we see various ways for Truman to leave the island, world maps and potential destinations for Truman to explore, like Fiji.

Wouldn't it be easier for Christof to not include the bridge out of town, the bus service or the travel agency, and to withhold maps and any information about the outside world from Truman, so that he would grow up believing the island he lives on is 'the world'?

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    I think the problem with that scenario was that he could still see 'the world' as it was portrayed on the TV broadcasts sent into the island structure. Failing a 'rest of the world' Truman might still have become curious as to where TVs were made, as well as a thousand other things commonly used there. Then there was the 'missing character' of his father. How could he be somewhere else without there being other places? Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 6:05

1 Answer 1


Truman's world was a stage for advertisements, not a prison, a matrix, or a zoo specifically for Truman. It was not about unknowing incarceration, Truman was just a prop. Truman's world needed to be believable for the outside world, the audience, not for Truman himself. People wanted to see the real life, or at least a theme park version. For this to work you need to reproduce the world as it is. Christof needs to take care not to break the suspension of disbelief. He promised to show a "true", everyday life; would you believe that if some of the normal commodities don't exist just for the convenience of the show? A world without buses, world maps, or outside connections is imaginable. But it is an imagination, a fantasy world. It is something different than the promise Christof gave. Truman lives in a clean, idealized town, but it is an imaginable one in the real world.

Also the stage is a workplace for actors. They need to enter, they need to exit daily. As we can see most people are not living full time there (another question could be: Why not?). Nothing is produced there, people don't do real jobs (e.g. the hospital), most buildings are just facades. So while we don't see it a lot of people and material need to be brought into and out of the dome constantly. Some things look like they could be constructed more efficiently, e.g. using a "real" bus service for the people transport instead of installing a unused (unusable) fake overland bus service. But it seems that there was a strict distinction between on-stage props and off-stage material. Everything on-stage was glossy, new, and unused, for advertisement's sake and to create a "perfect" world. Used real things (like real buses) would break this, and probably helped the actors to maintain the distinction as it was obvious when they were in role.

Of course I agree that there are things that could have been done differently in detail. But in general Christof couldn't just get rid of anything that could be potentially harmful to Trueman's naiveté.

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