Peeping Tom who can’t commit.
In Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, he refers to Jeff as a “Peeping Tom” who curiously watches the lives of his fellow neighbors from his window. Jeff is basically in the position as a member of an audience watching a film. Each apartment he watches becomes like a mini movie screen. It’s almost as if looking out of the window provides Jeff a vision into the world as he emerges himself in different stories and human behavior. The neighbors he takes interest in observing are: the Newlyweds, Thorwalds, Miss Torso, Miss Lonelyhearts, Miss Hearing Aid, the Composer, the Dog Lovers, and the family with a child. Each tenant that Jeff views presents a reflection of his own experience and relationship with Lisa.
In the beginning of the film, Jeffries is reflected as a Hitchockian male who cannot or will not commit to his fiancé Lisa. Since Jeff is a professional photographer who travels long and far for his work, he believes Lisa is “too perfect” and unable to follow his lifestyle. When Lisa arrives into the apartment, she presents herself as a classy and wealthy woman who works in the fashion industry. I quickly discovered that Lisa endlessly struggles to earn Jeff’s attention, love, and acceptance.
As Jeff persistently watches his neighbors, the projection of his fears, desires, and fantasies about Lisa become extremely vivid. Lars Thorwald continuously takes care of his sick, nagging wife every day until his hatred for her makes him go insane. He even decides to murder Anna just too get a little silence. Jeff visualizes Lisa becoming the nagging wife and becomes fearful of her. He doesn’t want a woman controlling his every move. Also, the Thorwald’s create the idea of Jeff (the invalid) being taken care of by the hard working Lisa, while the hard working Thorwald takes care of his invalid wife. The Dog Lovers represent a sexless/ childish marriage which Jeff believes to be very boring and lonely. Who wants a sexless and boring marriage— definitely not Jeff! The Newlyweds share a desirable life of unlimited sex, but shortly after, the audience sees the nagging begin in the end of the film. Once more, Jeff is afraid to commit to Lisa because a badgering wife will only bring him endless irritation. Miss Torso is a reflection of Lisa because of beauty and talent. They are both women who are desired by all men capable of getting anything they want. Though Jeff likes having a pretty fiancé, he seems unsure of giving his promise to her because of his inability to trust. Miss Lonelyhearts is seen as a lonely woman with the hopes of finding love. Although she is able to bring men home, she is never able to fill the hole in her heart. Jeff considers if he breaks his relationship off with Lisa, she will become just like Miss Lonelyhearts. He cares for Lisa but is too scared to hurt her by voicing his opinion of marriage. Miss Hearing Aid and the Composer depict Jeff having a future without Lisa. He would be able to find himself content and free of Lisa’s clutch, but in the end he would be lonely and sad because of the absent affection. At the end of the film, Jeff’s confrontation with Thorwald suggests coming face to face with his deepest fears about commitment and marriage. He must face reality some time or another. Jeff can’t continue to lead Lisa on and put their relationship on hold, otherwise, everything could end up in total destruction.