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Through choosing to stay within his office and at his work, Malcolm becomes a bystander to the events unfolding between Anna and Jeffrey.
After Anna gives Jeffrey a birthday present, they share an intimate, yet awkward moment. The spectator becomes aware of mutual feelings between these two characters. A shattering glass is heard off-screen that breaks the moment between them.
Malcolm audibly admits that he wants to talk to his wife like they used to. Neither Malcolm nor Cole were present in the store. Instead, the camera pans from Anna and Jeffrey looking for the perpetrator of the shattered door the source of the off-screen sound to Malcolm, already a block away. Malcolm, however is not the only character experiencing alienation in the narrative. As I have argued for the possibility of two simultaneous story lines within the film, consideration must also be given to the sequences in the narrative structure involving Cole and the supernatural aspect of the film.
These are instances when Cole must face society, the living or dead variety, on his own. Cunningham looking at him in disbelief.
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Cole begins taunting Mr. Cunningham captures the reactions of both characters: Mr. Cunningham in angered shock and a tense Cole, as Mr. The scene ends with Mr. Cunningham are not immediately made known to the spectator. Instead, the spectator is kept in a similar position as the other children, dumbfounded by the eruption of emotional and physical violence between Mr. Cunningham and Cole. It begins with an exterior low angle shot of the old styled Philadelphia house.
This is the perfect setting for the supernatural to occur because the house, much like the school building, appears to have a history behind it. This sequence establishes Cole as someone unwanted by the other children, who remains outside his peer group. His attempt to fit in with Bobby, using the same magic penny trick that Malcolm used to cheer him up after the Stuttering Stanley episode, fails.
The issue of class difference comes to the fore in this sequence. While Cole is visibly alone in the hallway, his mother is emotionally alone amidst the other women in the background.
In the next shot the camera is looking up through a winding staircase as a red balloon ascends to the top of the house. Red becomes an important marker of the supernatural in the film. In this sequence, Cole is also wearing a red sweater that is given prominence later in the narrative. The voice, however, is asking Cole to unlock the door and let him out of the room.
His trance is broken when Tommy Tommisino, the class bully, and Darren join him on the stairs. In a malicious move, the boys put him in the attic room, which frightens Cole into a state of immobility. The violence, for this episode, remains off-screen. The spectator is invited to experience the moment as the mean-spirited boys and Lynn do, from outside the locked room.
The Sixth Sense: Humanizing Horror – Offscreen
One of the inexplicable elements of this scene is the door. Lynn, trying desperately to get into the room, cannot open the door until the door unlocks itself. Did Cole lock himself in? If not, who did? Who inflicted the lashes on his body? These questions are not answered in the narrative.
The Sixth Sense: Humanizing Horror
They remain an unexplained fantastic event. After Lynn has entered the attic room, a parallel is drawn with the Vincent episode through the use of slow motion cinematography. This stylistic device highlights the traumatic level of the episode, especially for Lynn. Lynn, much like Anna during the Vincent episode, has been relegated to the position of a bystander, unable to help until it is almost too late.
The hospital scene, which I have earlier alluded to, immediately follows the attic episode.
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The doctor, played by M. Night Shyamalan, in asking Lynn to justify the markings on her son, represents the sceptical side of society. In the next scene Malcolm visits Cole in his hospital bedroom. Here Cole confesses to Malcolm his ability to see dead people, which sheds light for the spectator on the various inexplicable episodes that have occurred up to this point in the narrative. Now that Shyamalan has revealed to the spectator, via Malcolm, the root of the problem concerning Cole, the rest of the supernatural events center on Cole overcoming his fear.
His transformation is aided, finally, by his willingness to communicate with someone else. The next episode involving the supernatural takes place a few scenes later. It is an extension of the original kitchen cupboard scene. The series of shots at the beginning of this episode are from an objective point of view. When Cole senses the ghost and walks toward the kitchen we cut to his subjective point of view. Once the ghost woman turns around, the spectator is shown the spirit, as Cole sees them all, battered, bruised, and wounded.
What she actually says has nothing to do with Cole. She perceives Cole as if he were her abusive husband. Unlike the previous supernatural episodes, there is no violence in the world of the living. Cole takes refuge in his tent sanctuary. Once inside the tent, the camera remains with Cole, while the female ghost remains in the kitchen.
Frightened as he might be of her, she is shown to pose no physical threat to him. From this incident onwards, the ghosts may be frightening to look at, but the malevolent aspect bestowed on them earlier disappears.