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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by John Huston is much more than what people take it for. It is simply not just a classic adventure film. The film provides us with a study of the corrosiveness of greed. It is a finely-crafted western-style character drama where greed and paranoia drive desperate men over the edge. The fact that greediness only leads to one path, i.e., it eventually destroys the individual and also has a large negative effect on the society, is conveyed very effectively through the film.
The film begins in Tampico, Mexico where the wanderer Fred C. Dobbs spends his last remaining quantity of dough on buying a lottery ticket. Dobbs, along with his penniless mate Curtin, then looks for a place to take shelter and finds a cheap flophouse. They then meet Howard, an old toothless, very talkative man who fascinates Dobbs and Curtin with tales about the possibility of finding gold. Dobbs and Curtin then forcibly collect their pay from their boss, combine their pays with Dobbs’s lottery money which he won very unexpectedly. The two of them, along with Howard, then use the money to buy the tools for a likelihood expedition they were about to go on. Before their adventure, Dobbs promised that anything they find will be split equally amongst the three of them, but Howard does not quiet believe him. The three go on their adventure and fine gold. As they found more gold and mined it, Dobbs grew more distrustful and paranoid, and as the film progresses, the three men gradually turn against each other.  
This greed is why Mahatma Gandhi considered a civilisation as a disease. In his book Hind Swaraj, Gandhi lays out his arguments for it. He believes that civilisations are a disease because wherever it goes, it disintegrates the places or the nations. He states, “under a civilisation the nations of Europe are becoming degraded and ruined day by day” (Gandhi 33). What Gandhi argues is bad about civilisations is that it centres bodily happiness and that it is greedy. He writes, “civilisation seeks to increase bodily comforts, and it fails miserably even in doing so” (Gandhi 37). These accusations are made in reaction to the mechanisms of civilisation, and their purposes in shaping the lives of citizens: civilisation is an attack on the body and the soul. Within the confines of civilisation, bodily welfare becomes the object of life (35). Industry has robbed men their freedom and forced them into crowded confines of factories to slave like animals for the sake of the wealthy; civilisation pulls women out of the home, forcing them to wander the streets or work in factories.  Money is the god of civilisation (41) and money pays no mind to the welfare of the people. Civilisation replaces a love of life itself with a dependency on drugs, alcohol, and escapism.
The film also takes a look at American masculinity or the search for an identity in a society where a person’s position is determined by wealth and class structure. It shows us how poverty, just as much as greed, can affect the choices a person makes. Poverty led them to the planning of the adventure. Then when they found gold, greed led them to distrust each other and hate each other for no reason. Finally, they were lucky to get out alive from the mountain away from the bandits and ended up having no gold to cash out for. The film also shows us how unfair life could be. When people start to take away things away from you, you are forced to make extreme choices. You would do anything to get out of that state. An example could be taken out of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. 
Okonkwo’s final decision was the product of not only colonisation, but also toxic masculinity and how it tied in with power. Throughout parts one and two of the book, Okonkwo endures hardship in his village, which is only elevated by the white missionaries. His source of comfort and meaning is his power, which slowly taken from him by the spread of Christianity. When he feels the power over his village is completely out of his hands by the end of the story, his meaning is lost. He acts out with violence when his power is challenged, such as when he beats Nwoye. When he kills his adoptive son, Ikemefuna, he shows no emotion, which he sees as weakness. His entire life was “dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (12), which leads to his demise. The beginning of this demise happens as he dismisses the Christians as nonthreatening because they did not share this violent nature, which he believed was the only way to gain and keep power. 
All these hardships only helps us to learn and grow from it. One could argue that we are where are today because of all these experiences we have faced in the past. These experiences have helped us grow and learn and figure out our identity as an individual and as a society together. We can argue that America is shaped the way it is today because of everything it has gone through in the past. Frederick Jackson Turner agrees in his paper The Significance of the Frontier in American History. According to Turner, it is the frontier, and then later its demarcation line, that determines the path of history more than other events or experience. To the question, what made America the way it is today? Turner would answer that the frontier life shaped the character and values of America today. The frontier, as Turner describes it, was a vast area of free land. Europeans came to settle on this free land where there was no towns or cities. They brought their experiences and built it up from scratch. The settlers then met the uncultivated who they, through their experiences, taught them and cultivated them. The people embraced democracy and lived together as a society, facing difficulties as a group. 
Greed breeds the seed of its own destruction. There has been many instances in the past to prove it. We must learn from the experiences and grow and shape the future to be better, just like the frontier did. It gave America its identity.

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