Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Brief Intro

“Dallas Buyers Club,” directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and released in 2013, is a biographical drama that follows the story of Ron Woodroof, a man diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s. The film portrays his struggle to find effective treatment and his subsequent fight against the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies.

Literary Devices Used in Dallas Buyers Club

Brief Intro

“Dallas Buyers Club” is a biographical drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and released in 2013. The movie is set in the mid-1980s and follows the true story of Ron Woodroof, a Texan electrician and rodeo cowboy who is diagnosed with AIDS. Faced with the harsh realities of the disease and limited treatment options, Ron defies the medical establishment to find alternative treatments. Through the establishment of the Dallas Buyers Club, he provides these medications to other patients, challenging both societal and institutional norms.

Literary Devices Used in Dallas Buyers Club

1. Symbolism

Movie SceneDevice Example
Ron’s Rodeo Bull RidingSymbolizes his struggle against AIDS
Ron’s deteriorating physical appearanceRepresents the impact of the disease

2. Foreshadowing

Movie SceneDevice Example
Ron’s initial disregard for health warningsForeshadows his eventual illness
The early depiction of hospitalsIndicates future significant hospital scenes

3. Irony

Movie SceneDevice Example
Ron’s homophobic attitudeIrony of a homophobe becoming an AIDS activist
The ineffectiveness of approved medicationsContrasts with the success of alternative treatments

4. Characterization

Movie SceneDevice Example
Ron’s transformation from selfish to selflessCharacter development
Rayon’s struggle with addictionDeepens understanding of her character

5. Metaphor

Movie SceneDevice Example
The name “Dallas Buyers Club”Metaphor for the fight against the establishment
The border crossings for medicationsMetaphor for breaking boundaries

6. Motif

Movie SceneDevice Example
Frequent hospital scenesRecurring motif symbolizing struggle
Use of cowboy imageryRepresents Ron’s fight and resilience

7. Flashback

Movie SceneDevice Example
Ron remembering past healthy daysHighlights the contrast to his current state
Flashbacks to rodeo scenesEmphasizes his previous life and freedom

8. Allusion

Movie SceneDevice Example
References to FDA regulationsAlludes to real historical conflicts
Mentions of other AIDS activistsConnects to broader historical context

9. Dialogue

Movie SceneDevice Example
Conversations between Ron and Dr. Eve SaksReveal societal attitudes towards AIDS
Ron’s confrontations with FDA officialsHighlight the bureaucratic challenges

10. Allegory

Movie SceneDevice Example
Ron’s fight against the FDAAllegory for individual vs. system struggle
Rayon’s experiencesReflect broader societal issues of acceptance

This guide delves into the rich tapestry of literary devices woven throughout “Dallas Buyers Club,” illustrating how each device enhances the storytelling and deepens the audience’s engagement with the characters and their journeys.

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

Ron Woodroof

Literary DeviceExplanation
IronyRon, initially a homophobic, becomes a savior for the LGBT community, highlighting dramatic irony.
Character ArcHis journey from a reckless cowboy to a determined activist exemplifies a profound character arc.


Literary DeviceExplanation
SymbolismRayon’s character symbolizes acceptance and the fight against societal norms.
PathosHer struggle and eventual demise evoke deep empathy and highlight the human cost of the epidemic.

Dr. Eve Saks

Literary DeviceExplanation
CharacterizationHer moral struggle between professional duty and personal empathy is evident through her actions and dialogue.
ConflictRepresents the internal and external conflicts faced by healthcare professionals during the crisis.

Character Dynamics

  • Ron and Rayon: Their evolving relationship from business partners to close friends demonstrates the power of understanding and acceptance. The contrast between their personalities—Ron’s rough exterior and Rayon’s gentle nature—adds depth to their dynamic.
  • Ron and Dr. Eve: Their interactions depict the tension between medical protocol and compassionate care. Dr. Eve’s gradual shift in perspective due to Ron’s influence underscores the impact of personal connections on professional ethics.

Thematic Analysis

Courage and Transformation

IronyRon’s transformation from a self-destructive individual to a courageous activist embodies this theme.
MetaphorThe Dallas Buyers Club itself is a metaphor for resistance and hope.

Prejudice and Acceptance

JuxtapositionThe stark differences between Ron’s initial prejudices and his eventual acceptance of Rayon highlight this theme.
SymbolismRayon’s character and her relationship with Ron symbolize the breaking down of societal barriers.

Survival and Resistance

ConflictRon’s ongoing battle with the FDA and the medical establishment highlights the theme of resistance.
PathosThe emotional struggles of the characters underscore their fight for survival and dignity.

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
IronyVisual ContrastThe visual transformation of Ron’s appearance reflects his internal change.
SymbolismCostume DesignRayon’s vibrant clothing symbolizes her defiance and individuality.
PathosSoundtrackThe poignant music during emotional scenes amplifies the audience’s emotional response.
ConflictCamera AnglesClose-ups during confrontational scenes intensify the sense of conflict and tension.

Key Scene Analysis

Scene 1: Ron’s Diagnosis

  • Link: Ron’s Diagnosis Scene
  • Breakdown: This pivotal scene uses irony and pathos to establish the film’s emotional depth. The sterile environment and Ron’s shocked reaction highlight his vulnerability.

Scene 2: Formation of Dallas Buyers Club

  • Link: Formation of Dallas Buyers Club
  • Breakdown: This scene symbolizes resistance and hope. The use of montage and uplifting music conveys the collective effort and determination of the characters.

Scene 3: Rayon’s Death


To wrap up your understanding, take this interactive quiz!

Quiz: Test Your Knowledge on Literary Devices in Dallas Buyers Club

  1. Which literary device is exemplified by Ron’s transformation?
  2. What does Rayon’s vibrant clothing symbolize?
    • A) Her love for fashion
    • B) Defiance and individuality
    • C) Wealth
  3. How does the soundtrack contribute to the film’s pathos?
    • A) It makes scenes more dramatic
    • B) It adds to the historical accuracy
    • C) It amplifies the emotional response


  1. B) Irony
  2. B) Defiance and individuality
  3. C) It amplifies the emotional response