As the earth moves toward the sun, Travis Bickle moves toward violence.” (Schrader, p. If Betsy’s appraisal of Travis’ quirks and liabilities were more accurate—after all, she did see him stalking her—she would avoid an unsuitable suitor; or, if she accepted Travis’ movie choice as a one-time faux pas, she might get “edumacated” as she sucked on Travis’ Ju-jukes.3)Leading an empty life as a taxi driver and disgusted by the city’s lowlifes, Travis Bickle tries to relate to a woman—but fails. Betsy is dedicated to a political cause—Charles Palantine—and the campaign is the center of her life.When he can’t sleep nights, Travis goes out and gets a job driving taxis; attracted to Betsy, he walks into her office and volunteers in order to be near her; seeing a stick-up man holding up the deli, he shoots him; feeling down, he goes to Wizard for advice; etc. Travis succeeds in making progress in his mission to clean up the streets by killing Sport and his cohorts, and by getting Iris out of prostitution and back to her parents in Pittsburgh.When Travis decides to act on the idea of “True Force” that’s been building up in his brain, he gets “organezized” and breaks the job down into steps: he buys an arsenal of guns; he does physical exercise; he practices at the shooting range; he clips articles on Palantine; he practices drawing his weapons; he cuts his hair into a Mohawk; etc. As the Screenwriter notes: “The slaughter is the moment Travis has been heading for all his life, and where this screenplay has been heading for over 100 pages.Travis’ decision to become a taxi driver, especially one who will work anywhere, exposes him to lowlife “scum”: PERSONNEL OFFICER: We don’t need any misfits around here, son. Who else would hack through Bed-Sty or Harlem at night? It is the release of all that cumulative pressure; it is a reality unto itself.It is the psychopath’s Second Coming.” (Schrader, p.We Are The People—in the audience—and if only we could talk to Betsy about Travis.Where she picks up the scent of sexuality, we smell a rat; when she’s reminded of a poetic “walking contradiction,” we recall the manic-depressive; while she’s flattered by his “lonely and unhappy” insight into her personality, we detect projection of his own feelings.
Travis has a spotless record, as far as fitting into society goes: PERSONNEL OFFICER: How’s your driving record? Travis has the same outcome in mind, but intends to use more direct means of achieving it, getting the idea to assassinate his rival Palantine when he becomes involved with the same woman, Betsy.117)While Travis is still a lonely guy, and one with psychopathic tendencies, at story’s end he is a more relaxed taxi driver. 30) Palantine surrounds himself with Secret Service Men; Sport provides protection for Iris; etc.He’s no longer writing dangerous thoughts in a diary, has elevated status amongst his peers, and is a hero to the media. Betsy feels sexually threatened by Travis’ choice of a porno movie for their date; afraid of Sport, Iris tries to escape in Travis’ cab; the Secret Service Man senses danger in Travis, takes his address and tries to get his photo; Sport perceives danger in Travis, figuring him for a cop; etc.Betsy knows exactly what she wants in a man, which leads to her dismissal of Travis when he doesn’t fit the profile.Their romantic interlude ends, and Travis goes back to his problem, the process of cleaning up the streets.