VCE Essay prompts: Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock

Looking for practice essay prompts for Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock? Here are some practice prompts to help you prepare for the text response essay!

If you’re struggling with essay vocabulary, make sure you grab a copy of our Advance Vocabulary expansion pack to enhance your essay writing skills!


  • ‘Do you suppose it’s ethical even if you prove he didn’t commit a crime?’ Hitchcock presents voyeurism as a morally ambiguous activity in Rear Window. Discuss. 
  • Rear Window posits that it is more important to be right than to be ethical. Do you agree? 
  • Jeff, Lisa and Stella are motivated to discover the truth of Mrs Thorwald’s experience by curiosity rather than a desire for justice. Do you agree? 
  • Rear Window is at once critical and sympathetic of the human urge to watch. Discuss. 
  • Rear Window argues that people should mind their own business. Do you agree? 
  • ‘We’re two of the most frightening ghouls I’ve ever known.’ Few of the characters in this text behave in a moral or ethical way. Discuss. 
  • ‘We’re a nation of peeping Toms.’ To what extent does Hitchcock endorse this idea in Rear Window?
  • Rear Window shows how easy it is to be deceived by appearances. Discuss. 
  • The film leaves the audience with the conviction that there are many ways of looking at and understanding the world. Do you agree? 
  • The idea of gilt is central to Rear Window. Do you agree?
  • As Jeff and Lisa peer into the lives of others, we learn as much about them as we do about their neighbours. Discuss. 
  • Rear Window suggests that the act of looking into “a secret, private world” can be deceptive. Discuss.
  • ‘Rear Window argues that people should respect the privacy of others.’ Do you agree? 
  • “That’s a secret, private world you are looking into out there.” In Rear Window, Hitchcock suggests that voyeurism is an unethical pursuit. Discuss.
  • Rear Window suggests that those who watch have power and that those who are watched are powerless. Do you agree?
  • Thought Jefferies’ voyeurism is problematic, it does help him share in the lives of the people around him. Discuss. 
  • How does Hitchcock demonstrate that people need both intellectual stimulation and the pleasures of life in order to life fully? 
  • Voyeurism is presented as both entertaining and dangerous. Discuss. 
  • How does Hitchcock suggest that there is a connection between our private and public lives? 
  • Rear Window is about the perils of underestimation and overthinking. Discuss. 
  • Rear Window shows us that the dangers of curiosity outweighs its benefits. Do you agree? 

Loneliness/Social critique

  • ‘Neighbours like each other, speak to each other, care if anybody lives or dies. But none of you do!’ Rear Window presents a bleak view of people’s ability to care for one another. Discuss. 
  • In Rear Window, loneliness and isolation impacts people in varied ways, all of which are destructive. Do you agree?
  • By creating a protagonist who views life through a window, Hitchcock shows how important it is to be involved in life. Discuss. 
  • Rear Window contends that the home is not a safe place for anyone. Discuss. 
  • To what extent can Rear Window be seen as representing American society in the early 1950s?
  • ‘You don’t know the meaning of the word neighbour.’ Is the dog’s owner correct? 
  • Hitchcock’s classic film, Rear window, reveals many truths about human nature. Discuss. 
  • ‘What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change.’ Rear Window prompts its viewers to consider the flaws of humankind. Discuss. 
  • Hitchcock’s characters in Rear Window are lost in their own lonely façades. Do you agree?
  • Ultimately, Hitchcock is critical of modern, urban living in Rear Window. Do you agree? 
  • Lars Thorwald is not the only villain in Hitchcock’s film, Rear Window. Discuss.
  • To what extent does Rear Window presents a wholly negative portrayal of urban society? 
  • Rear Window contends that the home is not a safe place- for anyone. Discuss.
  • ‘All of the characters in Rear Window are trapped in some way’. Discuss. 
  • How does urban living impact relationships in Rear Window?
  • ‘You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘neighbours’!’ ‘ear Window prompts the viewer to consider the essential flaws in humans. Discuss.
  • “There can’t be that much difference between people and the way they live.” To what extent does Rear Window support this view?

Gender/ Relationships 

  • Hitchcock celebrates the modern woman and criticises the old-fashioned man in Rear Window.
  • Rear Window ultimately depicts women as dependent on men. Discuss. 
  • How does Rear Window force its audience to question the values and roles expected of the characters by their society? 
  • Rear Window presents men and women as having fundamentally incompatible agendas. To what extent do you agree? 
  • The women in Rear Window are presented as being just as dependent on men as they are independent. Discuss. 
  • Men and women both struggle under the pressures of 1950s society in Rear Window. To what extent is this true?
  • How does Rear Window reveal both the importance and the difficulty of relationships?
  • Rear Window explores the human need for love and connection. Discuss.
  • To what extent do the female characters of the film both criticise the values of their world, yet also act as guides for the male characters? 
  • To what extent do the female characters of the film both criticise the values of their world yet also conform to the views of the male characters? 
  • Rear Window is much more about the relationships between men and women than it is about solving a crime. Discuss. 
  • The expectations of women and men are upended in Rear Window. Discuss.
  • Rear Window strongly advocates traditional gender roles. Do you agree? 
  • To what extent does Rear Window revolve around marriage?
  • How does Rear Window suggest that relationships between men and women are not always easy? 
  • How does Rear Window successfully combine the genres of thriller and romance? 
  • ‘In Rear Window, Hitchcock challenges the gender roles which existed in 1950s America’. To what extent do you agree? 
  • Rear Window presents a cynical view of romantic relationships. Discuss. 
  • While the women in Rear Window look after the men, the men try to escape from these domestic arrangements. Do you agree? 


  • In Rear Window, Jeff never truly “emerge[s] from this plaster cocoon.” Discuss. 
  • The lives of Jeff’s neighbours are simply reflections of his fears, anxieties and concerns. Discuss. 
  • It is only once Lisa becomes part of what Jeff is observing that he is truly able to see her. Discuss. 
  • L. B. Jefferies and Lars Thorwald are equally villainous. Discuss. 
  • ‘I’m going to make this a week you’ll never forget.’ In Rear Window it is Lisa who controls the way in which events play out. Do you agree?
  • ‘Can’t you just see me, rushing home to a hot apartment to listen to the automatic laundry and the electric dishwasher and the garbage disposal and the nagging wife?’ Jefferies’ views on marriage are based on the assumptions he makes about his neighbours. Discuss. 
  • A broken leg is not Jeff’s only handicap. Discuss. 
  • All of Hitchcock’s characters are deserving of sympathy. Do you agree? 
  • Although Jefferies spends his time looking at the lives of others, he does not see their problems clearly. Do you agree? 
  • It is the minor characters in Rear Window who teachers us the most about what is important. Do you agree? 
  • Rear Window is ultimately about the clarity Jeff gains about himself, his relationship and his place in his neighbourhood. Do you agree? 
  • In Rear Window, all of Hitchcock’s characters are equally worthy of sympathy. Do you agree? 
  • ‘A murdered would never parade his crime in front of an open window.’ Rear Window demonstrates that Jefferies understands more about the lives of others than his own. Discuss. 
  • ‘Every man is ready to get married when the right woman comes along.’ Stella’s observations are the most acute of any character. Do you agree? 
  • Jefferies is an observer in life, rather than a participant. Do you agree?
  • ‘What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change.’ How does Hitchcock demonstrate that Jefferies is blind to his own problems? 
  • Rear Window’s LB Jefferies is primarily an observer of life, unable to establish real relationships. Do you agree?
  • ‘You don’t think either of us could ever change?’ Lisa changes more than Jeff throughout the course of the film. Do you agree? 

Cinematic structure and technique

  • How does Hitchcock create a world of limitation and fear in Rear Window?
  • Hitchcock manipulates the audience into believing the unbelievable through his mastery of the camera in Rear Window. Discuss. 
  • Hitchcock treads a fine line in presenting voyeurism as both entertaining and dangerous. Discuss. 
  • How does Hitchcock use light and dark to influence his audience’s understanding of character actions? 
  • Rear Window is ultimately a film about film watching. Discuss. 
  • The apartment is not just a host for the action but a device itself. Discuss. 
  • How does Hitchcock present the audience as voyeur?
  • Hitchcock is known as the master of suspense. How is this evidence in the structure of Rear Window?
  • To what extent does Rear Window offer the audience a Hollywood happy ending? 
  • How does Hitchcock encourage us to sympathise with Jeff despite his flaws?

Success! You're on the list.

One thought on “VCE Essay prompts: Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s