Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Birth of a Nation Essay - 1100 Words

The Birth of a Nation (Essay Sample) Content: Movie Review: The Birth of a Nation by D.W. GriffithName:Institution:The Birth of a NationIt is common knowledge that racism and slavery have existed since ancient times. All the same, times have changed and these vices are now considered as unlawful. Indeed, the aspects of racism have formed a subject matter under focused attention in important spheres of life that are social, economic and political interactions to mention easily. In addition, this subject matter has widely been captured in the media, more specifically in the film industry. In this regard, it is important to emphasize that the 1915 film "The Birth of a Nation" by D. W. Griffith, stands out as one of the paramount films in history that portrays Racism and the Reconstruction (integration of African American in the general American society as equal members- 1865-1877) witnessed in America in the 20th Century. In fact, many consider the film among the greatest films of all time. This paper aims to show j ust how "The Birth of a Nation" demonstrates an apparent variance from the intent and reality of the Reconstruction from a modern-day perspective.The film depicts the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as gallant saviors and custodians of white civilization along with social status, safeguarding from black hegemony. As such, it is up until now considered as controversial, what is more is that black white actors, who have painted their bodies with the color black, portray characters (freed slaves) in the film. In addition, they are portrayed as savages and as persons of undesired social behavior. African Americans in the South or Confederate were severely mistreated; even those who had been freed from slavery, more to the point, they were constantly regarded as second-class citizens, who never witnessed the true meaning of equality.The Southern whites saw the ideology of Black caste equality as a most controversial aspect of reconstruction and hence engaged in violence against the Lincoln governme nt as an effort of undermining the whole process. It is clear that racism flourished in the South owing to the following statement in the film, "The old fashioned dream of the Southà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ but for the black curseà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ could today be the garden of the worldà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚ .It is also clear that racial stereotypes in the movie imply that blacks were inherently inferior in addition to being unable to comprehend the offers of freedom extended to them. The film depicts black slaves smugly working in the fields of the whites. The whites on the other hands are portrayed as adamant carpetbaggers. In one scene, a black man is shown as comic, he is wearing clownish attire, possibly to represent a renegade attitude and or Southern traits- the glorifying of the KKK. Without a doubt, Griffith apparently endeavors to demonstrate Southern ideals as a form of enhanced civilization- a modern look at the situation however indicated that he was indeed blinded from reality.According to the mov ie, the freedmen in the South were exceptionally violent, morally wrong and lazy. They focused on petrifying the Southern whites from time to time in the name of fighting for equality. The film also portrays freedmen as utterly naÃÆ' ¯ve, incapable of fighting for the Republic. When the clansmen hang around voting booths (during an election for a senator) and consequently murder black leaders, the freedmen tend to put up with ideologies of the KKK. The result was the election of a contemptible mulatto, who according t the whites represented a "fermentation of their peaceful stateà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚ . As such, the film portrayed the KKK and whites in the South as malevolent, severe and oppressive to the blacks. They (KKK) saw blacks as a potential threat for ostensibly desired to elect leaders who opposed the Confederacy. Still, one cannot decline to note that the violence orchestrated by the KKK was hardly depicted fully, possibly to hold back the stateliness of the Klan and the South ern Whites in general.Back to the characters in the film, an African American character, Gus, is portrayed as a renegade and a rapist. When Gus appears, Griffith intentionally uses faint shades of light to demonstrate some kind of fanatical fear since he claims a forged identity of an army captain- even though the United States army had no black commissioned officers. Gus (by the rape scene) also depicts miscegenation as well as unbridled sexual behaviors of blacks in general. It is clear that Gus is meant to represent the dark nature of blacks, as dangerous and chaotic people. In demonstrating this more, Griffith places him in a dark lit wood as he chases down a Cameron daughter. In this same scene, he (Gus) appears to take cover in a dark corner in the wood. The dark lighting is undoubtedly meant to symbolize just how evil the blacks are.Noteworthy to mention is that the film depicts some characters based on real-life people but with some degree of divergence. For instance, the ch aracter Austin Stoneman (representing Thaddeus Stevens from the North), portrayed renegade Southerners. He was a hero to abolitionists but not to common southerners. Griffith deliberately fails to portray his fight for racial equalit...