This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

"The Birth Of A Nation": An Epic Silent Film Sterotyping Black Americans And The Deep South

1366 words - 6 pages

"THE BIRTH OF A NATION": Epic D.W. GriffithThe "Birth of a Nation", by David Wark Griffith, is a 1915 silentfilm based on the book The Clansman, written by Thomas Dixon. Accordingto the liner notes included with this video re-release, Griffith hasbeen given the title of "The Father of Hollywood" with "Birth" being oneof his most classic films. He makes use of many accomplished actors and actresses of his time including: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B.Walthall, Miriam Cooper, Robert Harron, Wallace Reid, Joseph Henabery, Don Crisp, Erich von Stroheim and Raoul Walsh.It is a story about the Civil War and the resulting Reconstruction era in nineteenth century United States history. The first ...view middle of the document...

The film uses threats of rape and depictions of sexuality to illustrate racial politics and the pastoral idealism of Griffith's portrayal of ante-bellum plantation life. It is obvious that even in the making of this film African-Americans were viewed so separate that white actors were used to play African-Americans when their characters came into close contact with white actresses.The movie displays a contrast between ante-bellum and post-bellum African-American behavior as turning from faithful to renegade due to their new found freedom, a freedom the whites in the South lost. The Southerner way of agricultural life "required" slaves to build their empire in the same vane that much of civilization had done in the past.Besides the battle action some memorable and scenes include,Lillian Gish emerging from a hospital visit where a sentry, gaping in ecstasy, sighs a sigh of devotion and a title proclaiming "War's Peace" is followed by a close-up of a young dead soldier. Another is a classic Black stereotype in one of the Reconstruction scenes where black members of Congress are portrayed as arrogant, lustful, and drinking heavily. They are depicted going about the business of the country coarsely reclining in their congressional chairs, with bare feet propped upon their desks. The final scenes where the Ku Klux Klan is depicted as heroiccharging to the farm house to rescue the 'good white folk' from the Black Union soldiers during the Reconstruction is especially memorable in representing the ethnic alienation and the implication for segregation that Griffith wanted to establish. A pro African-American North using former slaves to "threaten" already demoralized and property stricken White Southerners certainly exposes contrasting ideologies in attempting to incite pity for those "poor Southerners".The actual fighting for separation of the southern states attempting to form a new nation, as the Civil War had been, is depicted by Griffith through his staged view of the "dangers" of racial mixture and the need for separation of "race". This idea still lives on in our society especially in many southern states where the legacy of the Civil War blatantly lingers. (I am made abundantly aware of this when I visit my two children living in rural Mississippi). It seems that this is the idea Griffith uses - to correlate the separation of the North and South with that of White and African-American."Birth of a Nation" was produced only fifty five years after the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery and fifty two years after the Fourteenth Amendment provided for "equal protection under the law." But it was not until the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that gave African-Americans their fullest rights under federal protection. From the earliest efforts by Southern Democrats (Solid South)during Reconstruction through the Jim Crow...

Other Essays On "THE BIRTH OF A NATION": An Epic Silent Film Sterotyping Black Americans And The Deep South

Birth Of A Monster Essay

1743 words - 7 pages "The Birth of a Monster" Frankenstein is a compelling account of what happens when a man tries to create a child without a woman. It can, however, also be read as an account of how the relationship between the creator and the child can be destroyed by the lack of love and acceptance. Frankenstein represents the classic case of an abused and neglected child growing up to be an abuser. The heart of the novel is the creature's discussion of his own

Birth Of A Monster Essay

1743 words - 7 pages "The Birth of a Monster" Frankenstein is a compelling account of what happens when a man tries to create a child without a woman. It can, however, also be read as an account of how the relationship between the creator and the child can be destroyed by the lack of love and acceptance. Frankenstein represents the classic case of an abused and neglected child growing up to be an abuser. The heart of the novel is the creature's discussion of his own

Discuss The Importance Of Language In The Development Of The Nation State And / Or Cultural Identity

3439 words - 14 pages Discuss the importance of language in the development of the nation state and / or cultural identity.There are various different ways in which people interact with one another, communication being the most common, and language being the most common form of communication. We use it to convey our emotions, thoughts and feelings, and to express ourselves. Language is an absolutely integral part of the survival of the human race, and a key aspect of

DBQ 1999: To What Extent Had The Colonists Developed A Sense Of Their Identity And Unity As Americans By The Eve Of The Revolution?

377 words - 2 pages defines an American in Document H, Letters from an American Farmer. He said that an American is a person who left their culture and came to America.England couldn’t enforce much in the colonies since they were very far away. The colonist knew that since England was so far away, they couldn’t have a good government. They created their own government.By the end of the American Revolution, the Americans had a sense of unity and identity of Americans because of many factors, including geography, culture andpolitical hardships.We The People, Jaques Toqueville p120-198

Political, Psychological, Economic And Social Aftermath Of The Black Death

2542 words - 11 pages An epidemic stroked the medieval world in 1347 which depopulated it and brought a great number of consequences. These consequences, however, were not entirely bad consequences in the long run. In the long term, the Black Death created a more diversified economy based on more intensive use of capital, more powerful technology and created a higher standard of living. In short term, however, new laws emerged which restrained trade and also allowed

Describe The Relationship Among The Rise Of European Nation States, International Commerce, And The Exploration Of The New World

699 words - 3 pages Late in the fifteenth century, changes began to arise in Europe. The public began to demand more after numerous brief brushes with the exotics lands of the Orient. Society had begun to unite, prompting nation states ruled by a solitary monarch to appear. This demand for goods as well as the control needed to carry out the necessary operations led to an age of exploration, conquest, and discovery.Trade was the catalyst by which this new age

A 200 word report on the nation of Kazakhstan that came out of the U.S.S.R. when it split

330 words - 2 pages Kazakstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan is one of the 15 countries that where created when the U.S.S.R. divided in 1991. As of 1995 Kazakhstan had an estimated population of 17,377,000, Kazakhstan is 1,050,000 sq. miles and is located in central Asia. It borders Russia in the north, China in the east, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in the south, and the Caspian Sea and European Russia in the west. Astana is the capital and

A Critical Analysis Of A Review Of The Film 'I Am Sam'

636 words - 3 pages James Berardinelli's film review of 'I am Sam' is a considerably biased outlook on an otherwise monumental film with dazzling performances by Sean Penn and Michelle Pfiefer. Berardinelli is convinced that this film was just 'tear jerker' that was created with a sole purpose to win or at least be a nominee for the Oscars. Berardinelli is unenthusiastic and sometimes sarcastic tone add to his cynical opinion of this film.This critic claims that

The American Hunger: An Analysis Of "Hunger" As Used By Richard Wright In His Book, Black Boy

1570 words - 7 pages The American Hunger“A hungry man is not a free man.” - Adlai E. Stevenson“Men can starve from a lack of self realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.” - Richard WrightThe life and story of Richard Wright is one of heartbreaking defeats and powerful victories. Growing up a poor black boy in the South, Richard Wright lived a life that was all too familiar to those in his situation at that time in history, a life of

Discuss The Technological Impact On Film Theory And The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Invasion Of The Digital World

1536 words - 7 pages Films are one of the most popular media in the modern world, watched by hundreds of millions of people all around the world. Films began in the late 19th century as a technological novelty, transferring to a new means of presentation and distribution an older tradition of "entertainment, offering stories, spectacles, music, drama, humour and technical tricks for popular consumption." (McQuail, 1983) And, as with any popular media, people began

A Film Review/Anaylis Of The 2004 Movie, "Kill Bill, Vol. 2"

1096 words - 5 pages Two things are readily apparent about Kill Bill Volume 2. First, unlike its predecessor, this is a complete movie. It stands on its own. It is possible to see and enjoy Volume 2 in a way that was not true of Volume 1. Viewed in retrospect, the first installment now seems like an easily discarded prologue. The real meat is in Volume 2. Secondly, Quentin Tarantino needs a new editor - someone who can convince him to make the really hard cuts

Similar Papers

The Epic Of Gilgamesh Essay

502 words - 3 pages Can humans live forever? Can a man single-handedly slay a mythical beast? Is it possible for someone to stay awake for six days and seven nights? It seems as though it's possible according to the characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh. This ancient literature represents a story of a quest to it's fullest aspects. The definition of a story of a quest is a story in which a "hero" searches something that all people would like to have. In this

The Birth And Death Of Stars

1221 words - 5 pages solar wind that overtakes and compresses this material into planetary nebula. The star loses most of its mass to the nebula, and cools and shrinks to become a white dwarf. Eventually the White Dwarfs in our universe may cool enough to become Black (cold) Dwarfs.The most massive stars--over 4 solar masses--end their lives much more spectacularly than smaller stars. They start to die as the other stars do, by igniting the hydrogen shells and

"Abnormal Psychology" This Is An Essay On The Film 'a Beautiful Mind' Discussing Whether The Ideas And Depictions Of Schizophrenia Were Accurate And Relevant To The Context In Which The Film Was...

881 words - 4 pages hallucinations and though alienation, two symptoms shown by John Nash in the film. The only slight variance here was that in real life John Nash did not see the voices as people like he does in the film, he only hears them. A slight variation to the real story, it is possible that schizophrenic s see things, but it was not the case for Nash. These symptoms in the film still give the film an accurate portrayal of what was looked for in a

Nathaniel Hawthorne: "The Minister's Black Veil" A Study Of Puns And Biblical References

2277 words - 10 pages narrator unknowingly leaves us an image of withering grass in this last sentence. This image may be interpreted as a promise. All flesh is grass...The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of God shall stand forever (Iasiah 40:6-8). Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Minister's Black Veil", while giving the impression of being merely a story of a man wearing a veil, shows us how Hawthorne's use of etymological puns and biblical