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Essay about Film Analysis of American History X

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America has come a long way with how people are treated as opposed to how things use to be not so long ago. In the film American History X (1998) we see how some parts of America were not adjusting to change in their towns which resulted in violent outbreaks and many deaths. Although throughout the movie we see the main character, Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) that at the beginning of the film is in a “white power” gang and later transforms as a character to protect his brother and the rest of his family from being hurt and corrupted by the racist world that they were living in.
The movie starts out in a black and white color, which represents in flashback points of what happened in the Vinyard family past. In that black and white scene there were African American “gang” members break into a car at the Vinyard household. Derek is clearly proud of his status since his father was killed by an African American so he believes he is doing the right thing by standing up to them in remembrance of his father, and he kills a few of the gang members. Then we see Danny (Edward Furlong), who is Derek’s younger brother; walk outside to witness the cops taking Derek away. In this scene we learn about the views of the Vinyard house hold and this night basically shapes who Danny becomes in the future, since he wants to make his older brother proud. Danny gets mixed up in all the same gangs as Derek did which changes him for the worst.
After that scene we see the mentally corrupt Danny waiting in the principal’s office to talk about a racist paper he had written for his class. This is when his principal assigns Danny to write a new paper, a paper over the life of his brother and how it has changed Danny’s life. At this point in the movie Danny h...


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...ate is baggage and it’s not worth it.” Although Derek is extremely upset by the death of his brother it is safe to say that he was a least proud that he had died not in hatred but as a new person. Just as how the old Derek had gone away and came back as a new person.



Works Cited

American History X. Dir. Tony Kaye. Perf. Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Avery Brooks. New Line Cinema, 1998. DVD.
Beck, Bernard. "Your Worst Nightmare: The Siege, American History X, And Our Views Of Enemies, Foreign And Domestic." Multicultural Perspectives 1.3 (1999): 19. Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.
Blake, Richard A. "Skinheads." America 179.18 (1998): 23. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.
Finley, Laura L., and Peter S. Finley. "The White Supremacist In Anti-Racist Films." Contemporary Justice Review 7.2 (2004): 217-234. Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.



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