American History X Essay

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American History X is an American film released in 1998, directed by Tony Kaye (his first feature film) starring Edward Norton and Edward Furlong in the leading roles. The film tells the story of the two Vinyard brothers, Derek and Danny and their family living in Venice Beach, California. Derek is a member of a neo-Nazi group and is very involved in the defense of the white race he calls '' higher '' while Danny, younger, admires his brother and just wants to behave like him. Sentenced to three years in prison for the murder of two black criminals trying to steal his car, Derek leaves Danny alone with no marks and under the influence of the neo-Nazi group and its founder Cameron Alexander. Although intelligent but young, Danny seems lost and falls into racist ideas that the milieu he frequents keeps hammering him. It begins to affect his school work where, one day, he writes an essay praising Mein Kampf. Dr. Sweeney, the black Principal of the Venice Beach High School, is almost paternal to Danny and tries to help him despite his xenophobic and dangerous behavior. The film's title is actually the name Dr. Sweeney gives private lessons he decided to teach himself to the young Danny, his first duty being to write a new essay about his brother, which will serve as a guideline to the film. The Principal aims at preventing Danny from having the same fate as his brother and eventually ending up in jail, because he has hope in him and does not want to abandon him in this unhealthy environment, starting with Seth, the former obese friend of Derek, deeply racist and hateful toward African-Americans. After his release from prison, Derek realizes the consequences of his behavior on Danny and in what situation he has left his family. Follows... ... middle of paper ... ...y the sudden death of the little brother, his blood splashing symbolically his essay in the school toilets as a finger salute to this attempt to break this cycle of violence, as if it always had the last word. It's a bit the feeling that the viewer at the end of the film because all the efforts of two brothers to restore order in both of their lives are ruined by this murder committed by a black classmate Danny with whom he had an altercation earlier. The helplessness and the inevitability feelings in a society where hate always ends up winning, but also bitter, seeing the waste of two lives. This is thus a very pessimistic message that is conveyed at the end of the film, contrasting with the encouraging conclusion that Danny writes in his paper with a quote from Abraham Lincoln, full of hope and friendship, and witnessing the progress he has made, although in vain.

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