Dances With Wolves, directed by Kevin Costner, and The Searchers, directed by John Ford, looks into the fabric of this country's past. The media has created a false image of the relationship between Native Americans and White men to suppress the cruel and unfortunate reality. Both directors wanted to contradict these stereotypes, but due to the time period the films were created, only one film was successful. Unlike The Searchers, Dancing With Wolves presents a truly realistic representation of Native Americans. Both Dances With Wolves and The Searchers protagonists, Dunbar and Ethan, embark on a journey and evolve in different ways.
Dances With Wolves Dances with Wolves offers a cinematic portrayal of Native Americans that is quite contrary to the stereotypical norm. In this film, John Dunbar, goes out to the west where he meets and becomes friends with the Sioux Indians. He is drawn more and more into their community and eventually chooses to side with the humane Indians over his fellow cruel white Americans. In an attempt to change stereotypical views, director Kevin Costner through Dunbar, presents to the audience a different perspective of Indian removal. The film allows viewers to identify and sympathize with the Indians and thus causes a shift of perception towards the Indian problem.
On his way to Fort Sedgwick, Lieutenant Dunbar and his guide Timmons encounter a decimated wagon with some human remains and arrows lying near. This image serves two purposes: to draw the audience into the film by playing on the stereotype that Indians kill innocent travelers, as well as foreshadow what is to happen to Timmons. After dropping Dunbar off at the fort, he asks Timmons about the Indians, to which Timmons responds: “Goddamned Indians! Nothing but thieves and beggars!” Again, although his language is crude, this enables the audience to connect with the film by reinforcing indigenous stereotypes. Costner deals a heaping portion of poetic justice with the Pawnee ambush on Timmons while he is leaving the fort.
Dances with Wolves was very interesting to me because it showed a different type of relationship between a white man and an Indian tribe (Dances with Wolves). The Searchers was a classic John Ford film and showed the viewer the not so good side of certain Indian tribes (The Searchers). I would recommend both of these films to someone who was interested in learning more about the Indian culture and culture from the 1950s and 1980s. Works Cited Dances with Wolves. Kevin Costner.TIG Productions.
In the film, Dances with Wolves," John Dunbar approaches the Indians with this same apprehension. He is a white America who is alone on the frontier. He may be scared of the supposed "savages," but he never lets on. The stereotypical Indian is a brutal savage-like beast who kills for the sake of killing and ravages the countryside. In the first scene of the movie, this is the image that I received.
Changing Native American Stereotypes in the Film, Dances with Wolves The film Dances with Wolves, that was written by Michael Blake and directed by Kevin Costner, helps to shift our perspective of Native Americans from one of stereotypical distaste, to one of support and respect. According to an anonymous critic on www.eFilmcritic.com "This is one of the few westerns that devotes its time to looking at the plight of the American Indians (particularly the Sioux), who were thought by some as even more subhuman than blacks during the 1800's (and even during parts of the 1900's)." It has always been thought that Native Americans of old were savage, non-feeling, unemotional, cold-blooded killers. It is difficult for people to see them as anything else. I have come to the understanding that they are much more that.
With every exposure we are purposefully moved further and further away from what may have been our preconceived notions regarding these groups of people. Through John's eyes we are first exposed to the world of the white man embroiled in the carnage and butchery of the Civil War. The gruesome hospital scene only emphasizes the fact that life in the "civilized" world can be anything but. A brief contrast is made when the... ... middle of paper ... ...bar, separate ourselves from them. The film Dances with Wolves provides us with an opportunity to journey out of a comfortable world which may be founded on hastily established stereotypes, into a world of truth.
In the beginning of this film, the "White Man" viewed these Native Americans as vicious humans that had no remorse for individuals out of their race. They did not make it any better on their part either, because they continued with their in-human killings of the "white man", and tortures. One of their famous strategies, was known as "the scalping". When Dunbar and Timmons were traveling to the fort, they viewed a decayed body with an arrow sticking out of it. Then on his way back, Timmons was shot repeatedly with arrows, scalped, and left to die.
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