What rightfully belongs in Stephen Prothero’s anthology? Creating an anthology is complicated because the author has to find texts that fit in to a specific topic of emphasis he wants for his book. The author might have specific principles he would like to address to tie together one single idea for the book. Prothero had many novels and books to choose from and I think he did a great job in choosing works of writing that merged with his principles about America. Based on what I have seen is his criterion, I believe that the film 12 Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen, rightfully belongs in Prothero’s The American Bible: Whose America is this? This film belongs in Prothero’s text because it perfectly fits and follows all the criteria Prothero used to choose all the works in his anthology.
Prothero’s criteria for choosing the novels and speeches for his collection can be classified as only choosing “the most influential writings of Americans, by Americans, and for Americans”(5). Prothero aims to include works that contribute to the controversial aspect of America and it’s important because “it is a record of what Americans value enough to fight about”(6). Instead of choosing one side of the argument, Prothero seems to report on both sides of the controversy and he wants to convey what Americans truly believe in. Prothero doesn’t want to voice his personal opinion instead, he wants books that “Americans themselves have made sacred” that demonstrate what Americans ideals are (7). Prothero also mentions in his introduction how he only aims to include books that have the ability “to generate controversy and conversation”(7). Prothero’s book is meant to showcase the authors whose works crucially influenced in shaping America to what it is known today. In addition, Prothero also mentions how Americans engage in a fight “that is simultaneously political and moral, cultural and religious” and only Americans “decide what America means and who is, and who is not, authentically American”(6). Prothero’s idea for his collection is based on America and, themes like slavery and inequality was and still is a predominant issue in society.
The film 12 Years a Slave is based on the adaptation of Solomon Northup’s narrative in his book Twelve Years a Slave. The protagonist, Salomon, was born into freedom and then sold into slavery. Due to the fact Salomon was born a free man and then forced into slavery offers the audience different insights into slavery. Solomon gets to experience both freedom up north and slavery in the south. This narrative almost instantly captures the attention of the audience and we feel Solomon’s extreme desire for freedom and to reunite with his family. This film is very concise and does not hold on to stereotypes and instead creates the fearsome daily horrors and cruelty of slavery.
In comparison, with Uncle Tom’s Cabin, one work included in The American Bible, the film 12 Years a Slave also discusses the very controversial theme of...