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

Matewan Directed By John Sayles Essay

559 words - 2 pages

Matewan Directed by John Sayles

John Sayles illustrates a feudalistic society in 1920 in his film, Matewan. Matewan is a mining town in West Virginia dominated by the Stone Mountain Cole Company. The company creates most of the labor opportunity in town, providing positions for unskilled laborers as miners. Sayles shows how the company acted as a feudalistic lord. The Stone Mountain Cole Company controlled housing, food, spending and debt of its workers. The company paid the miners per tone instead of an hourly wage. In addition to the tonnage, the company provided the workers only with script, instead of actual cash, limiting the workers to purchasing items from the company store. The Stone Mountain Cole Company demanded the workers to sign a contract which instituted restrictions for the miners beyond work. The life of a miner in Matewan was spent working not only to earn a living, but also to pay off the debt instituted by the company before the miner began working. The company not only owned most of the town, but also the morals and thoughts of its workers. The company convinced its workers what was "morally right" and what was "morally wrong" (i.e.. unions). When Jo Calahan came to town, bringing his ideas of unions and communism, he was obviously negatively received. Jo's communistic beliefs threatened the feudalistic society of Matewan.

Joe provided the people of Matewan the ability to stand up for their rights. He taught the workers that one single worker held little influence, but collectively, the miners were empowered. Joe preached the coming together of all people to form a union. His union looked beyond the racial...

Find Another Essay On Matewan Directed by John Sayles

Power and manipulation in animal farm by george orwell and power of one directed by john g alvidsen

917 words - 4 pages Power and manipulation are evident in the novel Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, where boys are stranded on a tropical island in the Pacific, without any adults or authority figures. Jack Merridew abuses his power and emerges as their leader, using fear and torture as he sees fit. Similarly, in the film, The Power of One, directed by John G Alvidsen, set in South Africa, in a time where Apartheid was law, Dr. Marais and his government

Topic Study: Change; How change is represented in "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen, "As I Walked Out One Evening" by W H Auden and "Being John Malkovich" directed by Spike Jonze?

1574 words - 6 pages Change is an unavoidable concept of modification and alteration perceptible on multiple forms. It affects individuals, their perspectives and the world around them in both constructive and detrimental means. Three texts that represent Change and its effects are the novel "Sense and Sensibility" written by Jane Austen, the poem "As I Walked Out One Evening" composed by W H Auden and the film "Being John Malkovich" directed by Spike Jonze, script

The Economic Structure of Matewan

1371 words - 5 pages The Economic Structure of Matewan The film Matewan, written and directed by John Sayles, depicts the small rural townof 1920's Mingo County, West Virginia as a society undergoing complete social unrest, a result of clashing ideals and economic systems. The film is an illustration of how different social systems come to be so intertwined that they cannot be defined independently of one another. Unfortunately for the people of Matewan


1895 words - 8 pages Matewan The citizens of Matewan, a coal -mining town in West Virginia lived amidst a feudalistic class process. One may think of medieval times in connection with feudalism, but the film “Matewan” directed by John Sayles was based on historical events that took place in 1920. The feudal lord was not a European king, and the serfs were not farming his land. Nevertheless, feudalism existed in this southern town, as the workers did not


1388 words - 6 pages Matewan In the film, Matewan, director John Sayles paints a 1920’s picture of a small, West Virginia coal-mining town. Over the course of the film, this seemingly American Township reveals itself as the site of feudal hardship for its citizens. The Stone Mountain Coal Company was the sole employer in Matewan. The company’s laborers struggled for autonomy and for freedom from the company’s grasp. The ideal method for this

The Modern Society is Product of Wage Labor

1517 words - 6 pages class, artisan lost its importance and success of big machine. We had lost most of our tradition, but we had something so much greater thanks to wage labor. Works Cited Citation Aeschliman, M. D. "The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics, by Christopher Lasch." The Chesterton Review 19.1 (1993): 78-84. Print. Matewan. Dir. John Sayles. Perf. Chris Cooper. Cinecom Pictures, 1987. DVD. Nebel, Grant. Lecture. N.p.: n.p., n.d. PDF.

Capitalism and Feudalism: The Lowell System

1484 words - 6 pages conditions, and many paid high rent to company boardinghouses. This may sound like feudalism, but it was, in fact, an example of oligarchical capitalism. However, it shares features with the conditions in "Norma Rae" and "Matewan". In the Lowell System, power was concentrated within the textile companies, creating an oligarchy. The situation is best described by Thomas Dublin, in his book Women at Work when he writes that 'the textile corporations

Feudalism and Capitalism

3930 words - 16 pages results of their existence appear to be quite different, but important all the same. Thus, the films can also be used to help increase our understanding of the importance and the role of "unions" in society. John Sayles, the writer and director of Matewan, produces for the audience a true depiction of the West Virginian coal-mining community of 1920. At a surface-level viewing and examination of the film, many might be tempted to view

The Secret of Roan Inish

1899 words - 8 pages portray a woman. The film The secret of Roan Inish is a good example of displaying socio-cultural and political anxiety or conflict portraying a human hybrid. The film was directed by John Sayles starring Jeni Courtney as Fiona Coneelly and Susan Lynch as Nula the selkie wife. The film reveals the treatment of seals as if they close like if they are a part of the family and it represents an absent of a mother maternal figure. In this essay, the film

Eight men out

2132 words - 9 pages John Sayles brings in a variety of well- known actors to play roles of players, gamblers, and everyone else that is involved in the scandal. However, the movie concentrates more on the events leading up to the scandal and the personalities of the characters, and overlooks minor, but extremely important, details that leave any avid baseball fan questioning it consistency. Bill James, in his Historical Baseball Abstract, makes very clear the

Feudalism in Men With Guns

2189 words - 9 pages (for example Knights). Many of the above stated characteristics are present in Men With Guns. However, it must be mentioned that Sayles chose to focus less on the actual production processes involved in feudalism (as he did in Matewan), and instead give the viewer a more in-depth sense of the conditions that push people into the feudalist system and how it can be perpetuated. Through the viewing of the individuals in the movie and the

Similar Essays

John Sayles' Matewan: Forming A Communist Society

805 words - 3 pages John Sayles' Matewan: Forming a Communist Society John Sayles' movie Matewan offers an alternative to the norm when thinking about the development of class and economic systems in the modern world. Upon first glance, it seems as though the coal miners in the town of Matewan were the subjects of a cruel feudal system, sentenced to spending their lives slaving away for a company who cared very little for them. A classic example of the type

Courage In John Sayles’ Matewan And The Matewan Massacre

2280 words - 9 pages May 5, 2014). Matewan. Film. Directed by John Sayles. S.l.: s.n.]., 1987. "Matewan Massacre." West Virginia Culture. (accessed May 5, 2014). O'Cassidy , Teresa. "Accent, Linguistic Discrimination, Stereotyping, and West Virginia in Film." Marshall Digital Scholar n.d. (2005). Roberts, Janet. "Bravery." Antipodes 25, no. 2 (2011): 168-170.

John Q, Directed By Nick Cassavettes

1610 words - 6 pages John Q, Directed by Nick Cassavettes Question: Feature films can reinforce and/or question what is important to society at particular times. Discuss how John Q performs one or both of these social functions. Society is constantly changing to make the world a better place to live in. This is why we need to be informed regularly of the issues we have in the world. A lot of issues are not really being discussed in print media therefore these

Characterization In The Movie The Breakfast Club Directed By John Hughes

2818 words - 12 pages The 1985 movie directed by John Hughes, The Breakfast Club, is widely regarded as the defining 1980s film for teenagers. It deals with topics such as the damaging and disuniting effects of stereotyping; teenage rebellion against the hardness of adult hearts; and how the friendships you choose shape the person you become. Two characters in the film, Claire Standish and Allison Reynolds, are, like the others, developed over the course of the