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The Echoing Triggers Of Injustice Essay

1782 words - 8 pages

Ultimate justice is unattainable. Halfway through the past century, Capitalism was questioned for its appropriateness as a dominating ideology in the United States of America. Communism confronted capitalism and challenged the prevalence of the capitalistic ideology. This conflict marked the rise of the McCarthyism era in the 1950s – a capitalistic identity crisis aiming at permanently associating Capitalism with the American identity. These “Enemies from within” (McCarthy), consequently, were imprisoned, socially neglected and desecrated for life. Phrases like “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” (McCarthy) echoed in courtrooms, and was directed at people all ...view middle of the document...

During the trial, the jurors unwillingly exposed the unconscious prejudices that influence their notion of “justice”. As Juror number 8 said: “You want to see this boy die because you personally want it, not because of the facts.” (juror #8) Consequently, a message that immediately cuts through the surface of superficiality is that the true threat to America is its own citizens; torn between two ideological identities, consumed with the fear of an identity crisis. These conflicts between capitalism and communism were symbolically represented in the movie as the struggle between individuality (capitalism) and the collective (communism). Davis, juror #8, individually faced the other 11 jurors in the jury room. Here, Davis represents the individuality, while the other jurors represent the collective. Over the course of the movie, the individual is proved superior to the collective. The movie deliberately intended to portray capitalism as the “American dream” through our hero, Davis, the tolerant, well educated individual who stands up for what he believes in.

The movie was almost entirely set in the same jury room, recreating a reality within four concrete walls. The audience is intensely exposed to the drama, which plays on an unconscious level. Eventually, the audience walks out of the movie with a firm notion of the superiority of The Individual over The Collective. Therefore, the audience will attempt to be copies of Davis; individuals who are capable of implementing a rational approach to justice, instead of basing justice on personal predispositions. 12 Angry Men is, therefore, an extension of McCarthyism. Both of them tried to rebuild the American identity, by exploiting the legal system in different ways. 12 Angry Men exploited the “setting” of a legal system to hint at the legitimacy of their proposal of an ideal American. McCarthyism took advantage of the whole legal system of the USA to humiliate the “potential” communists.

Joseph McCarthy was aware of the impact of the film industry in altering the peoples’ political inclinations. Hollywood dominated the American culture at the dawn of the cold war. Thus, appropriate regulation of Hollywood had to be done to minimize the spread of communism. This gave rise to “House Un-American Activities Committee” (HUAC), a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, created to investigate disloyalty and communist-affiliations amongst individuals. Some of the accused individuals were amongst the top-notch Hollywood screenwriters and directors, whose communist-affiliations were quite ambiguous. Dalton Trumbo, an American screenwriter and novelist, was accused of being a communist for his movie: Johnny Got His Gun. Originally a novel, Johnny Got His Gun was published in 1939 and represented anti-war notions. In 1971, the movie replicate was created: a living embodiment of the concept of anti-war. The movie depicted a soldier, who lost all his senses and movement capabilities, and thus was unable...

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