"The Searchers" Film Report

1133 words - 5 pages

Date:13.12.206Course:Native Americans Petric PaulaProf. Ruxandra Radulescu 1st yearAmerican StudiesThe Searchers- Film ReportMy first impression of this movie was that it is a very racist one. Here you meet racism inall its forms: in character's traits, in the captivity narrative, in the stereotypical image ofIndians , and also in the white people fear of miscegenation .The film is not an objective onebecause it does not present the real relations between Indians and whites, but it reflects thecultural beliefs of its time about Indians and their social and sexual impact on the white people.The plot is very simply put forward. Ethan Edwards, a veteran of the confederate army returns three years after the Civil War has ended to his brother's farm in Texas. The action takes place in the year 1868.Soon after his arrival a Comanche raid kills his brother and sister-in-law, Martha and takes captive their two daughters: Lucy and Debbie. Extremely angered Ethan sets off with Martin, his brother's adopted son(part white and part indian) to find the two missing girls. Lucy is soon discovered: she has been raped and killed, but the two men continue the obsessive search for Debbie. Martin soon realizes that Ethan wants to find Debbie not to rescue her, but to kill her for "living with a buck". In the end they find her and Ethan leaves apart his hatred and takes her to the Jorgensen family, "symbol of society and civilization on the frontier".The main theme of the movie, racism is first reflected in the traits of character of Ethan and Martin. Ethan is a fervent racist, who really hates Indians. He wants to kill Debbie only because he thinks that, living for so many years with Indians she "is not white anymore" as he precisely says. He also thinks that her mother would had wished that too. When he says to Martin what his intentions are ,Martin's response is "she's alive and she's gonna stay alive", but Ethan believes that "Living with Comanches ain't being alive". His obsession with Indians makes him a "psychologically-disturbed man who will always remain outside society and the community". But in spite of his hate for Indians we find in Ethan some attributes associated stereotypically with Indians: "he understands the nuances of Indian culture, customs and beliefs and can speak Comanche language". So in the end Ethan appears as an antihero, he is the "mirror image of Scar seen from the other side of social beliefs".The real hero is Martin, a very mature, noble, protective of the whites, and not that obsessed with the purity of this race. He was adopted by Aaron, after his parents had been killed by Indians. Being part Indian he is more open-minded and he has a different view about miscegenation. Ethan remarks on his Indian-ness at the beginning of the film "a fella could mistake you for a half-breed". But Martin indeed has some certain "indian" traits ," displaying aspects of Indian instincts". He understands Debbie and he is very determined to take her home...

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