American History X Essay

1070 words - 4 pages

Owning American History X, I have watched it numerous times. One particular time I was learning about symbolism in an English Literature class. Applying this lesson it allowed me an insight into Derek's inner most thoughts. While these thoughts and images seemed just to be him reminiscing of Danny and his own innocence, they were a very deliberate part of the cinematography. And although one could go on about how Derek's actions drove the family into poverty, caused his Mother's ailments, and ultimately Danny's death, I believe the story, even though obviously containing other family members, was solely about the relationship between he and his brother. One scene alone details their relationship without speaking a word. It is the scene where Derek is showering after the removal of the neo-Nazi paraphernalia from Danny's room.As the scene opens we see Derek's hand on the showerhead and the soundtrack is inspiring us to feel his pain and sorrow with slow whimsical strings and a distant piano. There is the sound of the shower, very low and almost hidden under the score. As the water rushes over Derek's head you get the sense that he is trying to wash something away, perhaps his horrible past and old beliefs. Next we get a quick cut to a flashback of Derek and Danny as children on a beach with the waves and the sound of Pelicans in the low background as the score goes on with the intense sorrow. We see Danny chasing after his older brother, or better worded, "following in his footsteps." Then Derek turns, and takes his brothers hand, showing him the way, symbolizing Derek's his influence and how he is always looking out for Danny. Next, Danny is in the foreground and Derek is seen in the background, one can only assume this represents how Derek is always willing to put his younger brother before him.After another fast cut to Derek holding Danny's hand and walking him towards the water, you get the feeling that he is trying to instill in him some faith that the water is nothing to fear. By this we can assume he is trying to say the future is not to be feared neither. Then it cuts to Danny smiling into the sun, his face is bright and warmed as the camera pans in. Derek is running around in the background in a random fashion waving his hands in the air, showing perhaps his start of non-conformity.Derek must be remembering this past and asking himself, "Could I have done something better or different for him?" As we see Danny looking into the sun the strings in the score tell the tail of wonder, and comfort that they must have felt as children experiencing the ocean for the first time, and tasting life as a child does, only for Derek to remember this innocence lost.The next cut is to the pelicans flying around carefree, showing the contrast that the birds know no sense of hatred or fear of...

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