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English Film and Literature Analysis - Essay Example

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Your Name Name of of Professor Analysis of The Last of the Mohicans and Mr. Smith goes to Washington James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans and Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith goes to Washington are two of the most iconic works of American art…
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English Film and Literature Analysis
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Download file to see previous pages Heroes too have been of varied kinds in the world of American art, ranging from the frontier hero of the Westerns to the hero of the Everyman variety. These two movies look at two such characters and the heroes have elements of different such types. The importance of the genre of the works and the time periods in which they are set shall also be a part of the discussion in this paper. The paper shall argue that these works have influenced the manner in which the American hero has been envisaged over the years and conceived of in other works of art. The character of Hawkeye is one who is able to maneuver through several situations that the settlers have to face. In a period that was marked by a great amount of political turbulence, he is able to navigate himself and others into situations of safety. He is able to also further the agenda of the side that he is on. One needs to remember that this was an era when America was still open to nations of the world and people like Hawkeye were necessary in order to consolidate the power that America had over the world. Such a hero is commonplace in American movies and books. In many movies of the Western genre, one finds that the hero moves to a place which is populated by a large number of Indians. The narratives of such westerns are almost always based on the extension of the American frontiers. Such an extension would then place the character in the mold of a hero as the character would be seen to be performing a service to his community and to the larger community of America. This is seen to also be a patriotic move. Apart from this, it also furthers the idea of the masculine hero who is able to subdue the forces that create problems in the lives of his community. The fact that such heroes are more often than not, men, goes a long way to prove this point. Even in the recently released movie Django Unchained, which seeks to reinvent the genre of the Western, the hero remained a man while the lead female character was a largely passive presence. The masculine hero is then seen as a symbol or crystallization of American manhood. One of the interesting features of the book is the fact that Hawkeye does not appear to be an intensely racist character. On one occasion, he actually says, There is reason in an Indian, though nature has made him with a red skin!’…. ‘I am no scholar, and I care not who knows it; but, judging from what I have seen, at deer chases and squirrel hunts, of the sparks below, I should think a rifle in the hands of their grandfathers was not so dangerous as a hickory bow and a good flint-head might be, if drawn with Indian judgment, and sent by an Indian eye. (Cooper 49) However, this sense of tolerance is often offset by the race pride and sense of superiority that he displays at various points in the novel. One such instance is given below. I am not a prejudiced man, nor one who vaunts himself on his natural privileges, though the worst enemy I have on earth, and he is an Iroquois, daren’t deny that I am genuine white. (Cooper 49) The hero of the Western too was in many cases white and held racist notions of white superiority. Such notions were then used in order to justify his actions that were meant for the progress of a society that was largely white. Many of these movies were also set in pre-Civil War scenes. The hero of Mr. Smith goes to Washington, on the other hand is a person who is closer to the model of Everyman. He is a part of the American ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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