American History X: Analysis

Topics: American History X, Aryan Brotherhood, Black people Pages: 4 (1619 words) Published: July 24, 2008
In the opening scene, we see Danny Vinyard, a young white supremacist, sitting in the principal's office, waiting to be summoned. As we move into the office, we hear and see Danny's history teacher (Elliot Gould) explaining to the principal, Dr. Sweeney (Avery Brooks), that Danny wrote a book report on Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. The teacher tells Dr. Sweeney that he is offended by Danny's gesture and he wants to see him punished, declaring that Danny was pressured into writing the paper by his older brother Derek, although Sweeney assures him that Derek was not involved. Instead, Sweeney asks the teacher to leave and asks Danny to step in.Danny then puts an American flag toothpick in mouth, Danny steps into the office and sits down. Dr. Sweeney begins yelling at Danny, telling him that writing what he did is offensive. Sweeney tells him that he is now his new history teacher. The class is called American History X and the next assignment is due tomorrow morning; a paper on his brother, Derek (Edward Norton), analyzing all the events leading up to Derek's incarceration and the subsequent impact on Danny's life. After this, Danny walks out. The next scene opens with three black boys beating up a white boy in the men's bathroom for telling the teacher that one of them cheated. Suddenly, Danny appears out of one of the stalls and blows the smoke from his cigarette into one of the boys' face. As the black boys leave angry, Danny helps the white kid from the ground and tells him that he needs to learn to stand up for himself. Soon we see Danny walking home from school through a park where some black boys are playing basketball. One of the players is the boy from earlier in the bathroom. Danny's voice begins to narrate the scene. Danny says, "Before Derek went to jail, the white kids didn't have to be afraid of the black kids. Derek made it safe." [1]

The next scenes are flashbacks explaining Derek's journey from a suburban white teenager to a vengeance-seeking white...
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