Mississippi Burning- the Use of Power

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Stage 1: English applications
Discuss the theme of power, what is power? What forms of power are presented in the film? Who has the power (How/why)? Who is powerless? How has power obtained? How is power maintained? How is power used and abused? Does the balance of power change?

The film Mississippi burning presents a strong theme of power, throughout the film it shows both lack of power for some and also the ways others can abuse it. The film accurately demonstrates how little equality and respect was shown to the African Americans and how powerless they were during those times in our past.

The definition of power is “the possession of control or command over others; authority” this is presented through the film although its more intense then just control, in Mississippi burning the control that the white community holds over the black one is so strong that the black people are so powerless they don’t even know how to defend themselves when their life’s are in danger.

The authority figures of the town have a very deranged mind set, and abuse their power by doing disgraceful acts they see as ‘fair’ business. They are convinced they are so powerful that they can even overrule the courts from making Mississippi a segregated state. This is shown when the quote “In the courts of Mississippi, they have been reminded, that they cannot, by force, turn our communities into replicas of their communities” is used.

The saying ‘knowledge is power’ is highly relevant and related to this film. At the KKK meeting the speech given refers to how powerless the FBI is as they have such a lack of knowledge and evidence on the disappearance of the 3 civil rights workers. “These federal policeman you see around here prying into our lives, violating out civil liberties have learned that they are powerless against us if every single Anglo-Saxon Christian one of us stands together!’ The whole town is brainwashed into telling a lie and exercising their own individual power by...
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