Assessment Type 1: Written Text Analysis
American History X
American History X directed by Tony Kaye expresses to the audience the process of change in the beliefs of Derek Vinyard. He begins the film as a violent young man and due to his father’s racist views he then develops his own, Derek is portrayed as becoming the leader of the Neo-Nazi organisation and claiming his leadership at a basketball game against the local blacks. There are two protagonists in the film, also coming from two perspectives; Derek is looked upon by his younger brother, Danny Vinyard who follows the footsteps of Derek ‘People look at me, and they see my brother’ which then leads him into tragedy. Derek’s behaviour results in a change after he experiences 3 years in prison for a less charge in man-slaughter instead of a life sentence for double murder mainly because Danny didn’t testify. This film takes its audience on a journey through brutal violence and racism to Derek and Danny’s view of mankind altering. The use of significant techniques by the producer such as persuasive language, symbolism and the use of flashbacks to portray past events are constant during the film. Before Derek Vinyard was sentenced to prison ‘Derek was more like… the skinhead’ Bob Sweeny says in a conversation with a policeman. His hatred for other races reached to the top in the popular scene in which he, in a hateful charge, curb-stomped an African-American male as well as shot another dead from their attempt to steal his car, resulting in Derek going to prison. Through the vital techniques such as symbolism, Tony Kaye displays Derek’s white power tattoos; his most projecting one being a large tattoo of the Swastika on his chest to represent his Neo-Nazi alliance after his father, a firefighter, who was murdered by an African-American drug dealer. With a swastika tattooed on his chest, he fits in at first with the white clique in prison, but is unsatisfied to find that all the major groups in...
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