Essay by jozyebUniversity, Bachelor'sA, November 2014

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Josephine Eson-Benjamin David Gantz/ LEH 355

Racism and Violence

The Searchers

The Searchers by John Ford bring into being a change of the social function of the Western film genre. Before The Searchers, the stereotypical western was a simple film to watch which focused mainly on the action as opposed to meaningful and deep messages being said in the film. Even though most Western films reflected early American ideology such as the conquest of the wilderness, demotion of nature to bring about civilization, the conflicts between Native Americans, territorial rights and Frontier life in general, The Searchers touch on many delicate subjects of early and recent American ideology, some that still applies to the American myth even till this day. One of the ideologies is Racism in which Americans are accurately portrayed when it comes to their notion and true feelings about race. Another ideology that Ford presents to us is how violence is an inherit part of American culture.

Both these ideologies conveyed messages to people in regards to racism in America and how the American nation was found through violence.

The Searchers is one of the first Western films to touch on the subject racism in a serious and unpretentious way. This shift from the bland and inconspicuous issue of Racism in America that we see in most Western films to a more genuine and eye opening look at American racism gave this Western film a more modern and realistic tone to it as well as greater psychological realism to the genre. In the film, Ethan is used to represent that idea. From the beginning, we see Ethan as ambiguous, far more than the typical Western hero. What really defines his character is his anti-Native American passion which is obvious and very disturbing. Martin, his nephew, is...