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Film about slavery

Analyse sectorielle : Film about slavery. Recherche parmi 241 000+ dissertations

Par   •  1 Décembre 2017  •  Analyse sectorielle  •  707 Mots (3 Pages)  •  191 Vues

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At, first glance, I did not realized the deeper meaning the film conveyed about literacy in relation to the institution of slavery. I had to watch it again to see the themes, the characters unravel before my eyes. The theme takes shape at the first church scene. The stained glass windows  illustrating the biblical story of Exodus the archangel Gabriel following god's command by casting Pharaoh and his horse into the  sea with the inscription " For Rider and Horse He Has Thrown, Cast Into The Sea" Exodus 15:1. The story of exodus becomes redundant throughout the movie.

 Like the story of exodus , Nightjohn is a story of deliverance. Deliverance from ignorance and the cycle of injustice that slavery. Bondage has been recurrent in every civilizations throughout the ages. Arguably, the two most memorable ones are the Israelites and the African Americans and Nightjohn looks to be the uniting theme of the two.

In the first church opening scene we see the congregation happily singing  the "Horse and Rider" hymn Which seems ironic since the very people singing that hymn would the equivalent of the Egyptians of that time in the context of exodus. These were not  illiterate people nor were they deprived of Bible yet they still did not grasp the meaning of the story as to know their place in that biblical context. In addition, the reverend sermon when he said "We we are the bearers of that ancient code. And who can stand against us whiny one fool enough to try shall be overturned just like god almighty overturned the escaping slaves in exodus when horses and riders he threw into the sea"  validated that narrative.

However, that narrative  seems to be a perverted version of Exodus. It raises few questions that what would push people to pervert what is most sacred to them. Does literacy really means the total absence of ignorance. Are the slaves owners and slaves all victim of the same wretched institution that is slavery. After all, the institution of slavery depended on ignorance to thrive and to sustain itself. In this writings I' going to focus on few scenes that correlate with Exodus

The one scene where Clel chopped off John fingers and asked him if he has learned his lessons. John's resolves became very clear to us even after receiving a debilitating injury to his right hand. He starts to write letters in the dirt as a commandment for slaves to live by. Just like when Moses took the decalogue to the Israelites as part god's covenant for their freedom. The most symbolic of all to my mind,  when he extends his left hand to Sarny's right hand  and says "the Old man said if you loose one hand the other one gets stronger use the other hand now girl you know what you have to do" and entrusts her with that enormous task he spearheaded. The scene symbolizes two events in exodus the leadership duo of Moses and Aaron where John lost hand representing Moses's speech impediment , and Sarny as John's strong hand representing Aaron Moses's speech giver. It also echoes the passing of leadership from Moses to Joshua.

 Another scene that caught my eye is the last church scene, where we see Sarny's wits come to light as she stands up to Clel. We see her now as the shepherd, the leadership entrusted to her by John. She reassures her fellow slaves that Clel won't shoot them because they are the only wealth he got. She knows he has lost everything in the cotton field. The scene is reminiscent of Pharaoh's ordeal. He has lost everything in the plagues all he had was the Israelites and he was not going to let his remaining wealth slip away.


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