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Étude du film American history X (document en anglais)

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Par   •  16 Mars 2013  •  Dissertation  •  1 487 Mots (6 Pages)  •  667 Vues

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American history X


• Extraits du film American History X


• Au plan lexical:

-opposition, révolte, influence…

-racisme, intolerance…

• Au plan notionnel / fonctionnel :

-present perfect

• Au plan culturel :

-le racisme aux USA

• Au plan méthodologique:

-étude d'extraits vidéo


Scene d’introduction au film: A new drill (DVD sc4 7:40-10:35)

Summary: After the death of his fireman father, Derek becomes obsessed with neonazi propaganda and hatred, leading to his incarceration for murder. Three years later, Derek is freed, hoping to make a clean start. However, while he was in prison, his younger brother Danny has followed his brother's path and is now an active member of the skinhead group Derek used to belong to. Can Derek stop his brother from following the same path of destruction?

1er visonnage

Watch the extract and be ready to present the situation

In this extract we can see Danny in the principal's office (Dr Sweeney). He was summoned because he wrote a paper on Mein Kampf for a history class, bearing border-line / offensive remarks. Sweeney asks him to write another essay, on his brother this time, for the day after, or he will be expelled. Danny is reluctant at first, but he has no choice and accepts/complies.

2e visionnage: fill in the blanks (voir document Word)

Script complet:

Sweeney: Shut the door! What's it gonna be?

Danny: What's what gonna be?

Sweeney: This petty crap you're pulling!

Danny: I don't know…

Sweeney: Have a seat. How are you doing?

Danny: Fine.

Sweeney: Things at home OK?

Danny: Yeah…

Sweeney: Derek got out this morning, did he not?

Danny: Yeah, he did.

Sweeney: He was one of my students, you knew that, right? Honours English! He was a brilliant student, like you, but he hung out with simple-minded fool, also like you…

Danny: Did you bring me here to talk about Derek? Because what happened to him has nothing to do with me!

Sweeney: Everything you do right now has something to do with Derek!

Danny: Look! I followed directions, I wrote an A paper…

Sweeney: Mein Kampf!! I should expel you!

Danny: Go ahead! You don't think I could handle it?

Sweeney: No, I think the street would kill you! Your rhetoric and your propaganda aren't going to save you out there. So here's the drill: I'm your history teacher from now on. We will discuss current events. We will call this class…American history X. We meet once a day. All right? Your first assignment is to prepare for me a new paper due tomorrow.

Danny: Oh come on Sweeney! It took me a week to read Mein Kampf, that isn't fair!... Well, what do you want me to do it on?

Sweeney: Your brother.

Danny: Oh God, man! Please tell me you're joking!

Sweeney: No, no, no. I am not kidding. I want you to analyse and interpret all the events surrounding Derek's incarceration. How these events helped shape your present perspective concerning life in contemporary America. The impact on your life, your family's. Whatever you want to say, Danny. I'll be the only one reading it. But if it's not on my desk tomorrow morning, you're a ghost at Venice Beach High! You clear?

Danny: Yeah, I'm clear.

Comprehension détaillée

Watch the extract again and concentrate on Danny's behaviour. (how he's sitting, what he is doing)

Danny is sprawling, slouching, and chewing the stick of a small American flag, which may mean that he wants to show he's the real American, show his nationalist feelings. His attitude is provocative. He acts as if he didn't care, he pretends he's relaxed and comfy to give an impression of composure, maybe to hide indeed his lack of composure and self confidence.

What about Sweeney?

At first he's shouting but then smoothes and calms down but at the same time remains inflexible. He's angry at Danny because he disapproves of his ideas but at the same time, he knows he's no more than a kid who is only influenced by his brother. Moreover he knows he's following the same path: "like you"

How can you say Danny is influenced by his brother?

"Everything you do right now has something to do with Derek!" He puts his brother on a pedestal, he considers him as a hero, a model, whereas he actually killed someone. Danny's in need for recognition from his brother.

What shows that he's following the same path as his brother?

First, he's got his hair shaved, which proves that he's a skinhead. Then he wrote this paper on mein Kampf, which implies that he shares those ideas. Finally, Sweeney talks about Danny's friends.

"simple-minded fools": what does it refer to?

This refers to Danny's friends who share racist ideas.

Do you agree with Sweeney's decision? Would you have expelled Danny?

Sweeney's decision is quite sensible: he understands that danny is influenced and that he's basically a good boy. It would be no use expelling him, it's more clever / wiser to make him realize


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