Friday, April 15, 2011

Week 2: HU121 Film In Society (The Searchers)

The Searchers (1956) IMDb / Wikipedia / NetFlix

Discussion Question:
Is Ethan Edwards a sympathetic character? Why or why not?

Discussion Answer:
Original Post
I believe John Wayne's character, Ethan Edwards, is a sympathetic character because his mother (initially), then his family and others close to him were savagely attacked and he is responding the best way he feels to avenge them. His hatred for the Comanche people isn't because of their race, but because of what they did to him.

Instructor Response
Although what you did say is very accurate/good, it does not presently have the thorough content that will earn full points.

Resubmitted Post
The character of Ethan Edwards, played brilliantly by John Wayne, is a very sympathetic character. Throughout the film there are many examples that support this statement. 

Firstly, after the initial attack, Ethan stopped Martin from seing what happen to Martha. He was protecting Martin from an unnecessary terror, so strongly that he knocked him down with a blow to the face. 

Secondly, when he found Lucy remains later from a brutal attack, Ethan chose not to tell Brad because of his possible reaction. When Brad did find out, his reaction to the information, got him killed.

For my final example, his strong expression of compassion in the film is in the final scene is when he is face to with Debbie and instead of killing her, he returns her back to home.

Assignment Question:
1. Discuss how the landscape of the film affects the storyline and your reaction to the story.

2. Compare and contrast Ethan and his brother Aron.

3. There is obviously a history between Martha and Ethan. Why do you think Martha married Aron instead?
4. Why did the film's writers choose to make Ethan a Confederate veteran? How does this impact his character and the choices he makes?
5. Does John Ford's use of lighting help to create meaning? If so, how?

Assignment Answer:
1. The landscape for this film is amazing, but being from Utah I my be a bit bias. At first the landscape is a distraction because it is claiming that it is Texas and from what I understand, Texas is fairly flat. That statement aside, the landscape added to the storyline very well. It showed how expansive and unpopulated the land was at that time, as well as desperate the times were to survive in the wild as well as back at the homestead.
2. When comparing Ethan and Aron, there a only a few similarities to point out. To them both, family is very important and they are willing to do what is necessary to protect them. Another similarity between them is their love for Martha. Although not explored in the film, you can tell that the feeling between Ethan and Martha are ver strong. The contrast between them is that Ethan was hardened by experience of a soldier and see the brutality of the what people are and can do. Aron did not have these experiences to affect his decision making. As Ethan eluded to in the film, he has done things that he is not proud of.
3. With the obvious history between Martha and Ethan, I believe she married Aron because he has been there for her while Ethan has been away. Ethan, also has been effected by the events in his life that have made him more hateful.
4. The writers of the film chose to make Ethan a Confederate veteran because he gave a backstory to how he feels towards certain situations (and enemies), as well as supporting the skills he need to get Debbie back from the Comanches. 
5. An example of Director John Ford use of lighting to create meaning in the film is just before the attack, the sky is a fire orange and red, likely to signify the looming attack and foreshadowing to the fires of the attack.

Bonus Info:


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