Friday, July 29, 2011

HU121: Unit 2 - Assignment Questions

Assignment Question
Critical Thinking Questions: The Searchers
  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

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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.

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