Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Latina Immigration Websites

Pro Latino Immigration Website: Latinos Progresando 
"serve immigrants with the highest quality, low-cost legal immigration services, community education and engagement, and advocacy/organizing around policy that affects immigrants".

Founded In: 1998

Led By:  Luis Gutierrez

Based In: Chicago

Main Focus: To help families, makes a strong and unified community and to increase social justice and strength within that community. Work on immigration laws and help communities form within the states.

Anti Latino Immigration Website: Fair
 "To examine immigration trends and effects, to educate the American people on the impacts of sustained high-volume immigration, and to discern, put forward, and advocate immigration policies that will best serve American environmental, societal, and economic interests today and the future."

Main Focus: To reduce immigration (both legal and illegal) from it's current 1 million plus per year figure to a figure more adequately around the range of 300,000 legal immigrants per year. To increase border protection and stop illegal immigration altogether. 

Monday, 30 March 2015

Immigration websites

This website is for the NCLR which stands for the National Council of La Raza. This organisation is the largest national Hispanic civil rights organisation in the United States. They state on their website that they aim to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans by focusing of five key areas. These areas are, assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment, economic status and health.

They aim to help those that came to America as children and are still viewed as illegal immigrants by helping those that meet the requirements of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to come forward and apply to become legal citizens. They state that they have already helped more than half a million people apply for DACA. They also help parents of U.S citizens to apply for deferred action under the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, which will allow illegal residents to stay in the U.S because their children are U.S. citizens. This would not mean they are legal citizens but it would allow them to continue their lives in the U.S. without the immediate threat of deportation.
They also aim to improve national security by having illegal residents come forward and under go background checks. They also state that they aim to strengthen the economy by having immigrants who are working do so legally, so they will be contributing more taxes, and prevent employers from employing immigrants so that they can take advantage of the system.

This website is for the Americans for Immigration Control, Inc. They were founded in 1983 with the intention of stopping illegal immigrants who sneak across the border from Mexico. They also aim to deport any illegal immigrants already in the U.S. 

They state that “AIC is about strictly enforcing the current immigration laws” and they also focus on increasing penalties for “those who knowingly transport, recruit, solicit, or hire illegal aliens.”

They use a lot of strong phrases such as, “AIC is about demanding that our federal government immediately use maximum manpower and support equipment to secure our nation from terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegals.” They have the strong opinion that anyone that is illegally in the U.S. is at fault and must be immediately removed from the country. They make illegal immigrants sound like a faceless group of criminals and they don’t seem to consider those that are here for a better life, such as families.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

US Border Issues Websites


The official White House website has a whole section dedicated to the 'issue' of immigration. This was of particular interest as the concept of immigration, in a country whose own foundations were formed by immigrants, being considered as 'issue' is quite ironic. The main problems seem to be the tax evasion  of illegal immigrants, in both personal and work life, as employers like to hire illegal immigrants to 'game the system'. According to the site there are over 11 million people living in the shadows in America, a number that the government is no doubt under scrutiny for. 

Obama's actions 'will help secure the border, prioritize felons, not families, and hold undocumented immigrants accountable by requiring them to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes, and modernizes the legal immigration system. These are common-sense steps, but only Congress can finish the job'. This attack on Congress seems to suggest that it is the Republicans that are holding back the development of immigration laws and presents them as being very anti US border issues.


"The mission of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is to examine immigration trends and effects, to educate the American people on the impacts of sustained high-volume, immigration, and to discern, put forward, and advocate immigration policies that will best serve American environmental, societal, and economic interests today and into the future."

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a 'national, nonprofit, public-interest, membership organization of concerned citizens' that believes that America's immigration policies need to be reformed to best serve the country. Their main points are that they want to improve border security, stop illegal immigration and promote immigration levels 'consistent with the national interest'. 

The organisation have more than 250,000 members and supporters nationwide and aim to encourage and help concerned citizens use their voices to speak up for improved immigration laws. Their publications and research are used by government officials and academics to prepare new legislation and they have been called to testify on immigration bills before Congress more than any other organisation in America.

FAIR can be seen as a positive influence on the American immigration laws as they aim to improve and develop the current laws so that America's best interests are met.

Here are some interesting data maps concerning immigration within states, just click the picture below: 

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the official name of this religion, although it is more commonly referred to as the Mormon Church. 

It was created by Joseph Smith in 1830, who became the first president of the Church. Joseph Smith is believed to have had a vision of God and Jesus after he prayed to ask what Church to join. They believe that Joseph Smith was asked by God and Jesus to restore the church which Christ organised when he was on earth. 

The Church of Jesus Christ began with six original members in 1830 and now has nearly 14 million members on six continents.
They believe in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon and they believe that every President of their church is a prophet. With the current President and prophet being Thomas S. Monson.

They believe in helping others, and being selfless, as well as partaking in missionary work. The church encourages all able young men to undertake a two year missionary service at the age of 19.

“Imagine you found a cure for cancer. How urgently would you spread the news of your discovery? Who would you tell? The gospel of Jesus Christ is the cure for so many of life's ills that Mormons want to share the good news of eternal life with the same urgency.”

Their values are similar to that of other religions, although they are particularly focused on the family; “In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints families come first.”

They believe that everyone on earth, whether a Mormon or not, is a child of God. They also believe that they can continue to exist as families even after death.
In Mormon households they have a regular evening in which the whole family comes together to share in spiritual training, for example, by singing hymns and by praying together.

Whilst 99% of Mormons are Latter-day Saints, some members broke away and have become known as Fundamentalist Mormons. They mainly differ to Latter-Day Saints due to their belief in polygamy (having multiple wives)

I feel that this group can be seen as particularly ‘American’ as it has a strong framework based around the family and helping others. I feel that this is very American as I think that traditionally Americans are seen as wanting to better themselves for their family, as shown through the American dream. People want to live the American dream and be able to provide for their families. Mormons are also particularly focused on helping others and the community which I feel is something than can be seen as traditionally American as I feel that America is often associated with having a close community.

http://religions.pewforum.org/maps  This link leads to a map showing what percentage of each state is a part of the Mormon faith (as well as other religions).

Mormon Website:
Other sources:

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)


Image result for universal unitarianism'We are people of all ages, people of many backgrounds, and people of many beliefs. We create spirituality and community beyond boundaries, working for more justice and more love in our own lives and in the world.
Unitarian Universalism affirms and promotes seven Principles, grounded in the humanistic teachings of the world's religions. Our spirituality is unbounded, drawing from scripture and science, nature and philosophy, personal experience and ancient tradition'
About us page on the UUA's homepage
The current collective faith community of the UUA is comprised of  Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Humanists, Jewish, Muslim, Pagans, Atheists, Theists, Agnostics, and more. Many advocate and fight for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer inclusion and laws for more than 40 years, 
'we are people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.'


the Amish

Image result for the amish
This is a sect of Christianity that goes all the way back in 1693. It was founded by Jacob Amman who broke from the church he was following became of three things:  1. He wanted to celebrate Communion twice a year. 2 He wanted to separate himself from nonbelievers. 3 He wanted to continue the humbling tradition of washing people’s feet. And from this came that Amish who are still going strong to this day.
They speak Low German (which is similar to Pennsylvania Dutch), High German for church services and English when talking to outsiders. The Amish believe that most of the trappings of the modern world: electricity, automobiles, television and clothing fashions are distractions and promote pride, envy, vanity, sloth, dishonesty and other undesirable traits. Because if this you will find none of these things in an Amish home. They do not live connected to the grid. but in some instances if something from the modern world is useful and doesn’t draw attention to  itself it may be introduced , an example of this would be nylon rope instead of hemp.
The one thing that I find the most interesting about the Amish is the tradition of Rumspringa which means run around. This tradition refers to when an Amish teen turns 16 he is allowed to go out into the world for 6 months and experience what the modern world has to offer. After this time he / she makes the choice whether or not they want to join the Amish church.

Saturday, 14 March 2015


Started by L. Ron Hubbard (LRH) in 1952, Scientology is a fairly recent and newly developed religion. It relies on its celebrity members to keep up the hype, including Tom Cruise who happily promotes the religion.

Tom Cruise giving a speech at the opening of a new church in Madrid, 2004.

Considering the fact the religion was created as an escape from government interference and taxation, it has quite a steady following according to its website. However, despite this, it is still striving towards monetary goals with everything costing money.

"Scientology is a religion in its highest meaning, as it helps bring Man to total freedom and truth."

The way in which the main concept of the religion is worded on the website seems to allude to American ideologies, namely with the reference to 'freedom'. This idea that Man's capabilities are unlimited and this religion can bring you to 'total freedom' is a very American ideal. This shows how the 'religion' has been catered to appeal to many Americans, bringing in more money to the organisation.

What is Scientology?

The above video boasts over 4.4 million new people every year, and one new church or mission opening every twenty-four hours to promote its worldwide effect on people. It brings new ideas of the 'Thetan' and being that indeed make you question whether or not it could be a possibility, however at the foundations of these ideas is L. Ron Hubbard. 

L. Ron Hubbard was a man who made a religion because he saw the money in it, many people would try and deny this however fundamentally that is what he did. He wrote books and spoke at lectures that you have to pay to be able to read and listen to, and the only way you can move towards enlightening yourself is through the idea of 'pyramid selling' that is illegal in the U.S. hence why he made it a religion, and used the first amendment to protect himself and make more profit.

The so-called 'religion' is more of a organisation and cooperation than a religion as no other religion makes it a requirement for you to pay to be a part of it, something that completely devalues the idea of complete 'freedom' and 'truth' that it promises.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Little House on the Prairie

What attitudes are revealed through the representation of American Indians?

little house on the prairie, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was published as a childrens story book in 1935. Written through the eyes of a young Laura, the book contains many harsh references to the American Indians, often dehumanising them and making them seem brutally savage.

Laura's constant obsession with wanting to see the baby papoose and the way she writes about this further dehumanises the American Indians. She writes about how her father had showed her baby bears and animals such as this and then wonders whether he will show her a baby papoose - this again creates an image for the reader that the American Indians are wild, like other animals. 
"'Where is a papoose , Ma?' Laura asked...
           'Mercy on us!' Ma said. 'Whatever makes you want to see Indians? We will see enough of  them. More than we would want to, I wouldn't wonder.'" (Ch.4) - Here again we see Laura's fascination to see a baby Indian, however we also get an insight into what Ma thinks about them and wants nothing to do with them. Similarly, she makes Laura put on her sunbonnet to make sure that she does tan or go red 'like an Indian'.

Throughout the book there are multiple views towards the Native Americans, the harshest though it seems to come from Mrs Scott "the only good indian was a dead indian. the very thought of indians made her blood run cold" (Ch.17). Although Ma also dislikes the Indians, it seems that this is more due to the fear that she feels towards them, where as Mrs Scott is cruel because she simply wants them dead and feels that they are inferior to her.

The main controversy regarding American Indians within this book would be in the opening chapter in which the book originally read: " There the wild animals wandered and fed as though they were in a pasture and stretched much further than any man could see, and there were no people. Only Indians lived there". This regards the Indians as not even being human at all - this led to mass controversy and the publishers changing the line to something less offensive.

gender roles in little house opn the prairie

The chapter I will be looking at is chapter 13 fire in the chimney. In pediculate the part that the chapter is named after, Ma and the girls Lara, marry and baby Carrie are alone in the house. ma is on the rocking chair with baby Carrie close to the fire, but when she hears some thing coming from the chimney she hands baby Carrie to marry and pushes her in the rocking chare and goes outside. when Laura follows her she sees that the chimney is on fire and Ma is attempting to put the fire out.

when Laura goes back inside she sees that a burning loge has fallen out and the fire and is under Marys dress. Laura pulled the rocking chair away from the fire and then throws the loge back in to the fire. soon after ma puts out the fire and the danger is over. this is the part I wanted to look at the fact that it has been repeated and show many times over that Marry is the proper little girl and Laura is not. even if not outwardly Laura is still naughty in her head and the fact that she is interested in thing that are considered mans work and even helped him build the door and mixed mud to build the chimney . so here we see marry unable to move and Laura being the brave hero.

Hardships caused by nature in Little House on the Prairie

The Ingalls face a number of hardships on their journey including a number of hardships caused by nature.
Right at the beginning of their journey they have to cross a frozen lake, they think nothing of it on the journey across it. Yet during the night Laura hears strange noises, which is the sound of the Lake cracking (“It sounded like a shot, but it was sharper and longer than a shot.”). Which prompts Laura to consider what would have happened if the ice had cracked whilst they were travelling on it. “She thought what would have happened if the ice had cracked under the wagon wheels and they had all gone down into the cold water in the middle of that vast lake.” This is an example of the constant threat of danger they face from nature even when that threat is not obvious at the time.

 Similarly, in chapter two they are crossing a creek when the water suddenly rises and causes the wagon to float and the horses to have to swim. Charles has to jump into the water to guide the horses to the bank of the creek safely. This event is an example of the very real danger they face on their journey. After this ordeal the family realises that their dog did not make it across with them, and is most likely dead. This shows how nature can very easily harm travellers without warning, and also due to this event they are with out a guard dog and so the family will be more vulnerable to wolves attacking.

In chapter seven Charles encounters a large wolf pack that follows him on his journey back from the bachelors (“They were all around Pa in a moment“). He has to force his horse to move slowly to avoid causing the wolves to chase him, and as soon as the wolves leave him he rushes home. At this point we see the up close the danger wolves are to the family. Up until this point it has been a distant threat, such as in chapter one where, “Pa slept outside in the wagon, to guard it and the horses”. This close encounter with the wolves shows the danger they face as settlers is very real.

One less obvious hardship they face due to nature is the threat of malaria, and in chapter fifteen they are bitten by mosquitoes and contract malaria, or “Fever ’n’ Ague” as it is know to them.

Some other more minor examples of the hardships they face which are caused by nature are events such as the prairie fire which would have burned down their home, if they had not been able to control the fire. However the prairie fire that could of potentially burned down their home is thought to have been started by the Indians to force out the settlers form their new homes. There is also the instance in chapter eighteen where the girls think that Mr Edwards and Santa will not be able to visit them on Christmas day due to the bad weather, yet Mr Edwards swims across the river to bring them presents from Santa.


Saturday, 7 March 2015

Relevance Today of Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie is marketed as a children's book after Laura Ingalls Wilder's original plot for her memoirs did not cut it as a text that could be marketed. Publishers thought it would be easier to market the book as a children's story, and combine it with her memoirs and a westwards narrative that would continue to inspire children with the idea of the 'American Dream' and freedom. 

It has been proven over the years that Laura Ingalls Wilder made up some of the situations and circumstances of her novels, as in fact she would have been too young to recall most events she depicts, and shows her family as being older than they were. Wilder sets the novel a far way over the Kansas border and in Indian territory, and far away from other people and civilised towns despite in reality her family were settled only a few miles over the border and census shows that there were more than twenty other homesteads within range of them.

Wilder's dramatisations of her past make for a more exciting and interesting life than her real memories would. She changes the timescale of when things happened to her and twists the truth to offer an exciting and child-friendly perspective of moving west. The westwards narrative that her series depicts embeds the idea of freedom in the west to the children of today as her books are still popular with younger generations. Americans grow up having read and been read this book as children and it embeds in them the idea of the 'American Dream' and depicts it as being okay that this family invaded Indian territory as the right to the land remained with the Americans that could use and cultivate it.

The marketing of the book allows for a sense of patriotism and freedom as the covers of most issues depict a young girl, Laura, looking out across the great plains in the tall grass with cloudy blue skies above her. 

The book is also popular for its views of the American Dream and how the family set out to find a new place to settle and build their house. On the blurb of the edition I own, the 2014 Egmont edition, it takes a line from the story - "Here we are, Caroline!" said Pa, "Right here we'll build our house." - which shows this unbelievable sense of complete freedom, that the family could build their house wherever they wished to live. 

The idea of the 'American Dream' that plays a large part in the freedom of the story is easily marketable as most Americans are willing to buy into it and wish to believe that the dream can be achieved and Laura Ingalls Wilder's series is the perfect way to allow this. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Anna Yezierka and The Rescue

Short Stories:

In Anna Yezierka’s short stories she describes the way in which immigrants are looked down upon by upper class Americans and the injustice that they suffer due to this.

The Lost ‘Beautifulness’:
The Lost ‘Beautifulness’ is a story of a woman, Hannah, who wants a “little beautifulness” in her home so that her son can walk in and feel proud of where they live, so she decides to paint her kitchen a brilliant white; she does this as much for herself as for her son, “I forget I’m only a nobody. It makes me feel I’m also a person”, the feeling of accomplishment makes her feel worthy and more like any other American. The landlord punishes her, increasing the rent, so that she can no longer afford to live there. When her son finally comes home from the war, he finds his mother homeless, sat on the street in tears. It is a very sad story of a woman who is only trying to do good with the little that she has, however the moral lesson seems to be that no matter how hard you try to move up in society, you inevitably will not be able to do so, even more so if you are an immigrant.

Soap and water:

Here, Yezierka tells the story of a Russian immigrant who comes to America in search of the ‘thrilling “golden country”’ that she had heard opportunities are in abundance. However she soon finds that America is a much harder and more difficult place for someone like her and she is very much judged based on her messy appearance, “I was in the grip of that blinding, destructive, terrible thing - righteous indignation”. The only way in which she finds the ‘America’ that she has been searching for is by the friend she makes in Miss Van Ness who treats her as an equal unlike all of those before her.

The Rescue:


The Rescue tells the story of a bartender, Barker, with a shaky past and a boisterous prostitute, Betty, who go after a gang of criminals to save a young girl, Emily, who is also a prostitute. I believe the morals of this short story are similar to that of Yezierka’s immigrant stories as it shows that people will treat you differently depending where you stand in society. As Emily was a prostitute herself, she was looked down upon and the Sheriff tells Barker that “there are risks with that job” and that there is nothing he can do about it. However, with this story, Betty who is in the same position as Emily, just older and stronger, goes against what others thought was a lost cause and helps Barker save Emily and give her a better life after; showing that even though they may not have such a respectful job they aren’t confined to it and shouldn’t be so quickly judged because of it, as shown when Barker says “Betty had proven as capable as any man”.

Anzia Yezierska Short Stories - Moral Teachings fromImmigration

'The Beautifulness' & Soap and Water

The Beautifullness short story captivates the lifestyle poor immigrants had to endure in the urban ghettos of New York City during the early 20th century. The protagonist, Hannah; a deeply maternal individual, who's 'American Dream' of owning a white-washed kitchen , is established and then destroyed. Because of her self restraint to indulge and conviction to save money , Hannah is able to create her 'dream kitchen' ; a symbolism of her commitment to her son Aby (to whom she wishes to donate her efforts) . However, after upgrading her flat, the landlord imposes an increase on the rent. The issue that arises from this situation is that Hannah has portrayed how financially restricting conditionw , e.g. "there used to be a time when poor people could eat cheap things ....potatoes, rice, fish even dry bread is dear" repress the poor and allow for the exploitation of hard working individual for the means of others,these in the impoverish area the "The Dogs! The Blood sucking Landlords! They are the new Tsars of America" . The autocratic power of these individuals are important in representing of the problems faced by poor immigrants that they can compare the evils of their old and corrupt land to that of villains in the new land of opportunity. As a individual of direction, hannahs refusal to accept chaity, maintains the traditional American work ethic, however, here rejection of aide, places her in even worse standing ,that utlimatley leads to her self-destructive behaviour in running the kitchen. The conclusion is that she is emotionally and financially broken. The moral teaching; pride before the fall.

Soap and Water. Is the story of a Russian immigrant women, who maintains an ambition of achieving a college degree and bettering herself into a higher tier of society. The overall message of the tale is to  establish  a comparative picture of the lives between hardworking , impoverish immigrants and the upper classes, or more precisely the class of women that she wishes to be but not become e.g. Dean, Classmates.. The main comparative focus is on the 'appearance' of an individual. In a land that traditionally is meant to provide equality and opportunity, Yezierska's protagonist receives neither, even with a completed college degree, as a women, as an immigrant in 1920s America. The restricted opportunities create a environment (hard working, long hours manual labour.)  for the individual that mean she cannot accomplish her goals, as the prejudices she must face from authorities people about her appearance rank her inferior; regardless of her intellect. This is an example about how those in disadvantaged circumstances, must overcome and endure, and self-assimilate themselves , without financial means into an 'American Society' in order to prosper.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Moral Tales of Immigrant Experience

Anzia Yezierska: The Lost "Beautifulness" & Soap and Water

Both short stories contain moral tales of the immigrant experience, the first of a woman that aimed to make a piece of property that was not in her ownership better, which in turn increased the value and her rent - an unfairness that is the result of her putting work into some else's property; and the second the story of a woman that used all of her money to put herself through college and was unable to afford soap and water - yet in the end was reunited with the woman that embodied everything she had strived towards. 

The Lost "Beautifulness" tells the story of a woman, Hanneh, that saved and saved to redecorate the kitchen of the house she was renting for her son when he came home, yet was driven nearly insane by the raised rent of the apartment and ruined her kitchen which resulted in her eviction. Hanneh refused to take charity from her friend, despite the promise that they'd help change the rules. Instead she decided to ruin her work, her "beautifulness", because if she cannot enjoy it then she believes that no one else can. The idea of the story seems to depict a theme of unfairness in life and that by being caught up in creating beauty for her son to come home to, Hanneh forgot her senses and lost her house, despite her husband warning her that she should have saved that money for the possibility of something bad happening. Hanneh seems to dream up a perfect life that she could not attain, even through creating the "beautifulness" she worked so hard to achieve.

Soap and Water tells of an immigrant that worked day in day out to put herself through college and ended up only being discriminated against for not being able to afford soap and water, as they were considered 'cheap' by the upper and middle class Americans that daren't associate with her. The tale ends with her not achieving her diploma because of her ugly appearance, despite her having supported herself through poverty to send herself to college, which makes her want to rebel against the divisions of class. It could almost be interpreted as America not being so far from the traditional class system of Europe as it would like.

Jeremy Lane: Souls in the Wind

This short story tells of a man who owns a farm and his best workman, Smoke, is black and has an attractive young daughter that the man's son has fallen in love with, and she him. The pair run off together and the two fathers chase after them to find that the quite corrupt sheriff has found them first and intends to charge the son with kidnap after an altercation with the father earlier in the story. It has a cyclical narrative, ending with Briscoe saying he's going to "dig that man a grave", the same way he did the lynched black man at the beginning of the story. The moral seems to be of the inevitable equality of men, when they die they all end up in graves just the same.

Sources: http://www.ropeandwire.com/FullStories/Souls%20in%20the%20Wind.html

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Edwards family being attacked - The Searchers

I have chosen to analyse the scene where Ethan’s family is attacked by the Native Americans.

It is interesting how there is no music playing for the majority of the scene. The music stops when Martha tells her son to close the shutter and it only begins again when Scar appears. The music stops when it is clear that the family is in danger and it does not begin again until the danger is there, when we see Scars shadow looming over Debbie. This adds more tension to the scene and more of a sense of danger.
When Aaron suspects the Native American’s are on their way he pretends he is going to shoot some birds in order to not scare his family. The fact that he goes straight for his gun, tells us that he automatically thinks of the Native Americans as a threat.

When Lucy realises they are in danger she doesn’t ask who is coming, instead she screams as she automatically knows it’s the Native Americans. This shows how this film portrays the Native Americans as being savage and dangerous. Lucy’s scream when she understands what is happening shows how they see Native Americans as ultimately evil, and dangerous. Lucy has to be slapped by her mother to stop her from panicking as she is so terrified by the threat of the Native Americans.

When Scar does arrive he arrives silently from the wilderness as his shadow looms over Debbie. It creates the feeling of fear as one moment the Edwards are settling down for dinner and the next they are trapped in their home with a threat about to attack at any minute.

This scene reinforces the idea that in the American West the settlers were the civilised people and the Native Americans were uncivilised savage people who attacked innocent settlers. This was not true, yet this film suggests that the Native Americans would attack families unprovoked and this idea becomes the basis of the films whole plot.

the searchersd ending scene

Image result for the searchers
at the end of the movie we get the happy ending the audience was hoping for. Ethan Edwards didn't kill Debbie, Martin Pawley has Laurie and Moses has his rocking chair. but at the end of it all we see Ethan Edwards standing framed in the doorway mirroring the benign of the movie but this time none pulls him in and he leaves.One of the themes of the western is that at the end the hero has to leave the town because he no longer belongs there, so it could be said that is what happens here.

The Searchers

The Final Scene

I chose to take a closer look at the final scene, from the point that Ethan (John Wayne) swoops Debbie up into his arms and says "Lets go home." This idea of 'home' was what struck a chord with me as I questioned whether Ethan really had a home. His brother welcomed him into his home at the beginning of the film but he was always awkward and on the move, as if ready to take off into the wilderness he had been roaming before his return. 

There is an almost cyclical narrative to the film as the end shot shows him turning around and walking towards the wilderness, the place he seemed to find the most comfort in as he knew how the wilderness worked - civilisation seemed to be rather difficult. Ethan seemed to come alive in the wilderness with something to search for, and when that searching is over he feels he still cannot return to civilisation. This could be put down to guilt, perhaps, as he was originally going to try and kill Debbie, or it could be a belief that he could not survive in the world of civilisation as he himself had become one with the wilderness, much like the Indians. The latter option seems more likely on account of his ideas of racism and his realisation that he is more like the people he hates than he first realised. 

The door is one of the biggest motifs in the film and its part in the final scene only acted to make it all the more important. Everything can change a few steps inside the door and a few steps outside, there are no real boundaries from the inside civilisation and the outside savage wilderness. Evidently Ethan feels that he is just not ready for the civilisation of the world, and retreats to the savage wilderness that he feels he knows best.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Searchers - Rangers Vs. Warriors

The scene i chose to analyze from The Searchers  - John Wayne accompanies the Texas rangers on his initial pursuit of his niece (post sacking of the 'homestead') , the armed group pursue a war band of Texan Native Americans. The scene setting, is of the  group becoming encircled by the Indians led by Chief 'Scar'.  the scene is set in the traditional western landscape i.e. desert, rocky peaks and barren terrain, with the 'righteous' white group of law enforcement agent who become ambushed by the Indians (portrayed in the stereotypical view of the 'Native American'; dressed in large feathered headdress and carrying primitive weaponry and old era guns) who sound the  'war cry' and chase the protagonist and company and proceed in an unsuccessful attack, leading to a setting at the river, this allows the company to take up defensive positions and repulse the attack.

 This is a representation of the ineptitude of the natives in fighting the superior 'white man'. The myth of the 'western' is exacerbated due to the way the fight scene is executed, in that the outnumbered 'white men' prevail due to their superior firearm technologies and upheld moral.

The concept of 'western' cinema during this era (1950s) , was developed to emphasis how easily the west was won. it is epitomized in this scene because the defeat at the river renders the war band ineffective until later in the film; this was created to appeal to the contemporary audience, to whom they would predominately hold favor with John Wayne. Although the negative perception of John Wayne's character Ethan Edwards is thoroughly promoted in this scene (as a aggressive and over zealous individual) the overall effect of the battle sequence is to created excitement and allow the viewer to accept that the Edwards party was in a position of dominance over the native americans.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Winchester 73

Winchester 73'

As 'Western' cinema goes, the maintenance of key symbolic features are of critical importance, the action, the characters (personality and morals) , the clothing, settings and manner of speaking. All of these features appear and are to a degree exacerbated in the storyline of the classic western Winchester 73 (Directed by Anthony Mann) , starring veteran western actor, James Stewart (Bend the River (1952), The man from Laramie (1955))

The brilliant complexities that envelope the storyline are focused on 'The Gun that is winning the West' (also referred to as 1 in 1000), but the characters that use the gun as a staging point of contact between each other. Initially starting off in the possession of Lin McAdam (James Stewart) which he receives as a prize for a shooting contest against Dutch Henry Brown (the sadistic outlaw), leads to a series of unfortunate events, almost as if the gun hold a curse, except for the rightful owner.
within the overall story line of the morally righteous and masculine hero chasing a murderous, greedy and impatient outlaw, on a quest for revenge and retribution at a personal level.

The sub-stories focus on the transfer of the rifle, between a variety of western-mythical characters , who create a 'chain-link' for the story line, These include, Hero, Villain (and gang), Frontiersman, (white)Indian-Trader, Indian warriors, a 'Dandy' and his wife and the US cavalry. The agendas and means by which these individuals are linked to the gun, create a very exciting and brilliantly complex story line, that presents the main characters as not so clearly cut, the Hero with socially negative agenda (i.e. wants murderous revenge). The infusion of action, romance, comedy and tension, created a " frisky, fast-moving, funny Western in which a rifle is the apple of a cowboy's eye.'" (Crowther)

The symbolism of the Winchester 73 rifle, is more important to the characters rather than the actual item. The idea of possessing such a unique and prestigious piece of equipment , that was used by symbolic individual, is a clear presentation of that character prowess, and abilities, such as shooting ,which was measurement of an individual at that time. For such a advanced piece of weaponry, the Winchester 73' is very rarely used in the film, and many of the individual who at some point receive it, do not use it.

A review from IMDB ' assess the links between the symbolism of the gun and the effects it has in conjunction with all the characters and how Winchester 73' is a unique western in its use of a physical item for a plot base, instead of one fuelled from a emotional level.

'This emphasis on the gun, symbol of potent masculinity, actually allows for a critique of that masculinity, revealing pointless elaborate rituals at the expense of society and order; brute capitalist greed; murderous Indian-traders who defraud both seller and enemy; cowards; psychotic killers; before returning to its 'true' owner, a broken hero thoroughly compromised, who has become as murderous as the murderer he seeks. The gun is never imprinted with the name of its owner, not only because there is no fixed owner, but because there is no fixed masculinity, an insight anathema to the traditional Western.'

New York Times- Bosley Crowther (1950) 

Films Graded


Stagecoach 1939

this is the story of nine people two drivers and seven passengers who for mostly separate reasons are traveling together all the way to Lee's Ferry. among the travellers are a alcoholic doctor Doc Boone, Dallas a prostitute who along with Doc Boone is being thrown out of tow by the "Law and Order League", a whisky salesman Samuel Peacock, Ringo Kid who is a fugitive that is being returned to jail in Lee's Ferry, Lucy Mallory who is pregnant and traveling to see her husband who is in the cavalry, a banker Henry Gatewood that has embezzled a large amount of money from the bank works for and Hattfield a southern gentleman and a gambler. to add to all the troubles that they may have individually and with each other there is another problem Geronimo and is Apiachs  are on the warpath with add a layer of dander to the jorny.
I this movie we have the civilised outposts and items of civilisation in the wilderness. the Henry Gatewood's occupation of a banker is a job that could only work in the cilviled world but he partly relays on the markers of civilisation breaking down when he shows up at Lee's Ferry they take him in to custody because the telegraph lines have been fixed and they know what he did. also the fact that when the Indians do attack the fist sing of them is an arrow but after that its only guns used
also at the end when Ringo and Dallas ride off together one of the drivers Curly say to the other "there they go escaping civilisation"