Stereotypes In The Great Debaters

1700 Words 7 Pages
Growing up in Marshal, Texas in the 1930s, a group of powerful students from Wiley College, an all-black institute, began to leave their mark on this old segregated town. Conquering every debate team in their path, little Willey College soon faced Harvard, the school of the elite, so they say. From determination and perseverance this small group of kids defeated the odds becoming the reigning champions in the south at the time. While some critiques feel that this film is racially melodramatic and fabricated, I argue the film The Great Debaters dramatizes the humiliation and persecution of how blacks felt by explicit depictions of lynching and abuse. One way the movie The Great Debaters dramatizes the humiliation is in the lynching scene. Stephen …show more content…
In other words, Holden claims that this film doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to demonstrating the life of blacks in the 1930s. I can certainly say that this film is very explicit when it comes to showing how we, as black African Americans, were looked upon in this torn town of segregation. I agree with Stephen Holden due to the way this film shows disturbing images of how blacks were lynched and spoke to in the south. In this scene where they lynch a black man, the group of four including their coach Mr. Tolson came across a lynch-happy mob of white individuals while driving late at night to a debate. Turning their lights off inside the car to complete darkness, Mr. Tolson demanded the students to duck to hide their skin complexion. Faces pressed against the floorboard, the young students were scared for their lives. Not only by the mere fact that they just seen this horrific image of a black person hung, tied to a cross, and set on fire to burn alive, but by the fact that they weren’t sure if they would make it back home …show more content…
Scott Porter, a writer for the blog The Beat, believes that “Out of all the artistic tools a filmmaker’s disposal, it can be argued that music is among the most vital, and certainly one of the most powerful” (Porter). In so many words, Mr. Porter is saying that music is at the top of the list for capturing a viewer in a film. I stand to agree with the fact that music is a powerful effect used in the film The Great Debaters, to grab its’ audience in into the depicting scenes they display. As James Sr. steps in the direction of the car to obtain the check from his wife to cover the hog he had killed, a subtle, smooth stroke of a cello surfaces. When the wife began to look for the check but could not find it just yet, the cello turned from a smooth steady stroke to an excerpt from a horror film. Bringing in a piano to help give off this suspense feel, they then turn the cameras to the children in the back seat of the car. While rolling the window down to the piano keys, James Farmer Jr. had this expression on his face as in why must we be treated in such a way? Why is my life any different from yours? With a hint of anger in his eyes as well, James Farmer Jr. didn’t say a word, letting the cello, viola, and piano do the talking

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