“The his journey. His actions eternally damned
“The Searchers” Response The Searchers has often been regarded as film director John Ford’s most influential film. The film is considered by many critics to be a true American masterpiece because of its ability to capture the beauty and impending danger of the frontier. This movie tells of an emotional journey of a man, Ethan Edwards, who avenges the Comanche Indian chief responsible for the deaths of his family and the kidnapping of his two nieces. The most important theme found in the film is the hatred toward interracial mixture.
The director reveals this theme through several characters, especially the character of Ethan Edwards.The severity of Ethan’s and other characters’ racism is manifested and demonstrated into several key moments throughout the film. For example, the first is seen when Ethan shoots the eyes out of a dead Indian he unearthed during his journey. His actions eternally damned the Indian to “wander forever between the winds”. The second is seen when he shoots at an enormous herd of buffalo; according to Ethan, “killin buffalo’s as good as killin Injuns in this country”.
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Another example of this hatred is demonstrated in Ethan’s instinctual desire to kill Debbie when he relieves her of Indian captivity.Most examples of such racism can be directly attributed to Ethan’s character, but it is important to remember that he is not alone in expressing such feelings. A young man for instance, seems to be far more disturbed by the idea that one of the nieces may have been raped by an Indian that the fact that she was murdered by one. This further enforces the overall theme of interracial mixture conveyed by the film. When examining how the theme of interracial mixture is enveloped into the overall story of the film a particular scene is of the utmost significance.In his quest to find his kidnapped niece, Ethan crosses paths with the Seventh Calvary and is taken to see a white woman and two young girls who have been rescued from Indian captivity.
The woman is not of a sound mind. She is sputtering gibberish and wild-eyed. A nearby bystander comments: “It’s hard to believe they’re white” and Ethan replies, “They ain’t white.
Not anymore. They’re Comanche”. The scene ends with a dolly shot of Ethan grimacing at the woman. This scene is important because it empowers the theme of racism that lies at the heart of the film. These captive white women were exposed and infected ith the disease of the Indian and in effect became insane and/or regressed back into childhood; such a fate worse than death. The Searchers, an epitome of an American film tells the story of a perseverant man, Ethan Edwards, who sets out on a five year quest to serve justice toward the Comanche Indian chief who killed his family and kidnapped his two nieces. During the journey the vastness and diversity of the Western frontier is exposed.
The most prominent theme in the film is the hatred toward interracial mixture. The director reveals this theme through several characters and especially the character of Ethan Edwards.