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Silent Film, Martyrs of the Alamo, Loosely Depicts the Battle of the Alamo

Decent Essays
Martyrs of the Alamo is a silent film that not only loosely depicts the historical event of the Battle at the Alamo but it perpetuates ethnic stereotypes of Mexicans to build a sense of nationalism in the early 1900’s. Researchers Ford and Harawa argue in their academic journal that ethnicity can be broken down into two dimensions, relational and attributional. The relational dimension pertains to the relationship dynamics between an ethnic group and the society they live in. These relationships can be shown through different societal institutions; such as, the educational system, judicial system and even the film industry. As stated by Dr. Keeling, the film industry can be seen as an institution that produces ways of thinking of the…show more content…
By using the Mexican solider and the small child it can allude to the harm that can be done to the United States. The child can symbolize the future of America and the cost that can be paid if Americans do not fight for what is theirs. By instilling fear, Griffin could spark Americans to react and feel that it is their duty to protect their country. We see a large contrast between the American characters and Mexican characters in the film. The American characters are chivalrous, courageous and dressed in a typical “Western” fashion; raccoon fur hats, formal wear or button down shirts while the Mexican characters are depicted as cowards and womanizing drunks in sombreros, ponchos or soldier uniforms with darkened skin. These negative depictions of Mexicans are used as a contrast from this perfect image of what it is to be “American”. For example, the General Santa Ana is portrayed to be a weak leader who is detached from the battle and who is preoccupied with exploiting women. In contrast to Davy Crockett who is able to band together with others to fight and protect Texas while on the battle front. Griffin uses these historic Alamo figures to emulate what it means to belong to America. The idea of Americans not backing down against a threat is portrayed through figures like Davy Crocket. These negative portrayals of Mexicans fuels an already existing stigma. Griffin reinforces these archetypes through film and this in turn can lead to the
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