The Theme Of Vengeance And Racism Essay

1139 Words Jul 2nd, 2015 5 Pages
Film Review: The Theme of Vengeance and Racism in The Searchers (1957) by John Ford

This film review will examine the themes of vengeance and racism in the western film The Searchers by John Ford. Ford’s film defines the racism of 19th century white settlers that sought to commit genocide against Native Americans due to skin color and cultural differences. The main character of this film, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), is a former Confederate officer that returns to West Texas to stay with his brother’s family. Ethan’s racial prejudice creates a violent environment that is exacerbated when his niece, Debbie Edwards (Natalie Wood), is kidnapped by a local Comanche tribe. After the being defeated in the Civil War, Ethan’s racism defines the bloodthirsty desire to kill Native Americans as a form of extreme vengeance. Therefore, Ethan’s pursuit of Debbie as a “searcher” defines the effect of southern racism towards people of color as a foundation for the murderous motivations of Ethan towards the Comanche. In Essence, the theme of vengeance and racism in The Searchers defines the underlying conflict between white people and Native Americans in the western film genre. The Searchers is a film that explores the issues of race in West Texas during the late 1860s. Ethan’s return from the Civil War defines the bitterness and resentment of having lost to the Union Army. After coming to his brother’s ranch, Ethan must contend with the issue of Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter) being a…

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