Thanks Tarantino, you have me absolutely SHOOK. Okay, as most of us know or hopefully know what Django Unchained is, I decided to watch the movie again to see if I could make any connections to something that we have read. Good one Kristan. It was absolutely crazy to me how I could have missed it in the first place. Honestly, Tarantino does such a good job at the gore and exploding bodies everywhere that it’s pretty easy to get caught up and miss the actual POINT of the film.
Thats right. The point isn’t to watch the movie until Leo AKA my absolute boy Calvin Candie comes on the screen.
Look at that look-back. Damn. (and no I don’t love the character, I Love Leo. Titanic 4Evr)
Moving on. – Django is an echo of The Heroic Slave in many different senses. The movie follows Django (Jamie Foxx) as he is on the hunt to find Hildie, his estranged wife. Classically Tarantino in style, the film obviously is filled with its fair share of gun violence, swearing, brutality and over the top body explosions. At this point I even find myself asking ” So how are the two similar..?” It’s simple. Fredrick Douglass’ The Heroic Slave is a slave narrative that follows the character of Madison Washington. In real life, real talk; Madison was an American enslaved cook who instigated a slave revolt. Douglass then based his character off of him and used his story to create a fictional account that later became known as The Heroic Slave. Who doesn’t love a little history am I right? Speaking of history, let’s take another loop back to why these two works are SO similar. The physical description of Madison Washington is just like that of how Django actually looks, and the entire fact that Madison set out to free his family is what the entire movie of Django is based on. However, there is a lot more to the movie than getting to watch Django kick some white supremacist butt.
As an entirety, Django Unchained is an adapted slave narrative. It shows and most importantly draws attention to the brutality that slaves endured. The film depicts violence in a way that some of us could never imagine, yet historically is accurate to a fault. By showing time and time again the objectification of humans, the film shows just how horrible racial superiority was. Django’s take on slave violence is comparable to Douglass’s in the sense that he advocated rebellion. Django is ALL about that rebellion. I mean he becomes a black bounty hunter who hunts down white criminals, and takes it upon himself to revolt with no mercy after finding his wife.
What speaks volumes is the bigger message of Django. Weather Tarantino wanted to or not, he created a visualized account of slavery. He depicted that genuine violence between masters and slaves. He also shows a rarely depicted brand of black heroism that Douglass provokes in his narrative as well. He proves that “white is right” is complete and utter malarkey.
-Put that racist cake down Leo, you’re embarrassing yourself.
The depictions of white vs. black, and the unequal treatment of African Americans is something else to note. And no, I am not talking about how white people were horrible to slaves. I am talking about how even amongst slaves, there were ranks. Some slaves were field slaves, where as others were house slaves. This was based upon looks and who the master saw fit/ wanted in their house. Like, damn. Even in slavery there is vanity. Django provides a great portrayal of this in a few different scenes of the white plantation owners. We also see how the education and intelligence level between the slaves differ; Django is well spoken, and extremely intelligent, while some of the slaves he encounters he himself pokes fun at. As an audience it is visualized to us that not all slaves were treated equally.
In terms of American Literature, contemporary works like Django make us as a society ask the question: can slavery actually be considered a thing of the past? Django reshapes the context of The Heroic Slave, as well as many other slave narratives in a satirical, Tarantino-esque way. It gets us asking bigger questions: Have we even truly made the transition from that horribly depicted time of violence, brutality, injustice and oppression? Or have we just crossed over into a different era of social injustice and misery.. minus the slaves and chains? As for American Literary History, it’s everywhere. Every form of social injustice and oppression going on in the world today is relatable. It’s sad but true, that seemingly from century to century we find something new to hate, discriminate or try to suppress.
But hey, if you don’t feel like being depressed about all of the social injustices of the world, just go watch Django. Seeing how white people should just NOT, is honestly so satisfying. Who doesn’t love to see a little social justice. Am I right?