Get Out Long form Essay

What A Viewer is Supposed to Get Out of the Film

McKayla Jennings

English 129

Sarah Boyd

April 2018

“I do not like the deer. I’m sick of it. They’re taking over. They’re like rats. They’re destroying the ecosystem. I see a dead deer on the side of the road, I think to myself that’s a start.” This statement from Jordan Peele’s record-smashing movie, Get Out, seems to be a simple opinion.  However, one must understand that nothing said in this is merely a statement, but actually, everything has been calculated with meaning. Upon deeper observation, one can see that this movie is a symbolic showing for what is currently happening in the United States for minorities, specifically in black America. Chris Washington, the movie’s protagonist, is a young African-American male who seems to be simply visiting his current white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. The only thing Chris expects to do is capture pictures of the nature surrounding him in the forest of the Armitage family. When he reaches the home, Chris meets an interesting clan— a mother who is a mysterious yet notable psychiatrist who is Roses’ mother and an “eclectic” father who is a neurosurgeon, with a son in training. Two people who join this bunch are a petite maid who is as sensitive as a mouse and a distant gardener who can’t take his mind off running.

The focus of the trip soon turns to be an annual family gathering that Rose had apparently forgotten full of welcoming members, yet, the trip that Chris goes on becomes a symbol for the minority consistent struggle against systemic racism. This theme is developed throughout the film by way of the experimentation and brainwashing done to the African American within the film, the sunken place hindering them powerless, and by way of showing the current mindset of many “Woke” African Americans today.

Whenever one looks back at history, it seems as if those of African descent, traceable or not, are often handed the “short end of the stick.” From the slave trade to imperialism, this trend has continually grown and became worse through scientific development. A large portion of this movie is focused on taking the genes from a black person, as well as experimenting on the minds of this tormented race. This abuse links to systemic racism in that, viewers can see how being of a different race than white was made a biological separator, referring to things such as Social Darwinism, and gave reason for African American experimentation.

As a whole, the Armitage family represents this scientific dominance embraced by those who have held power over African Americans. The entire purpose of the weekend this the Armitage family was not to meet Rose’s current boyfriend, but to fulfill a jealousy within the family. Grandpa Armitage lost the qualifying round of the 1936 Olympics to a black male, Jesse Owens, and Dean Armitage says, “He almost got over it.” (Get Out, 19:55) This envy is what caused the research and interest in lobotomizing black people for their genes. Another aspect of this symbolism is the fact that members of the family are all interconnected in the medical field in some way, mainly focused on the brain. When thinking of purposed racism, this can be an allusion to the late 1700s through early 1800s when brain size and shape were believed to show racial dominance. This genealogical summarizing was one of the key factors that led to systemic racism in medicine that still occurs today in medicine. An example of this unfair domination can be seen in the Tuskegee Experiment of the nineties. For over 40 years black males in the Tuskegee community were unknowingly given syphilis with no cure by the U.S. Department of Public Health. These men were misled about the purpose of the study and never actually gave consent to participate in the “treatment” they received – just like Chris in the film. Chris believed he was being hypnotized just to be rid of his addiction to cigarettes, however, the true purpose of this experiment was to place Chris into the “sunken place”, so he would be under their control.

Adding to the explanation of the purpose of this films exposing of the systemic racism throughout history would be the use of the sunken place. When one feels that they are below others and only watching the world move around them this is what can be considered a sunken place. The sunken place is something that many African American have experienced while living in America, specifically living with a judicial system fighting against their success it seems. A growing problem in America is the war on drugs, to be specific— marijuana. THC consumption has been a growing epidemic within the black community since the last century. Millions have been unjustly jailed for years for carrying the most minuscule amounts of the drug, simply because it uses were looked down upon by the white race in power. Now that many people of the race have begun partaking in the use of marijuana it is slowly being legalized and made into a business. The black community, however, is still being jailed for having this substance and continuously held if they have been jailed before this legalization. This has caused a fall into the sunken place. Those imprisoned have no ability to resist the United States’ invincible judicial system and the people who have evaded arrest aren’t able to help their family in bonds. Here we can see this problematic hold portrayed in Get Out by the relationship with Logan/ Andre and Chris at the cookout in the movie. While both men are oppressed, Logan is the symbol for the trapped male who has no way to fight the system because they, the Armitage family, have a hold over him and when he tries to leave his sunken place they bring him back in.  Chris represents the other side of the sunken place because he is only able to watch his fellow black male be held in the clutches of the system put in place for their failure.

The sunken place is also shown within inner-racial relationships throughout the film. After Chris’ best friend Rod understands the risk of his friend losing his life while visiting the Armitage family he immediately goes to the police for help. However, upon telling the story twice to police force members, all of which who were minorities, he received nothing but laughs. This shows the sunken place that people sometimes try to put people of even the same racial community as them. In this case, Rod is oppressed by those who are so used to oppression, that when someone decides to call out the system’s problems they are blind to the true problems. The detectives see Rod as the crazy TSA agent looking for attention, not as a young male caring for his friend because that is often a rare thing in today’s society. When Rod viewing the movie, Rod is one person who always frets Chris’ journey to visit the Armitage family, which one could consider as “woke.”

The song “Redbone,” by Childish Gambino was, and still is considered, a knockout musical sensation because of its simple lyrics and subtle message. This song warned to beware of those you surround yourself with because you never know who really is or isn’t on your side. This song is played in the movie at one key point in time when viewers first see Rose driving to pick up Chris. Upon deeper observation, one can see that this song isn’t just merely played because it was popular at the time, but it is foreshadowing that Rose may not be all for Chris.

Building upon the fact that Rose drives Chris’ life to his potential demise, we see this in more ways than one such as when they are initially driving to her parents’ house Rose hits a deer. While viewing the damage, the camera pans and one can see that the only side of the car that is impacted is Chris’ (13:25). This too foreshadows that the only one who could be damaged by these travels are Chris. Another striking image at the wreck is that the deer Rose hits is a one that has no horns, meaning it is a young deer. However, as we fast forward to the end of the movie, while Chris is fighting for his life he uses a deer head, with full horns to save himself. The thing that was supposed to kill him, and what his enemy most hated, was the thing that saved Chris. The change in the age of the deer from the beginning to the end of the film is a symbol of the way Chris is now “woke.” He has seen the plans of his enemy and is fighting the battle for his life. This connects to systemic racism in now, being “woke” is the only thing one wants to be politically and socially. Society is changing and people now are seeing and learning of systemized oppression that many people of color live under and as a whole people are rallying. There has been a larger presence of black people in things such as voting, which is how one can take their deer and fight for their civil life rights. Power is also being gained within the black society as more people are using their voice to warn others of the way racism has been embedded to seem natural within the United States. Authors such as Michelle Alexander and writers such as Jordan Peele are using massive outlets to reach the broad general public and show what can happen if the racism continues.

Get Out isn’t meant to be a horror film that entertains the masses, but actually a movie to warn the masses. It unmasks societies systemic racism using something seen as one of the weakest members of society, a white female, to fight one of the most feared persons in society, a young educated black male. One must remember though, that her family portrays key points in systemic racism, such as unjust experimentation, the shrunken place, and the way in which one must grow to understand the problems in society.

At the end of the film, there is a short moment of tension because these roles in society are potentially fulfilled when the red and blue lights flash in the distance. One immediately thinks that Chris will be taken to jail because of his compromising position with his potential assassin, because of the way the characters have been portrayed in everyday society. Thankfully, the crisis is averted when one sees that it is Rod arriving in the vehicle. This is potentially a way to quickly remind you to stay woke. As a viewer, someone can watch an entire movie exposing systemic racism in today’s society, yet can immediately forget these warnings when the scenes get too close to reality.

When a Woman Works

When looking at the world of literature’s view of women throughout the years, writers often portray women as broken, weaklings. I was reminded of this while reading Wide Sargasso Sea because our initial main protagonist is soon our targeted villain, potentially because of afflictions due to gender. Antoinette was a girl who was emotionally abused by her mother who was too unstable. This affected her aging as she was often one who “wasn’t good enough”. As the novel progresses, readers see Antoinette’s continued lack of worth, as viewed by others, such as her husband cheating on her with her in the room beside her. The way in which she wasn’t seen as a valuable person and how she wasn’t able to stand up to her husband, portrays the role of women during this time. Since she was weak, Antoinette soon cracked under the pressure of not living to societal standards, hence why she is seen as weak.

The weak role played by Antoinette reminded me of the tale A Doll’s House, because in this story we too see a woman who is only supposed to be a housewife. However, when our protagonist in this tale does fight against the ways of society, she is knocked down for it. Nora secretly saved her husband’s life, and lived with this until the secret was exposed by the outsider forces of males around her. The fact that Nora is one character who we see from this time fight for her rights and as a result this backfired upon her. The writing of the tale showed women what would happen if they went outside the household rules, which Nora did.

These two women are prime examples of what would happen if a woman didn’t do what she was supposed to. Antoinette didn’t live up to her husbands and mother’s standards, so she was seen as a bad woman. Nora tried to be strong person in her household, going against patriarchy rules, making her a bad woman. Yet, now luckily women are saving factors for males in literature, such as Hermione in Harry Potter and Katniss in The Hunger Games.

Reading Reflection Two-“Comedy: Chappelle vs. The Carmichaels”

Today we live in a world in which everyone is able to live in the world how they would like to and not according to someone else’s rules. The question is though, how do we address these differences without offending anyone. Well, we can’t so as a society we have all subconsciously accepted comedy as this outlet. However, does comedy always have to be ingloriously incompetent?

When watching Dave Chappelle: Equanimity and The Bird Revelation, viewers are thrown handfuls of jokes involving sexuality, gender, and racism, yet you see no one blatantly opposing these hateful words. In Chappelle’s special, he approaches topics, such as sexuality, in almost a disrespectful way. He is allowed to do that though, right, since he is a comedian? Right? Wrong actually. I am a person who loves a good comedy and over the years of views and laughs, I have learned that not all comedy must come at the expense of others.

When thinking of good comedy, I think of a show such as The Carmichael Show. This show addresses many topics that may be seen as “sensitive” in today’s world but doesn’t degrade anyone’s beliefs. I can compare this show to Chappelle’s in the different way in which they present the topic of transgender people.

Chappelle made a joke in reference to someone who was obviously close to him who didn’t appreciate a joke he made about his relations with a transgender person once. He followed up with this by repeating the joke, basically saying he didn’t care about how those of the transgender community felt about his jokes because he was still going to make them. In an episode of The Carmichael Show, Jerrod Carmichael is given a little brother for his church program. In meeting his “brother”, the two form an instant bond and Jordan then begins to let Jerrod into some of the secrets of his life. Upon hearing that Jordan is transgender, Jerrod immediately is nervous and leaves, however, he does return and tells Jordan he only left from confusion and fear. The two talk and in the end, Jerrod tells Jordan he will stick by his side as they tell those around Jordan about his sexuality. Jerrod never laughs at or judges Jordan’s choices. All the while, we see still some comedy in this, such as Jerrod’s explanation for leaving, his parents advice and even Jerrod’s nervous reaction to the news; yet none of this comedy was directed towards transgender people in a degrading way.

We can compare the way in which Chappelle shapes his comedy in hate versus how writers of The Carmichael Show shape their comedy in misunderstanding, to see how comedy doesn’t have to be hurtful. It always seems funny when it isn’t happening to us, but Jerrod Carmichael shows how we can laugh at ourselves and not belittle others. The world is changing and the stigma for good comedy needs to change with it.

Scully, Mike. “The Carmichael Show: Gender.” Season 1, episode 4.

Post One-

While reading Running a Thousand Miles For Freedom; Or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (1860), you cannot help but feel as if you are with this empowered couple as they are escaping their southern shackles during this trying journey. William Craft is able to shape this narrative into one that explains the adversities he and his wife, Ellen Craft, faced. He does this without excessively describing the brutality which he had to face, unlike most slave narratives. This is rhetorical strategy is ironic, along with many other things in Craft’s narrative, making irony a shaping force in this narrative.

When thinking of irony in this narrative we can initially begin with the plan in which look at the way they escaped. Ellen Craft was a black woman, however, she had to act as a white male. These two characters are two completely opposite things politically and socially during these times. However, when “passing” through towns along this journey she was able to join this class and exposing her and William to the true beliefs of those who they were escaping.

While traveling with those who they were running from the Craft’s encountered many different types of people, and most of these situations showed different ironies. One time the couple encountered a Virginian gentleman and his two daughters, who, “‘…fell in love with the wrong chap.’ ” (60) This situation was ironic because the women fell in love with a southern gentleman who wasn’t a gentleman at all. This scene of irony shows how though White Southerners believed they were the wisest of them all, they couldn’t help but fall in love with a black woman.

Another time of irony during the Craft’s travel was when they met the Christian slave owner. Her husband had freed his slaves in his will, yet she decided it was best to sell them back into slavery. This woman was guided by her, “…dear son who is a good Christian minister…” (65) to do so. This shows the hypocrisy of the people of the south during this time because they twisted the truth of the Bible to match their wants of slavery. The Bible doesn’t support slavery, especially that based on the color of their skin, yet these people morphed this work to fit their own standards.

When showing these beliefs of the people on the South, along with his journey, William Craft does not use words of hate to degrade their character in any way. This narrative still shows how hateful, and ignorant, these people truly are though. This shows how the people were making unjust prejudices and hate, ruining the lives of many African-Americans.