Tuesday, April 22, 2014

42, Option 1


The movie 42, directed and written by Brian Helgeland, tells the true-life story of Jackie Robinson and his historic journey through the Brooklyn Dodges baseball organization, becoming the first African American baseball player to ever play in a Major League Baseball game.  Throughout the movie, Jackie goes through non-stop adversity, receiving death threats, fastballs thrown at his head, fans calling him racial slurs, and even his own teammates refusing to play on the same team as another black man; so much adversity that it leaves the audience in a “jaw dropped” state of mind when
thinking about how a person could really take so much negativity and hate in their life.  As seen in the film, there are many places and spaces in the movie that make arguments about the movie’s society, culture, time period, tone, mood, and many others, but none more is seen than the scene that involves the place of Jackie Robinson standing at the first base of Brooklyn’s stadium as fans are yelling racial slurs at him, and a white teammate of Jackie, Pee Wee Reese, comes up to Jackie and puts his arm around him and looks up at all of the fans, signifying he does not care about Jackie’s race.

This place in the film is iconic in showing the society and culture during the time period of 1947-1956 for not only Major League Baseball, but also the significance of racism in the United States during that time period.  The physical space consists of Jackie standing on the first base as the fans are booing him and yelling, “get off the field” from above in the stands.  The director is using ethos to create a sense
of ethics and credibility for the society being shown, creating an exciting, yet sad mood to the place by showing all of the fans booing and yelling at the only African American baseball player on the field.  This is all seen as the audience in todays society knows how wrong it would be, today, to do that at a not only a baseball game, but any event.  The director is also using the fans yelling at Jackie as a tool of pathos, using the sounds and sight of everyone in the stadium standing up and booing a person for the sole reason of the color of their skin, creating an emotional appeal that the viewer has no other choice but to connect with Jackie and subconsciously feel as if it is them standing in front of everyone.  Even though the viewers see the society that Jackie is living in throughout many of the scenes leading up to this place in the movie, it is this scene and place that the viewer has the ability to come full circle and see what Jackie Robinson was really going through during his time as the first and only African American baseball player in Major League Baseball.

As Pee Wee Reese comes up to Jackie and puts his arm around him, the crowd begins to boo even louder, using pathos to influence the viewer’s emotions to fully understand what the culture was really like during that time of baseball and in Jackie’s life.  The tone of the scene begins to turn from hectic to serious as the background sound does the same by originally only hearing the loud sounds of boos that tend “to be forceful, intense, and threating” (Sound, 208), to changing to a piano playing a slower, serious and inspirational, tune.  “The faster the tempo of sound, the greater the tension produced in the listening” (Sound, 208).  In this case, the tension is beginning to subside with the help of Pee Wee creating less
tension.  Pee Wee then comes up to Jackie with his arm around his shoulder and says, “thank you Jackie” while looking at all the fans booing down at them, and continues to say, “I got family up there from Louisville and I need them to know, I need them to know who I am”.  Pee Wee is thanking Jackie for giving him the opportunity to show his family from Kentucky, a notoriously racist state at the time, that he does not look at people by the color of their skin, but looks at people for who they really are on the inside and what they stand for.  The director is using logos during this part by trying to get the audience to think rationally and logically, making the audience like the character of Pee Wee Reese, because he was the first teammate to come to Jackie’s side during a publicly hard moment and look up at the crowd and stand up for Jackie by putting his arm around him.  Through Pee Wee’s body language, he is telling everyone at the game that he does not care about Jackie’s skin color and neither should they.

This is a very significant part of the movie, showing that the culture in not only Major League Baseball is about change, but the entire culture of the United States is also about to change when it comes to
thoughts about a person’s skin color.  The place is arguing that the current time period’s culture, in the movie, of seeing people for their skin color is about to change to seeing people for who they really are and not the color of their skin.  As Pee Wee goes on to say, “Maybe tomorrow, we’ll all wear 42, so nobody could tell us apart”.  

Overall, I believe the movie 42 did an incredible job of using the space of Jackie standing on the first base as the fans are booing him and yelling, “get off the field” from above in the stands as Pee Wee comes up to him to show his support, in an effort to show the movie’s arguments about society, culture, time period, mood, and tone in the film.  As a result, I award the movie 42 five slurpees.


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