Themes in American History X - Year11VCE

The belief that all members
of each race possess
characteristics or abilities
specific to that race, esp. so
as to distinguish it as inferior
or superior to another race
or races.
major theme of American
History X is racism and
the consequences –
how it affects not only your
life, but
the lives
of those
character of Derek is
one of a Christ like figure
who has to be deconstructed
so that he may rise again and
so save his
struggles against change
when he is imprisoned. He
initially forms an alliance with a
white neo-nazi skinhead group,
but becomes disillusioned with
them when, one day he sees the
leader of their group exchanging
money for drugs with a Mexican.
He then sold it to one of the
white inmates.
believed drugs
made people weak
and were a problem
that only the minority
groups should have.
was tired of seeing these
people talking about one thing
and then doing another. He
decided to break away from the
group and go on his own. In an
act of retaliation for the
disrespect Derek had shown
them, he was raped and beaten
in the shower.
is at this point that Derek
starts questioning whether
his ways are actually
something that he believes
anymore. Everything that he
has believed in is now
starting to crumble around
him. He doesn't know what
to believe.
Definition of Prejudice
an irrational attitude of hostility
directed against an individual, a
group, a race, or their supposed
the film bases itself around the
idea of hatred and prejudice of
races against each other
Definition of manipulate
to control or play upon by artful,
unfair, or insidious means especially
to one's own advantage
primarily, and to a lesser
extent Danny, are manipulated in
their innocence, firstly,
unconsciously, by their father and
then Cameron
Definition of Hatred
extreme dislike or antipathy
and Danny’s hatred of
African Americans (and other
minority groups) is, firstly, fuelled
by the murder of their father whilst
fighting a fire in a “black” area
later, by Cameron
Alexander’s white
supremacist neo-nazi
Definition of friendship
attached to another by affection
or esteem
In prison, Derek’s only “true”
friend turns out to be Lamont,
the African American
who Derek works
with in the laundry
Derek left prison he realised
that the only reason he was still
alive was because Lamont had put
his reputation on the line to help
him. This type of action helped
reinforce the
new thoughts
and ideas that
were running
through Derek's mind.
you think
of any other
themes present
in American
History X?
 Choose
one of the themes evident in
American History X (one presented
here or one of your own choosing)
and demonstrate how this theme is
developed throughout the film. Use
quotes (if possible) and examples
from the film to support your ideas.
 Approx. 400 words

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