Text Review Assignment: Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves is set in 1863 (filmed in 1990) and depicts the meeting and development of multiple relationships between a Union Army lieutenant, John Dunbar, and the Sioux people across South Dakota and Wyoming.
Most generally there is a difference in power between the Americans and the Native Americans that resides all throughout the movie. It is the preface through which the actions of John Dunbar are decided upon and it is the top concern for the Sioux chief, Kicking Bird. Relative to this class, the Native American people are seen as the Other by the Union Army and experience aggressive take over of the land that the Native Americans call home. They are dehumanized and seen as savages. At the end of the movie, Dunbar returns to his post and is dressed as a Sioux person but he is shot at and his horse, Cisco, dies because the Union Army blindly shot at someone who resembled a “savage”.
One intimate relationship develops between John Dunbar and an American woman, Stands with a Fist, who was taken in by the Sioux chief, Kicking Bird, at the age of six. Stands with a Fist is challenged by meeting another white person after having grown up and married within the Sioux tribe. She has to remember how to speak english and to open herself back up after losing her pervious husband. Stands with a Fist is battling her identity and trying to understand it after she has intimate feelings for John Dunbar but is, temporarily, banned from relations by the chief. Once the chief grants her freedom, she experiences an overwhelming affection for Dunbar and they are married soon after.
Throughout Dances with Wolves the main themes, discussed above, are morphed into a beautiful story and the development of personal relationships. I think that the director wants the audience to understand that getting to know someone is a rewarding experience and forming new relationships, keeping and open mind, and placing trusting others can bring rewards that reach beyond even the largest power struggles. I think that this movie is a perfect example to talk about identity and power and it is interesting that I found less injustice that expected. Perhaps there was less injustice on the plains of America before is was colonized by immigrants. The power struggle between the Union Army and the Sioux is clearly developed throughout the film and is a basis for many of the tribes actions and thus the plot of the movie. The identity struggle of both Stands with a Fist and John Dunbar is portrayed and both people learn to develop their identities in order to understand each other and be together.
For my text review I am going to talk about the show 90 Day Fiance. For those who are not familiar with the show, basically the whole premise of the show is that someone from America meets someone online who lives in another country and they’re in a “relationship”. Eventually the individual from America goes to wherever their partner is to visit them, and most of the time they’re traveling to places such as Nigeria, the Philippines, etc. And that’s where it gets interesting, that’s when we see these Americans trying to function in situations they aren’t used to in these areas that are impoverished & we see injustices.
During the current season two great examples of this are with Ed & Lisa. Ed is “dating” Rose, who lives in the Philippines. Lisa is “dating” someone who lives in Nigeria. Both of their trips provide us with different examples of identity, power, and injustice. A great example of this comes with Lisa. Lisa is 53 and it’s clear that she has some very interesting viewpoints. Her boyfriend lives in a very rundown area, and it’s clear upon her arrival that his living situation is much different than what she is accustom to. For example, to take a shower/bath there is simply a small area and a bucket. They fill the bucket up with water and just continually pour that on themselves to wash off. Lisa made it clear that was “unacceptable” and that she wasn’t “living like this”. She was clearly looking down on him and his living situation. Another example of Lisa is when they are going to meet her boyfriend’s mother, and a Nigerian custom is that the person meeting their partners parent will buy a Goat and bring it to them, as a sign of respect. Lisa argued with it extensively and made it clear that she thought it was stupid, once again looking down on Nigerian culture. Throughout the entire season Lisa looks down on Nigerian culture, and talks to her boyfriend almost like she is his owner. She speaks and acts this way toward him because she feels that he has no choice but to deal with her actions if he wants to come to America. She clearly uses and abuses her perceived position of power, that she believes she has to treat her boyfriend like he is an inferior. His Mother even states one of her concerns is that if he goes to America, she fears that Lisa will make him a “slave”. I thought Lisa’s actions was a great example of the idea of the “other”. Throughout the entire series Lisa is talking down to her partner, alienating him, and making it seem like his culture and his way of living is something absurd. She’s blatantly making him feel like an “other”. I think the producers of 90 Day Fiance want to show us how difficult it is in these countries, but I also think they want us to see how harsh Americans can be when seeing these cultures and situations first-hand.