American History X, a movie of immense suspense and meaning, is most certainly a must-see, especially for people today. It successfully portrays the conflict between individuality and conformity through its two main characters, Derek and Danny. Derek, the older brother, becomes easily influenced by Cameron’s beliefs and they form a gang of neo-Nazis. They wreak havoc in the town by vandalizing and harassing non-white immigrants. Danny eventually follows in his brother’s foot steps. However during the duration that Derek is in prison for murdering two African Americans, he realizes the evils he has created and tries to undo his mistakes. However in life there is no going back and fixing up one’s own mistakes. Derek tries to pull Danny out of the neo-Nazi idea and just as things seem like they are going to be all right, Danny loses his life. This all falls back to Derek’s actions toward conformity. Derek’s initial thoughts and hateful acts toward others pin pointed his weakest point and took the life of his younger brother. Just as the saying goes, “what goes around comes around”, the purpose of Danny’s death was to prove that, in life, there exists fairness and Derek deserved this for the torment he caused in his earlier days. Individuality can be considered rewarding and a lifesaving trait. As Derek is growing his hair out, straying from the bald neo-Nazis, he becomes a new person of great thoughtfulness and understanding. Unfortunately for Danny it is too late to grow out his hair and his bald head still remains a sign of conformity, which leads to his downfall. The main point is that “hate is baggage” and conformity should not be used as a weapon for hate. Individuality increases awareness and comprehension of one’s role in life.
American History X
April 6, 2008