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The film is a documentation of the civil war which started in 1861 when Fort Sumter was attacked. The war however did not commence immediately until in 1862 when President Lincoln declared the freedom of slaves. The source of the war is rooted in the bitterness of the North towards the extension of slavery. This led to the intrusion of refugees into the south and eventually the secession of eleven out of fourteen slave states from the federal union. The constitution of the union stated that whites in the south were authorized to own slaves and anyone who challenged this authority would be punished unsympathetically. It is after Lincoln’s proclamation that the south reacted with a threat that any slave seen in uniform or under weapons would be under the hands of the authority governing rebellion. The 54th Massachusetts was established by the Massachusetts’ governor, John Andrew soon after Lincoln had declared freedom to the slaves. Approximately 179,000 black Americans joined the union army and all their regiments were segregated until during the Second World War when they were integrated with the white soldiers.
Some of the historical contents that are revealed in the film include racial discrimination and the way the whites looked down upon the black soldiers. The subject of racial discrimination is at the forefront of the film. The 54th Massachusetts started with a proud custom in the black unit of the United States army as they matched admirably into the battlefield despite the fact that they did not receive their dues in time as the white soldiers did. While the north emphasized on abolishing slavery, racism was still an issue that would take some time to eradicate, a point that the Edward wants to emphasize. Most of the white soldiers believed that black soldiers were incapable of doing anything constructively. In the film, the issue of discrimination is well illustrated and it starts immediately when the confederate announces that all blacks who will be seen in uniform or in any case having a weapon would be hanged or be enslaved respectively. This is just but a hint of how the whites used to treat the blacks. Blacks are viewed as people who were very inferior and they could not do anything constrictive. Thus, by the confederate announcing that the blacks keep off from uniforms and weapons is a way of eliminating them from the army. The first army to be comprised of entirely blacks was formed during the civil war and the whites could not trust them for a battle. The blacks however prove that they are able to fight when they win the war. Discrimination is also illustrated when the suppliers are cut short to the black troop. People in the black troop are denied some of the essentials and supplements such as food, cloth, shoes etc. Trip is, during one night seen moving out of the camp, so as to go and look for shoes. This is a clear way of telling the audience that the confederate was not committed into providing for the black troop regardless of the fact that it working under the arms of the government. It is not only Trip whose shoes are tone; every member of the troop lacks one essential or the other. The living conditions in the camp are very poor and the blacks are forced to share small tents which are congested. Most of the men put on old uniforms or have none at all. Soldiers are seen lining up for their pay only to find out that they are given $10 instead of $13. They have been waiting for this pay for a long time due to the delayed logistics in the system and even after all that long, they realize that their pay is lesser than the whites’. They are then given new uniforms as though to inform them that part of their pay has been used to purchase the uniforms.
The black troop is also looked down up on as it is considered weak. This is illustrated when Shaw’s troop is assigned to do manual duties such as stopping the slaves from looting the town, and breaking into other peoples’ properties instead of fighting in the front line. As trained soldiers, it is their expectation that they work on the war front but they are considered insufficient, a situation that lands them in the duties of untrained people. After Shaw’s talk with the area commander, his troop is given a chance to fight in the front line. They win the battle but they are not accredited to. The headlines feature on the battles fought at Vicksburg and Gettysburg. Their wining is viewed as a threat to the whites therefore they do not want them to appear in the news least the citizens loose their confidence in the white troop.
One of the most emphasized themes in the film is that of brotherhood. Due to the unbearable conditions and external forces acting against them, the 54th Massachusetts troop is exceptionally united. This is illustrated when members of the troop pray, sing and inspire each other on the night before the Fort Wagner attack. Their unity and closeness is also depicted when they all decline their pay when they realize that it has been reduced to $10.
The film is constructed as an inspirational legend whose stimulation is rooted within the characters and the comportment in which they rise above the obstacles. Trip, who proves to be the angriest of all is forced to live as a team member, while Thomas, the most timid of the team is taught how to become mental tough. Rawlins on the other hand has to accept the fact that he is a leader. The film is meant to accomplish the fact that black soldiers like the white soldiers can be trusted to battle with equal patriotism and tenacity. Edward achieves this by avoiding unnecessary exploitation in favor of effectual character development and strong inscription. The thematic components of the film as perfect as well. The scenes are shot from a wide range of settings; from gloomy, cloudburst to after dark. The visuals are clear and appropriate to the message they depict. For instance, the first scene depicts the blood and stab in the battlefield as frank as possible, when the head of the soldier exploded.
In conclusion, the film glory gives the account of the difficulties experienced by the African-American soldiers who served in the army during the civil war. Edward writes the film with borrowed ideas from the letters of Robert Shaw, the commander of the black soldiers and partially from the true happenings of the civil war. Glory details the racial humiliations that the black soldiers are subjected to which include lower rates of payment as compared to their white counterparts, and delayed provisions. Based on true historical contents, the film is of significance since it illustrates how the black soldiers were perceived inferior until when they proved their patriotism when they won the Fort Wagner battle. The key theme of the film is brotherhood as it is illustrated by the 54th Massachusetts members in their collective deeds. The director successfully and mutually uses characters, strong inscription, visuals and thematic to achieve the aim of the film.