O brother, where art thou


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Using the Coen Brother's movie as a secondary source for GCSE history Paper 2 - Depression era America.

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O brother, where art thou

  1. 1. Using a movie as a secondary source.
  2. 2.  The reach of radio was enormous. Mass communication and entertainment could reach Americans within their own homes, and capitalized on by business advertisers, artists, and politicians. In the “O Brother” radio serves as a major plot driver. One politician character references its importance as a tool for “mass communicating.”
  3. 3.  The Depression fueled bank robbery and criminals like Bonnie and Clyde, whose stories excited the public. Bank robber Lester Gillis, famously known as George “Baby Face” Nelson committed crimes back in the early 1930s. He was gunned down on November 28, 1934. He was known to be hot tempered over the “Baby Face” nickname.
  4. 4.  Huey Long is the greatest example in American history, rising through radio and the desperation of people in the Great Depression. W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel also gained fame as a radio personality with his bluegrass band the Hillbilly Boys.
  5. 5.  The KKK rally in the film is meant to be both sinister and absurd. The racist sentiments expressed by the red- robed wizard, who is actually the political gubernatorial candidate, are true to KKK doctrine. The sacredness of the Confederate flag and the lynching of an innocent black man (here Johnson) are also accurate to say of a KKK rally or meeting in 1937 Mississippi.
  6. 6.  Overall, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is a flawed source to use for the past, however, the film goes far beyond what the filmmakers claim. The Coens’ film does a commendable job at creating an accurate setting and image of the diverse Great Depression society in the American South.