Books and movies have played a large role in forming the public’s perception of history and political events. You can go all the way back to the 1930s with the film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, to he Cold War cinematic masterpiece “Dr. Strangelove,” to other political dramas such as “In the Name of the Father”, “The Motorcycle Diaries,” “Milk”, “Munich”, and, of course, “All The President’s Men.”
All of these movies, whether they were about telling a dramatic story, the evolution of people and countries, or painted a cruel, yet compelling image of political life, have informed their audiences to one degree or another. While “Malcolm X” and “Selma” showed us that race and religion are still important, “Judgment at Nuremberg”, Shake Hands With The Devil”, and “Hotel Rwanda”, showed us the history and acts that took place during and after genocides.
All of these movies showed the human side of tragic yet important stories that have enlightened all those who sat in the seats and saw them. They, like books, are vital to our understanding of our past, they paint the humorously absurdity of situations, and lessons to be learnt.
While movies have captured our imagination, so, too, have books. Whether it be George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” or “Nineteen-Eighty-Four”, Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”, “A Farewell to Arms”, or “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” The stories of Hemingway and Orwell have informed generations of readers as to what life was like during the era in which they wrote. F. Scott Fitzgerald epitomized the post-World War One feeling of feeling free through his novels and short stories.
Black authors in Canada, the United States, and around the world, have given us insight into race, both in the past and in today’s day of age. Whether it be Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Ralph Ellison, or Lawrence Hill, readers have sought, and received, insight and knowledge through reading their novels. And, though their books are fictitious, important things can be learned from their works. Whether you are reading Lawrence Hill’s “The Illegal”, or his “The Book of Negroes” or Richard Wright’s “Black Boy,” much can be gained by doing so.
Books and movies have a tremendous role in shaping our society, how we recognize ourselves, and how we understand where we are going. These stories give us insight into the past and allow us to propel into the future with increased optimism and hope.
Much can be learned from movies and novels, both past and present