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Movie Analysis: Glory by Edward Zwick

In the movie Glory, they showed what it was like in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment and how African Americans were able to take a stand and fight in the war. I believe the director and the actors accurately portrayed the era of the civil war, and what the people had to endure. It also furthered my understanding of the difficult conditions they had to face. Despite facing severe prejudice, at night while gathered in their tents and around the fires the men sang songs and seemed to be able to enjoy themselves. It was rumored that they were only being used for free labor and wouldn’t get a chance to fight and prove themselves, yet they still kept their spirits up. Also, the men in the regiment were supposed to be paid $13 a month, but instead were only paid $7. Robert Shaw saw this injustice and did not accept his check either, and protested.

The discrimination these people still faced, despite being allowed to fight, was upsetting. The paycheck issue mentioned previously was unjust, but Robert Shaw acknowledged it and did something about it. The rumors about them being used for only free labor was rough, seeing as most men came with a background of slavery. Also, in the movie, white soldiers seemed to treat these men poorly despite fighting for the same cause. The men wanted to simply prove themselves and fight, yet they were faced with so much prejudice. There was a part in the movie where the men desperately needed new shoes. Robert Shaw sat down with a few men and discussed the issue, yet they did not give the regiment the shoes they required. The shoes were desperately needed because the mens’ feet were blistering and almost to the point where they could no longer walk, which could prove to be a serious issue when it came time for them to go on the battlefield. One man of the regiment had went off the camp trying to look for shoes, but was caught and they thought he was trying to abandon the regiment. His punishment was lashes across the back with a whip, which was completely cruel. Especially when they removed his shirt and there were prominent scars from previous whippings there. He wasn’t given a chance to explain, he was punished the same way he was punished when he was a slave. Soon afterwards, Robert Shaw was able to get the regiment shoes, after using a bit of force.

Overall I enjoyed the movie and thought it was a good portrayal of the era, and really put the conditions and experiences into perspective. I didn’t notice anything that seemed out of place or wrongly portrayed. Seeing the rough conditions rather than just hearing about them really helps someone understand just what it was like to fight in the Civil War.

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