This is a historical drama set in a small town in South Carolina during the American civil war of 1861- 1865 (Gallagher 13). It takes place in the entire during the entire span of the war, extending to one year after the end of the war- during the reconstruction of the southern economy and infrastructure destroyed by the war. The film targets all American of all ages and age, and especially those who have never experienced the effects of a civil war, and have never been in the fronts of a war.
I believe that the film will create awareness to the American populate on the effect civil wars that are rampant in various parts of the world. It will also make all Americans appreciated the peaceful co-existence we have today, and appreciated the efforts of those who sacrificed to ensure that the future generations of America will always live in peace. Much as the civil war involved modern organized warfare, it was also a story of personal conquest for the rich southern slave owners who had to let the slaves go.
Characters and Characterization
1. Jason Smithson
-He is a tall rugged white young man of about 30 years, born in South Carolina but educated in laws in the north, and so speaks him English with a distinctive northern accent
-He is good hearted, compassionate and friendly, and the most likable Smithson.
-He falls in love with a black slave girl who works in his fathers farm, and so when the war comes, he has to make a choice between protecting his familys interest in slavery, fight against it, or marry Mary Peseta- to the disapproval of his uncle.
-He faces dilemma of supporting the emancipation proclamation and succeeding as a cotton farmer once he takes over his fathers farm.
-His northern education and his love for made him revolt on the idea of slavery at first, though his uncle convinces him of the need to own slaves, he joins the southern forces by reconsidered him decision when a black slave engages him in a conversation as they march towards Maryland. He decides to support Lincolns Emancipation proclamation and goes against his kin. He later marries Mary after the war.
2. Jake K. Smithson
– Jasons uncle. A rich slave owner who is short and snobbish, mean and is always yelling orders and cracking his horse skin whip to the slaves in his cotton fields.
-He is the proprietor of Jasons cotton farm until he is through with college. Hates Jason and cannot understand his desire to marry a black girl. He convinces Jason to join the southern forces.
– He is later convinced by Jason on the need to support the release of slaves.
-He dies immediately after the war.
3. Mary Peseta
-She is a skinny black slave girl working on Smithson farms. She has scars all over her body from the whipping by Jasons Uncle.
– She is courageous enough to confess her love for Jason knowing that Jasons uncle will hurt her.
-She marries Jason after the end of the war, and helps Jason to run his farm.
4. Peter Patrick
-He is a scar faced black slave who meets Jasons on the battalion towards Maryland.
– He is bitter about his familys predicaments, and the fact that he was forced to join the secession forces to keep his family safe.
– Forces Jason to lead a revolt among the solders in his battalion and adopt the emancipation proclamation. He gets injured during the war. Jasons adopts him and his kin as a part of his family after the war. He assists Jason to manage the farm.
Synopsis of the Acts
This act is set in Smithson cotton farm in South Carolina. Jake K Smithson is seen riding his horse across the cotton fields, yelling orders and expletives to groups of slaves picking cotton in the hot sun. He whips the slaves, especially those who seem to be slower than the others. Jake is then seeing explaining to Jason why he should attend school in one of the northern states. He also cautions Jason on the consequences of his affair with a black woman, of which Jason states clearly that he loved her.
Jason leaves South Carolina to pursue law. He returns after three years, in February 1861. He finds out that his uncle has been mistreating Mary and quarrels him. On April 12, 1861, the seven southern states declare their secession to form the Confederacy States of America (McPherson 36). His uncle explains and convinces him why he should join the secessionist forces and protect the interests of his family and him farm.
Jason offers his services to the southern forces and joins the battalion that should engage the Union forces in Maryland. This scene ends with Jason kissing riding towards the battalions meeting point, while Mary looks on and cries.
Jason is seen in his shooting drills in a training camp for the battalion. With him is Peter, a slave who has been forced to join the force. Peter explains to Jason on the evils of slavery, explaining how his family has been tortured in the slavery. He recounts how he was made to join the forces to ensure his family is not killed by their owner.
Jason is disturbed by peters claims, and is seen in a flash recounting the good times he had spent with Mary, and how he has betrayed his Christian education in the north
Jason leads a revolt in his battalion where Peter is injured in a friendly fire between the separationist groups. They both join the group that heeds to the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863. The group joins the Union forces and barricades the south economy.
Eventually the southern forces are defeated when Robert Lee to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865 (Hagerman 267). The rebuilding of the economy begins and Jason and Peter head to South Carolina. Jake dies almost immediately after the war and Jason takes over the proprietary duties of the farm. He marries Mary, and adopts Peter and his family. He employs the former slaves to work on his farm, and betters their conditions through pay and better housing. He also appoints Peter to help him run the farm.
The film ends during an evening party in Jasons main farm houses as they all celebrate Marys first child.
Gallagher, Gary E. The American Civil War. Oxford: Osprey Publishers, 2003. Print.
Hagerman, Edward. The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare: Ideas, Organization, and Field Command. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University. Press, 1992. Print.
McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.