Critical Analysis of Hidden Figures: Never Give Up

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In today’s society, there is justice in the world, but the injustice for the black race has had a negative impact on the lives of African American people. Injustice in the form of racial discrimination has affected African Americans through misrepresentation only because their skin colour is not white, being socially segregated separating them from the privileges of white people. (reason 3). The authors and directors have shown this form of injustice throughout their film and novel.

Hidden Figures directed by Theodore Melfi and To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, focus on injustice. Both are set during the Great Depression between the early 1930s to the late 1960s. Most African American people in the 1950-1960s were segregated and had to put up with unequal systems involving school, housing, employment and hospitals. They were living as second-class citizens and had higher chances of poverty and suffered unemployment.

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The author and director…… proved that….. there is still issue around racial discrimination today

The key message in the film Hidden Figures is to work hard and have perseverance, to never give up on your dreams, even when people tell you that you can’t. The three women in the film look beyond the racial discrimination against their gender and skin colour and focus on the talents that they have.

Like Hidden Figures, the message throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird is that people often have prejudices and incorrect opinions of people, which should be avoided by having empathy and understanding that not everyone is the same.

The Hidden Figures film was made in the early 2000s and illustrates the lives of three African American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Their significant contributions to NASA as mathematicians during the Space Race in the 1950s and 60s were the reason the launching and orbit of John Glenn was successful and lead to America winning the Space Race. Although these women had a vast contribution to NASA, they faced segregation because of their race and gender. The prejudices faced by these women are also seen in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

The novel, To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the 1930´s set from the point of view of a six-year-old known as Scout. Her father, Atticus, relates closely to a Hidden Figure´s character, Al Harrison. He is the head director of the projects undertaken in NASA. Al Harrison was not concerned with the prejudices of the world, he just wanted to be the first to launch an American into space. These are similar actions to Atticus. Although Atticus was assigned to defend an African American man convicted of raping a teenager, he did not care about what the people in the community had to say about him doing his job and defending Tom Robinson. He wanted to make sure he did his job the best he could in order to defend Tom Robinson.

Throughout the novel, a repeated justice issue of racial discrimination against black people, specifically Tom Robinson who is the main victim of this injustice is evident. Unfortunately for Tom Robinson, there was no getting away from the charges filed against him. This was simply due to his race. As well as him, the Ewell family, although white, also suffer this discrimination by the citizens of Maycomb as they are known as white trash.

Racial segregation was a system that separated people into racial or ethnic groups in daily life. This included spatial separation and mandatory use of facilities for different races. Specifically, these segregations consisted of drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school and riding on a bus.

Hidden Figures shows this segregation in NASA’s Kennedy Space centre, where the African American women must work at a different campus specifically for coloured people. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson are offered new jobs based in the main campus of NASA. This was an accomplishment for these women, but the main campus does not allocate for coloured people. This meant when the women needed a drink or toilet break, they would have to run back to their original campus for the coloured facilities.

The film provides an insight on how racial segregation effected African American people and what battles they faced. Katherine Johnson fought for this segregation to be stopped. She, along with the others became accepted and could use the same facilities as the white people.

Similar to the film, To Kill a Mockingbird also has signs of this segregation. This is seen in the court room while Tom Robinson is in trial. There were separate seating areas in the Maycomb County Court House for the blacks and whites. The rule was that whites sat on the ground floor, while blacks sat in the balcony. As well as this, blacks were expected to wait until all white people had entered the court room before they were allowed to enter.

One more reason/topic to speak about here?

To Kill a Mockingbird should still be taught to a younger audience because it allows us to understand and picture what it was like to live in the 1930s as a young girl. Along with seeing how brutal racism was and the challenges faced while living in this time.

Like the novel, Hidden Figures shows how much effort and persistence three African American women had to put into being able to work in the main area of NASA, as well as being accepted for who they are. The challenges faced and what they had to deal with in this era were shown and display such injustice for coloured people. For an audience, it provides an insight on how hard work pays off and to never give up on your dreams. These women in the film, have such an impact on today’s society because it heavily influences women to become leaders.

In society today, we are not so far removed from the days when racial discrimination against the African Americans was in full effect. Although we have made great strides and overcome many adversities, we still have a long way to go before the scale balances out. Studies show that 92% of African American people surveyed say that the discrimination against the black race still exists today.

Conclusion

The authors and directors, Theodore Melfi and Harper Lee, have shown a form of injustice throughout their novel and film by showing the struggles that African American people faced due to the misrepresentation only because their skin colour was not white as well as being socially segregated separating them from the privileges of white people. This form of racial discrimination is still seen today, it is a lense through which people interpret and reproduce inequality.

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Critical Analysis of Hidden Figures and To Kill a Mockingbird: Never Give Up. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-analysis-of-hidden-figures-never-give-up/
“Critical Analysis of Hidden Figures and To Kill a Mockingbird: Never Give Up.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/critical-analysis-of-hidden-figures-never-give-up/
Critical Analysis of Hidden Figures and To Kill a Mockingbird: Never Give Up. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-analysis-of-hidden-figures-never-give-up/> [Accessed 20 Jun. 2024].
Critical Analysis of Hidden Figures and To Kill a Mockingbird: Never Give Up [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2024 Jun 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-analysis-of-hidden-figures-never-give-up/
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