That Chink At Golden Gulch Analysis

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That Chink at Golden Gulch (Film 1910) It is one of the D.W. Griffith’s one-reelers made for Biograph which deal with “other race” subjects, this time the protagonist being a Chinese. Charley Lee (Anthony O’Sullivan in yellowface), “the poor chink” (according to the “Biograph Bulletin”), works at miners’ hamlet Golden Gulch as a laundryman (of course!). His old father returns to their homeland, the “Flowery Kingdom.” Before leaving, the father warns the son not to cut his pigtail, considered a sacred thing; otherwise he will be treated as an outcast among the people of his own culture and will not be allowed to return to China before his death – the journey back home before death every Chinese should do. The son, left alone, feels very down.…show more content…
The Chinese were not quite exotic for an American audience as in 1850s–1870s they were encouraged to migrate massively to the United States, to work at the railway construction and in the gold fields out West. Their offensive representation in the plays and then in the movies followed the hostile response they met with in states like California and Nevada because there were so many of them, they did not mind worked long hours and for peanuts. Griffith abandoned mockery of the Chinese characters, typical in some of his predecessors’ plays, and made a Chinese man a central character (in Townsend’s play a Chinese was just one of many lesser ethnic types), but still he did not avoid showing him walking with bowed legs, head down, crouching and kneeling – to make sure the spectators will not forget his inferior racial and social position. Also, his posture and his behavior, including cutting his own pigtail leave no doubt that his intensions towards white female protagonist have no sexual character whatsoever and that his servitude is simply a logical consequence of his

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