King Kong: A Cultural Snapshot Essay

1024 words - 4 pages

Classic stories remain a classic because they convey a message which appeals to people of multiple generations despite changes in society. King Kong was released in print in 1932, a year prior to its release in Hollywood, as a part of the film’s advance marketing. The public of this generation easily accepted the story’s racist, colonialist, and sexist themes. Today, literary critics such as Cynthia Erb view the novel and film as representation of the early 30s and thus a resource to understand the cultural context of the times. In particular, King Kong provides a window through which a modern audience can understand and interpret racism of the 1930s.
The main stereotypes presented in the story, King Kong, were those of African Americans. A main message conveyed was the hyper-sexuality of African Americans, with the message revolving around the stereotype that African American males have an exaggerated sexual energy and an unquenchable desire for beautiful white women. The story of King Kong is, in short, about an enormous ape pursuing a beautiful blonde with the movie ending on the top of the Empire State Building. With this hyper-sexuality stereotype in mind, this ape is a representation of the black man. This being has animal-like instincts, which are “lower” instincts, and has a constant desire to be with Anne, “the golden woman” , as described by a native. The plot proceeds to show Kong climbing to the top of the Empire State Building with Anne in tow. The Empire State building can be interpreted as a phallic symbol and is “conquered”
by Kong when he reaches the top of the building with Anne (Figure 1) . Cynthia Erb describes this use of sexuality and raciness in King Kong as a, “type of commodification that was featured prominently in King Kong’s first release.” Erb also points out that, despite initial censorship, theater owners drew upon the jungle craze of the 1930’s in order to define the film as sexy and exotic. The hyper-sexuality stereotype of African American men was one that was displayed in both King Kong the film and King Kong the book, and is a representation of the racism that was present during the 1930’s.
The element of race is easy to perceive when considering the plot of King Kong. It consists of Kong being forcefully taken from his jungle home, brought to the United States in chains and displayed on stage as a freak show. Denham describes Kong as, “… a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization merely a captive.” , accentuating the element of race in this story. Kong then breaks his chains and runs amok through the city with Anne until he is killed by fighter planes. The fighter planes represent law and order, and Kong’s death to these fighter planes represents the superiority of white law to the desires of Kong, who represents the black man. The Kong’s death also masculinizes white men, who are depicted as humane, civilized, and the protector of women. The quote, “Oh...

Find Another Essay On King Kong: A Cultural Snapshot

Greater China and Australia: Past and Prospects

2822 words - 11 pages Table of ContentsExecutive Summary4Part A4Comparative snapshot of the Australian economy and the economies of the countries of Greater China4Part B7GDP Growth Rate7Inflation8Current Account Balance as a % of GDP9Interest Rates10Money Supply Growth10Population Growth Rate12Sectoral Shares13Agriculture as a percentage of the economy13Industry as a percentage of the economy13Manufacturing as a percentage of the economy14Services as a percentage of

Technological Evolution in the Film Industry

847 words - 4 pages a classic story. Some examples of films that have been remade include Scarface (1932), remade in 1983, and The Magnificent Seven (1960), remade in 1998. King Kong (1933) is another example of a film that has been remade. The remake, King Kong (2005), directed by Peter Jackson, shows technological innovation in comparison to the original version. Although the original version introduced many technological advances that helped to tell the

What factors in the present situation of Hong Kong explain this sudden surge of interest in Tsang’s works?

2073 words - 9 pages , and territoriality. Even 17 years after the handover back to China, and 7 years after Tsou Choi Tsang’s death, his work is still powerful and influential as it covers topics which several locals can relate to. Tsou Choi Tsang, better recognised by the title of the ‘King of Kowloon’ came to Hong Kong at the age of 16. He had very limited education. He worked as a construction worker, however a tragedy left him living on the support of crutches for

British Colonization of Hong Kong

1626 words - 7 pages remained under Britain’s control escaped The Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution China suffered through. It wasn’t only an economic blessing for Hong Kong, but Hong Kong also plowed forward in the mean time, becoming a greater trading port and financial hub. In the end, as China came to realize how successful Hong Kong’s economic was, Beijing actually begun to mimic Hong Kong’s freewheeling market economy. To tie the British colonization

Basic Law

1011 words - 5 pages added at the end of this essay. Key structure of Basic Law Basic Law is a principal source of laws in Hong Kong. It is also an agreement between both China and UK. Starting from the Preamble, which explain why Basic Law is enacted. “Hong Kong has been part of China’s territory since ancient times, but it was occupied by Britain after Opium War in 19 Dec 1984, the Chinese and British government signed the Joint Declaration on the question of

“King Kong” Movie Analysis

1894 words - 8 pages Introduction A good movie can either be captivating or thrilling depending on the plot of the movie. Like the thrill of a rollercoaster, so is the thrill that comes from watching the King Kong movie. It is both captivating as well as intriguing in the sense that it provides rich thematic presence and sceneries. In this paper, the learner will take a look at the King Kong movie from a critical perspective to deduce whether the movie really


2458 words - 10 pages modernity and globalisation. Because of globalisation, David et al. (1989) argues that Hong Kong has grown to be recognised as a “consumer society,” (p. 457) in which consumption has become a cultural value for society. One of the reasons David et al. (1989) points out is the type of product and services in which has been advertised to the masses appeal. Case in point the growth of non-Chinese chains such as Japanese food and other fast food sectors

Looking for ¬タワPublic¬タン Art in Hong Kong

1822 words - 8 pages most thing should not have. The government and conglomerate in addition to being taught and to forced indoctrination, people should be teach for create their own ideas. Recalling the history of Hong Kong¬タルs public art. The first by a conscious display of artworks in public spaces in order to convey a message, is the monument (memorial nature) artworks appeared in the 1880s e.g. the statue of Queen Victoria in the Victoria Park and King George VI

Introduction of Hong Kong International Theme Park Ltd

3375 words - 14 pages Comments B3 Recommendations C. Economic environment C1 Description C2 Comments C3 Recommendations D. Social-cultural environment D1 Description D2 Comments D3 Recommendations E. Technological environment E1 Description E2 Comments E3 Recommendations F. Conclusion Reference A. Introduction of Hong Kong International Theme Park Ltd. (Hong Kong Disneyland Resort) Background Hong Kong International Theme Park Ltd. is a joint venture

What is a Remake Film?

994 words - 4 pages A remake is a film that has been produced, based on, or inspired by, an already existing, older motion picture. Wether it be an allusion or a line-by-line retake of a movie, the term remake covers everything in the realm of reused material. However, the term generally pertains to a new version of an old film, usually with significant production and narrative changes. King Kong, released in 1933 by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, is

“No One Could Coerce her Child to Do Anything to Meet Her Dictatorship” Even the Mother

1645 words - 7 pages criticizes the U.S.'s political system as being detrimental for public good…In short, the booklet disparages democracy" (Ko). The teaching booklet called "The China Model", its content deviates to the facts and omits any sensitive topics that related to the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and the Cultural Revolution. A schoolchild's mother, Yu who declares, "Children in Hong Kong need to know about the huge progress that China has made in the past

Similar Essays

Islam As A Cultural Heritage In Hong Kong

1046 words - 4 pages (O'Connor, 2012).Since then, the Muslims have becoming part of our society and the Islam culture have been laying its roots under Hong Kong’s ground. Walking through Wan Chai, It is obvious that Islam culture have its own significance in Hong Kong and it is a cultural heritage that worth our concern. In the following essay, the importance of Islam culture and the current situation of this culture will be examined. Importance As a culture that

King Kong 1933 Monstrosity Essay

1608 words - 6 pages Assignment 3Taken from an exotic land, terrified and in love, King Kong (1933) features a creature that makes us fall into sympathy despite his barbaric monstrosity. O'Brien's Stop-Motion of Kong, Steiner's three note motive, and the story of Kong's transportation are constructively shaped to help audiences identify with Kong as a sensitive monster instead of a terrifying animal. Directors Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper bring forth

The Link Between Hong Kong And Their Economic Future

1345 words - 6 pages you have in mind. Whether you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or entrepreneur, its all possible in Hong Kong. Over these past few years though Hong Kong is beginning to rethink its relationship with mainland China. In a survey conducted in 2011 found that the number of respondents as the native people of Hong Kong view themselves more of a part of Hong Kong than China. After recent social and cultural clashes with the mainland, Hong Kong is

Fear Of The Color Black Essay

3449 words - 14 pages from an apiary, prompting the locals to chant 'Candyman', and the bees stung him to death. Lastly, King Kong, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, is about a documentary filmmaker who sails off to parts unknown to film his latest epic with leading lady Darrow in tow. Disembarking at Skull Island, the chief offers to buy the "golden woman" to serve as the "bride of Kong." Kong is eventually captured and taken back to New York