Jordan Peele’s Get Out is an American Psychological horror movie. Peele is the director and co-producer of the film, which stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, among other stars. The plot follows a young black man, Chris, who travels with his white girlfriend, Rose, to visit her family in upstate New York. Chris is hesitant to go raising his concerns to Rose. He asks if his family knows about their interracial relationship, and Rose casually points out that her family is not racist. On the way to Rose’s home, two events are indicative of what is to come later in the story. The two hit a deer that accidentally jumps from the bushes in front of their car. The innocent deer loses its life. In another instance, the two encounter a white police officer who profiles Chris because he is black, but Rose tries to protect Chris. Rose’s father is Dean, a neurosurgeon, and her mother, Missy, is a hypnotherapist (Peele). While at Rose’s place, Missy pressures Chris to have a session with her to help him overcome his smoking addiction. Chris gives in and, while in a trance, recounts his mother’s death and expresses his guilt. He gets a falling feeling where his consciousness is suppressed, and Missy refers to that state as the “Sunken Place.” Although Chris views the night’s events as a dream, his doubts are cleared when Walter, the groundskeeper, confirms their encounter, where he scared Chris while on his routine night runs (Peele).
The plot reveals that Rose’s family is in the business of transferring the consciousness of older and ailing white people into the bodies of younger black people. The procedure is attempted on Chris, who has become suspicious due to the events that had transpired in the home. However, he covers his ears with the cotton from the chair where he was tied to avoid the hypnosis process. When Jeremy, Rose’s brother, comes to collect Chris’ hypnotized body, he is ambushed by the conscious Chris. Christ fights his way out, killing all the inhabitants of the house. The operation to take his body fails, and the movie ends with him driving off in his friend’s police car (Peele). This essay explores the themes in Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” focusing on contemporary slavery as the central theme.
Using the horror genre, Peele comments on the existing racial tensions in contemporary society, specifically American society. These tensions are deep-rooted in America’s history of slavery. Before the emancipation that came after the American Civil war in 1865, America was a land of both free and enslaved people (Reskin). This was expected to end and usher in a new era of a nation consisting of the free. Black Americans were filled with the hope of freedom and dignity in a land where they could become anything they wanted. However, this reality never materialized. The struggle for equality, freedom, and dignity for blacks has continued in the subsequent centuries.
The basic argument drawn from the movie Get Out is that slavery of black people ended legally, but it has continued to all the community indirectly through institutions. Peele uses different elements in the movie to address neo-slavery in society. At the film’s beginning is a recall of the old South where blacks toiled in slavery. Roses’ family lives upstate in an estate where settlement is sparse, and most land is either forested or cultivated. This draws the viewers into the historical past. However, this is a contemporary couple in a modern car. Therefore, the film depicts the interrelations between the past and present. In essence, arguing that the past has influenced the present state of affairs. The system of slavery created disadvantages for the blacks, which led to a lack of progress and a cycle of poverty. When a deer hits the car, it symbolizes Chris and foreshadows what would become of him. Rose’s family would make a fortune from his misery, and his body would be used to profit another wealthy white man. Chris is innocent in this story, like the deer, but he would be auctioned as an enslaved person by more powerful people. Chris would be placed in the sunken place, where he would live passively, doing the will of his master with a suppressed consciousness.
In contemporary society, the patterns created during slavery have continued to suppress the black community. For instance, after emancipation, blacks could seek education. However, it was not possible to gain admission into white schools, which were and are still better funded. Without access to good education, their white counterparts gain the upper hand in a meritocracy society (Reskin 17). Like emancipation, the Supreme Court ruling on Brown V. Board of Education did not bring access to good education. Instead, it was a step in the right direction in the struggle for equality in America.
Weir (42) points out that black students in the United States have lagged in academic achievement compared to their white counterparts. This has been a decades-long struggle. However, current numbers still show that high school graduation rates are still significantly low among black kids compared to whites. While 87 percent of whites graduate high school, the rate among black kids is 73(Weir).
Racial inequality contributes significantly to the disparities in the education system. Some of the factors include home and neighborhood environments. Many black kids live in neighborhoods where economic progress is hindered by other system issues like the inaccessibility of loans, mortgages, college education, and insurance (Reskin). These invisible ceilings keep black communities in a “sunken place” alluded to in Peele’s Get Out. Even though blacks live in America, they have little power to influence their lives. They cannot get the education required for good jobs or mortgages to have decent homes nor insurance to treat some chronic diseases that leave families financially unstable.
Get Out has many symbols that comment on racial issues affecting society today. However, the most central theme covered in the story is the suppression of the black community. Even though a mix of strength, will, and luck helps Chris to escape, Walter, Georgina and Logan do not make it out. The powerful whites use their resources to suppress their consciousness and use them for social, health, and economic advantage. Therefore, in a narrow sense, the movie shows different elements of society that have led to widespread inequality.
Jordan Peele. “GET OUT.” [Mortion Picture]. Bloomhouse Productions. 2017. https://bflix.ru/movie/get-out-3r699/1-full
Reskin, Barbara. “The race discrimination system.” Annual review of sociology 38.1 2012: 17–35. https://tallahasseechan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Reskin_Barbara_-Race-Discrimination-System.pdf
Weir, Kirsten. “Inequality at school: What’s behind the racial disparity in our education system.” Monitor on Psychology 47.10 2016: 42–47. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/11/cover-inequality-school