Oscar Micheaux presents a film that illustrates how the strength of a woman, remained strengthen despite the several odds and how she was determine to see that the minister took the initiative in the Deep South to keeps schools open for the Black children who hailed from poor families. The efforts, however, can be seen in an environment that deeply undermines the strengths of the black community despite the fact that they have the ability to uplift the society. The following analysis will look into in-depth features of the movie and how Oscar Michaux has used the elements of acting, storytelling as well as sound to clearly send out the message in the film. It is worth noting that Oscar developed Within Our Gates as a reaction to the film, The Birth of Nation which had earlier illustrated the African American in a negative way. On the other hand, Oscar uses a character that is considered as being inferior in the society, a woman, to show courage in renewing the hope of African American children. Why focus on the African American woman in her efforts to restore sanctity of African American education? This is an indication that even women can excel where male have failed.

Story Telling

Oscar Michaux wants the audience to yearn for the end results of this story. It begins with the efforts of the African American woman and anyone can try to imagine if the story will end in victory or the whole situation will be a total failure. It is worth following the different episodes involved including the African American woman being involved with the black doctor. It is important to state that the story does not begin from nowhere, but is illustrated as beginning where Sylvia Landry who is the young African woman decides to visit her cousin who stays somewhere in the northern part of the country.  Furthermore, the introduction to the movie leaves the audience questioning as to whether Sylvia’s mission will make it to completion. The final outcome of this relationship between the doctor and the young American woman finally results into their marriage, which further gives the story, a timeline that the end has finally been achieved.


It will be rather absurd to suggest, in the earlier days, that women could play a great role in the liberation of several people. In presenting a woman as the main actor the film, the author further illustrates his belief that even women can play greater roles when it comes to acting. It presents a real picture of acting where Alma as well as Sylvia both has a love for the doctor. They both expose their feeling in real time, signifying that the film is not a fiction but it’s happening within the fragility and weakness of humanity. The challenges that Sylvia faces are typical of any individual who runs a course and this is greatly illustrated when her purse is stolen which further dents her mission. Those who feel the need to restore her mission, the sympathizers of her project, decide to lend her a hand and gives her the necessary amount of money needed for the mission.


The shooting of the pictures in Within Our Gates was carefully set aside so as to depict the ideal situation which the African Americans were facing at that particular time. For instance, a real ideal can be seen in the incidence of the lynching, in which Oscar carefully uses the scene to show how the lynching was quite painful and hurting to the audience. It is interesting how the film captures the several people who turn out to ensure that their children are accepted by the doctor. On the other hand, we see a clear picture of the school being overcrowded as a result of the filming that is presented. As a result, we can conclude that something out to be done as a result of the situation. IN the light of rampant racism, one could ask how such a situation could be captured despite the fact that several African Americans were being subjected to several cruelties. However, considering the time when the film was staged, there are several limitations in terms of electric shooting and as a result, there is little or no diffusion at all. The visual look on the pictures clearly shows that most of the shooting was of low quality as compared to several films that we view today.

Editing in Within Our Gates

It is surprising how the film remain a remarkable part of African American film, considering the times when it was filmed. The shots in the film are effectively edited and prepared which is an indication that there were several factors that were taken into consideration to ensure that the film depicted a top quality production. The audience, can therefore, as a result of the series of shots be aroused to tension as well as frustrations. The editing is a full composure that is full with essential details that leaves the audience pondering on the next scene of the movie. One dares to ask how African American could be allowed to witness the lynching of one of their very own. This is an indication that Oscar was determined to show the injustices which are not shown by several presenters while shooting their films. However, the lynching scene quickly changes from the audience who are then directed to the attempted rape of Sylvia. The editing presents various scenes where Sylvia is chased round the room by Gridlestone, the second scene involves the mob cutting down the lynching ropes, the third scene involves Sylvia’s coat being ripped off by Gridlestone, then the mob begins to burn off the lynched body, which is followed by Sylvia grabbing off a knife and trying to save her life. The editing then takes us to the place where the laundry remains are consumed by a huge burning bonfire. The last scene depicts Sylvia having given up after quite some struggle.

The use of sound

Oscar carefully uses melodic metalcore sound which draws the audience closer to realizing the importance of the film. Casual listening lies between perceptive and background listening, one can therefore be aware of the rhythm. The music is processed and sticks in one’s head. It’s not involving as compared to perceptive listening. Semantic listening evokes the sound description. Reduced listening is form of “specialized” listening, this isn’t true (Lecture Notes 3). It’s natural.

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Acousmatic listening is a mental representation acquired by listener and determined by focus on intrinsic and extrinsic aspect correlated to inner features of sound achieved by limited listening. While extrinsic aspects are related to human experience in bigger aspect (Ouzounian). The body is a mediator of instance based listening, which is a midway between mental and physical.

Oscar Michaux sees acousmatic mode of listening to be significant. It perceives sound with no basis of visual. Sound is used to insist on the context using the soundscape.

Embodied listening is a multidisciplinary method that is based on caring for individual and advancing relationships b issuing awareness. Listening enables openness and sensitivity to feelings and needs. It composes listening partnerships and discussions in better environment. It aims at exploring the connection of sound, space and sensation that happens in body, surroundings and imaginary points. It occur based on sound or music as it relates to environment.

The instrument produces chromatic pitch based on division of octave into pitches. This is the experience that incorporates physical, mental and emotional advancement of human more so little children (physical contact, breastfeeding). Attention varies from free floating to keen focus and the interventions in place. Analyst is does not notice his thoughts as it happens unconsciously, another instance of continuum analyst is aware of the state and the intervention and the other end he is more conscious and focused. Listening is a continuum for information on the left (of it) to hear with empathy on the other side. It’s a complicated behaviour that relies on the listener’s aim and the speaker’s goal when communicating (Listening Modes). Listening is hard to investigate and occupies time of scholars. Continuum establishes format for Smalley’s spectromorphological and allows sensible interpretations of sound.

Style and Directing

The film has various ideas that are related to the current course being undertaken in class. In the first instance the movie falls appropriately under the drama and romantic genre. The plot takes the audience through the experiences of Sylvia and in her relationship with the doctor. According to Imdb.Com(2011),the movie has a star rating of 8.2 out of ten stars .The film was also visually appealing and the incorporation of various sound effects such as background music and others was also efficient in making it more interesting and enjoyable. Through the film the audience is able to relate to it easily since it addresses most of the questions that face different races, cultures and societies today. One of the evident problems is that of corruption which is rife among different societies. The police in the movie come off as corrupt officials and at the same time individuals who have a lot of power owing to the fact that they are able to stop a game show before Jamal can answer the last question which may turn him into a millionaire.

Impact of Society on the film and vice versa

The African American males are still a race that is still developing and emerging in the United States in the field of ideas and idea space, intellectual and discursive network within and beyond the academic world. This idea confers the meaningful orderings of the African American as well as shared living and on the natural and social worlds and at the same breath tackling recurrent, emergent and the radical challenges in which they find themselves. The African American foregoes challenges that intercept the geographical, historical, socio-political and cultural differences as well as complexities.

            Furthermore, the concept is rooted on the generational handover which are linked, with complications during which Black people of Africa have been associated with Africa, persons and people from the dark continent of poverty. There is also a presumption that there exists distinguishing anthropological, historical and other common factors that they share hence the identity they give themselves. The whites came to believe that beneath their many formidable differences lay a foundational commonality that was shared through racialist and other virtues hence the definitive of the African American anthropological and historical superiority as being harbingers. This was the same conviction that the white American set out constructing racialized, rank-ordered philosophical anthropologies by which they came up with a nick name of the diverse people, the African American. Furthermore, the African American race is not homogeneous, racially or otherwise and this has resulted to them creating differing lifestyle in the differing geographical, historical and political locations. This has been fostered by the whites on one hand and on the other in the interaction that they make with other people.

There is an increasing problem about the composition of the African American family. This is a problem that has been experienced in America for far too long. The continual lack of family support network for many young African American, absent parents and the high out of wedlock birth rates are a contributing factor towards business venture. This has led to the African American being viewed negatively and leading to increasing polarization of American social and political life along racial segments.

Emergence of an Underclass: It is evident that majority of African American has risen in levels of education; the inner-city suburbs remain slightly behind in development that leads to lack of enthusiasm in business uplifting standards. The mentioned areas are exposed to several ills that prove quit challenging to the uplifting of business standards. These areas are often easily attacked by pandemics due to their social setting and hence drugs and crime rate are likely to strive. Such situation will most likely not favor entrepreneurship and may as well lead to serious social difficulties in the inner city areas. In this type of environment, learning environment is put at risk because of the lack of funding to the local schools. It is always easier to the leadership mentors to allocate support to the new schools that offer education to the suburban society with exception of supporting the already struggling inner city educational centers.

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