East vs. West in Gandhi

Early in the film Gandhi the audience watches a scene on which takes place on a train in South Africa about eight minutes or so into the film.  Here we see Gandhi himself dressed well and in a manor which I was not expecting.  Going into this movie I knew close to nothing about Gandhi and his practices and have previously only seen him in pictures.  I have not studied his work or anything about him.  This right off the start opened my mind and forced me to realize how ignorant my understanding of him and what he stood for was.  The dialogue in this scene particularly made me recollect what Professor Jani had discussed in our lecture about east vs. west.  We see a variety of characters in this short scene, but the contrasts of them were obvious.  First, we see Gandhi who is well dress and reading a book.  Then, we see a black man who is working, but becomes perturbed when he realizes Gandhi is sitting first class and is not white.  Finally, we see the two white gentlemen who confront Gandhi about sitting where he is.  Without the dialogue we see a clear rift or separation in the arrangement, but the dialogue definitely adds to the clear divisions.  When Gandhi attempts to explain why he is sitting there he states that he is “an attorney” and he has a “first-class ticket”.  Then, one of the white men claims that “there are no colored attorneys in South Africa.”  In this short two minute or so scene we as an audience are shown the disunity and separation that will proceed throughout the entirety of the film.  While watching this scene i was interested to see the three different types of thought process that occurred.  The first was from Gandhi, he thought since he had a ticket he should be able to sit where he was, he has sat his whole life in first class he even exclaims.  Then there was the black servant.  To me it seemed as though his role was more important than many would think.  When he realized that the man sitting in the first class section was not white he looked astounded and confused.  When the white men confronted Gandhi this black man was ready to move his bags before he was even told too.  This shows the audience how accustomed to the normal maltreatment he was aware was going to occur.  Finally, there was the white men.  These men certainly thought they were better than Gandhi or the worker and this is just how it was.  While the worker accepted the fact Gandhi was willing to speak up and try his best to make the situation impartial.  At the conclusion of the scene we see Gandhi being thrown from the train and this wraps up the first time we as an audience witness the east vs. west, them vs. us aspect of the film.


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