My paper analyzes Jordan Peele’s Get Out through both the history of slavery and the lens of our popular memories of slavery. It roots these remembrances in a host of divergent sources: our filmic depictions of the slave past; the convention of the slave narrative; and the oral histories of slavery passed down in stories and folklore. It as well examines how these slave-era themes are translated in the film into twenty-first-century discourses on race, gender, and power. Get Out in many ways speaks to what scholars Soyica Diggs Colbert and Robert J. Patterson have termed “the psychic hold of slavery,” in which the legacies of the “peculiar institution” inform a present where inequality, violence and racial terror remain a part of the African-American experience.
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