Gangy New Yorku – esej anglicky
Gangs of New York
First of all, I wanted to write an essay about Cold Mountain but then I realized I have watched it at least three times before. So I decided to go for a completely new movie for me – Gangs of New York which I‘ve never seen and had no idea what time of the history was involved in it. After watching the two hours and a half long movie, I found out there is so much information and historical events to deal with.
The story started in the year 1846. It showed us a place in New York called the Five Points which was the center of New York gangs, poor people, Irish immigrants and later emancipated black people. In the movie, there are two gangs – Bowary Boys and Dead Rabbits. The gang Bowery Boys with their leader Bill The Butcher ( by the way, real historical figure) was formed by white men calling themselves “the natives“. On the contrary, the gang Dead Rabbits was formed by the Irish immigrants who were not “native“. The gangs were fighting between themselves over control of the Five Points. In this time, the society was really in decay. As a matter of fact, every year came a reformer with his preaching in the effort to save the morale of the Five Points. The entertainment of the gangs was mainly drinking, fornication, animal duels, boxing…And people bet on the winners. Many of these activities were illegal and the gangs had to bribe the police. To scare off the people, the gangs held public executions, because the order in the gangs could be only preserved by fear. The leader of a gang was collecting money from the members. They usually “made money“ by robbing people. Some of the gangs were even so depraved that they were robbing the dead soldiers from the civil war brought to the NY shore. In the movie, we learned some interesting practices of the female thieves. Some of these kinds of women are called angler, autumn diver, badger or turtledove. Even though the gangs were rude and shameless, they were also very religious ( mainly the Roman-Catholic Irish gang Dead Rabbits), they honored traditions and performed ceremonies before the battles. These battles were very bloody conflicts and the best trophies were cut off noses and ears of their enemies. However, it was not in the habit to dishonor the leader of the defeated gang. During the civil war, the number of gangs rose up. The majority of them were racist. They hated Lincoln for freeing the blacks and they hated the blacks for stealing their work. Anyway, there was another group of people which was hated very strongly – Irish immigrants. They were so unfavorite that people even compared them with the blacks who were the worst in that time. The reason why millions of Irishmen came to the USA was the potato famine. With the vision of better life in the USA, the Irish got to know only the cruelty and hate of the “native“ right after getting off the ship. They were even attacking them, for example they threw rocks at them. The immigrants (not just the Irish) were given the American citizenship right on the harbor and they must have signed for the draft into the army. The only way how to avoid the draft to the war was paying 300$, which was a huge amount of money that almost nobody could afford. Those men who were drafted to the army to fight in the civil war were already considered dead. People were very angry that they had to fight for the rich onlookers and freed slaves and that they had to sacrifice themselves in the war. So in 1863 big riots took place. This event is called Draft Riots. It lasted for 5 days and a big number of people was killed and a huge area was demolished.
After watching the movie, I realized how horrible conditions were in the USA for the immigrants and not just for them. All the dirt, diseases, moral filth, poverty, war or cruelty were absorbing people one after the other. The movie ended shortly after the Draft Riots which very seriously destroyed the Five Points and metaphorically cleansed the moral dirt of the people. And on this bloody historic place grew famous and magnificent Manhattan as we know it now.