Thursday, April 21, 2011



This research paper elaborates the struggle for life in martin scorsese’s Gangs of New York movie that are analyzed through individual psychological approach. The objectives of the research are to analyze the structural elements of the movie and to analyze the movie based on individual psychological approach. This research belongs to a descriptive qualitative research. The data of the research is the movie entitled Gangs of New York. Whereas the data source comes from both primary data source which is in the form of the text of the movie being researched and secondary data source such as biography of the author, websites and other sources. The method to analyze the data is descriptive analysis. Having analyzed the movie, the researcher comes to the conclusions as follows: Martin Scorsese presents the main character of Amsterdam Vallon that is drawn as a man who puts great respect and interest towards the struggle from his father in order can be accepted in New York. After the death of his father, Amsterdam continue his father sacrifice in order can live in New York quietly. During the flow of the story Amsterdam Vallon can extinguish the power of natives and makes all Irish can live in New York.

A. Background of the Study
People were born in a different background. There are so many different
backgrounds of life, such as, religion, states, and ethnicity. Those differences
stimulate people act differently to each other. They want to keep their
personalities based on their background. Realize it or not people will be separated
by invisible wall from other groups of society; they make their own group with
the same background.
Like in the New York City, many groups have different background over
there. English, Dutch, Scottish, Italian, German and Welsh live in New York City
for many years. They can accept the background of each other because they have
lived together for many years, and called as natives. When new comer comes, he
can not be accepted directly. The natives can not receive the new comer style, the
tradition even the religion. It makes the new comer struggles for the position, for
especially for the life.
Many new comers struggle to get the equal position in such country, or
district. Talk about struggle in life, many literary works raise the struggle of a
group of people. One of the literary works which raise the struggle is film. For
example, A Knight’s Tale, Brave Heart, Gangs of New York and More. The film
which totally raises the struggle for life in country is Gangs of New York.
Furthermore, Gangs of New York is film that tells about truth situation in New
Gangs of New York is 2002 film about truth situation where many
immigrants from Ireland enter New York. In this film New York is described as
town which was full of tribes, war chiefs and the gangs. Actually it was not a
town. New York was a furnace, where cities someday might be forged. New York
was full of conflict among Group of people; the huge conflict came from the Irish
and the native who was born in New York.
Gangs of New York movie tells about the struggle of one who comes from
Ireland. He tries to live in America although the native could not accept his group,
even the native hate him and his group. The natives were led by William Cutting
better known as “bill the butcher” (Daniel Day Lewis), with the hatred feeling
toward the immigrants. The leader of the Irish immigrant is Priest Vallon (Liam
Neeson) who has young son, Amsterdam (played as a child by Cian McCormack).
Cutting and priest Vallon meet with their respective gangs in a battle, harsh and
bloody, concluding when Bill killed Priest Vallon. Amsterdam was a witness.
Cutting declared the Dead Rabbits outlawed and ordered Vallon's body buried
with honor. Amsterdam took his father's straight razor, used for a ceremony, races
off and buried it. He was found and taken to the orphanage at Hellgate.
Sixteen years later, Amsterdam left Hellgate as a grown man (now played
by Leonardo DiCaprio). Coming in Five Points, he reunited with an old friend,
Johnny Sirocco (Henry Thomas). Johnny, who was then a member of a group of
pickpockets and thieves, introduced Amsterdam to Bill. Amsterdam found that
many of his father's old loyalists are now under William Cutting’s control,
including Happy Jack (John C. Reilly), now a corrupt police officer in William
Cutting’s pocket, and McGloin (Gary Lewis), now one of Bill's lieutenants.
Amsterdam soon works his way into the Butcher's group. Amsterdam learns that
each year, on the anniversary of the Five Points battle (February 16), Bill leads
the city in saluting the victory over the Dead Rabbits, and Amsterdam plans to
kill the Butcher. While in planning to kill butcher, Amsterdam meet Jenny
Everdeane, a pickpocket, Amsterdam is attracted to Jenny, so does Jenny.
Amsterdam’s friend, Johnny feels jealous to Amsterdam, because Amsterdam
gets Jenny’s love. It makes Johnny tell to butcher that Amsterdam plans to kill
In a certain ceremony, Amsterdam tries to kill Butcher with a knife, but
Butcher can avoid the attack from Amsterdam, and reply the attack. Amsterdam
affected, and he is tortured by William. Then Amsterdam is released by William.
Amsterdam makes a clan that consists of Irish. He gets many supports from Irish
people to attack natives. Johnny also joins Amsterdam’s Gangs. But he still
contact with butcher. Butcher knows that Johnny join Amsterdam’s group, then
butcher kill him. The Irish cannot accept the death of their friend Johnny; Irish
with the leader Amsterdam Vallon declare war to natives.
The second civil war happened in five points, many people was killed in
that war. Not only citizen dead in the war, many police also died in the war. In the
end, Amsterdam can kill bill butcher, the war is over. In the final scenes, the dead
people are collected for burial. Bill's body is buried in Brooklyn, in view of the
Manhattan skyline, next to Priest Vallon. Jenny and Amsterdam both visit the
grave as Amsterdam buries his father's razor there. The final shot includes the
World Trade Center towers.
Gangs of New York is a great film, many awards given from the film and
also included as succeed film. Gangs of New York won Gangs of New York won
the Golden Globe Award of Best Director - Motion Picture for Martin Scorsese
and Best Original Song for the song "The Hands That Built America" by U2.
Daniel Day-Lewis won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding
Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role & the BAFTA award for Best
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. It was nominated for 10 Academy
Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. However, the film was largely
overshadowed by Chicago, which took half of the awards for which Gangs of
New York was nominated, and the film failed to win any Academy Awards at all.
Although won many awards, Gangs of New York also gets critics. Many
critics have opined that the film is flawed compared to other Scorsese films,
though it has its share of vocal supporters. Roger Ebert, one of Scorsese's
longtime supporters, gave the film a positive review, saying it was "a triumph, but
not in the first rank of his masterpieces." The weaknesses frequently cited are its
comparatively slow pacing (the film has a running time of over 166 minutes) and
perceived lack of character depth. It has also been criticized for its wide-ranging
thematic content; William Goldman, in a Variety guest editorial, claimed that the
film attempted to touch on so many different themes that it failed to adequately
explore any of them, though this argument was strongly rebutted by producer
Irwin Winkler among others. On the other hand, many critics praised the film,
including eminent New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott, who gave it a glowing
From the phenomena of struggle which shown above in Gangs of New
York’s movie, the researcher interested to analyze struggle for life in Martin
Scorsese’s Gangs of New York by using psychological approach and proposes to
conduct a research entitle Struggle For Life in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs Of New
York Movie: An Individual Psychological Approach.
B. Previous Study
After looking for several literary reviews in Muhammadiyah University of
Surakarta, the writer has not found the research about Gang of New York movie
done by the other researchers.
There has been other researcher who research on Gangs of New York
movie, the writer found it in the web site of Eadon. Eadon research the movie just
focused on the structural elements.
Here, the researcher will analyze Gangs of New York movie focusing on
struggle for life by using individual psychological approach.
C. Problem Statement
Considering the phenomenon, the researcher formulates the problem
statement in this study as follow: “How is the Amsterdam’s struggle for life
reflected in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York movie?”.
D. Objective of the Study
Based on the Problem Statement above, the researcher can propose some
objectives of the Study below:
1. To analyze the structural elements of the movie in order to identify the unity
of the movie
2. To analyze the Amsterdam’s struggle for life reflected in Martin Scorsese’s
Gangs of New York movie based on psychological approach.
E. Limitation of the Study
To make the research appropriate with the objectives of the Study, the
researcher will make a limitation to the research. The researcher will only focus
on how the Amsterdam’s Struggles are shown in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New
York movie.
F. Benefit of the Study
The reason why someone makes a research is to get the benefit from it. By
doing so, the researcher expects some benefits are produced from this research,
those are:
1. Theoretical Benefit
By doing this research, the researcher wants to have contribution in
criticizing a literary work and producing criticism as objective as the writer
2. Practical Benefit
This research can be used by the next researchers to do a research related
to psychological approach, especially on Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New
York movie.
G. Research Method
Research method is derived from research and method. Research is the
process of solving the problem. Research also means an organized and systematic
way or process of finding answer to questions using scientific method. Method is
way for doing something.
In this part, the writer presents five points of research method. They can
be explained clearly as follows:
1. Type of the Study
The writer will use descriptive qualitative research in this literary
work. Creswell (1998: 15) defines that Qualitative Research is an inquiry
process of understanding based on the distinct methodological traditions of
inquiry that explore a social or human problem. The researcher builds a
complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of
informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting.
2. Object of the Study
The object of the study is Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York movie
because the movie reflects the struggle for life in New York city.
3. Type of Data and the Data Source
In this study, there are two sources of data namely primary and secondary
data sources.
a. Primary Data Source
The primary data taken from a movie entitles “Gangs of New York”
which released in 2002 and written by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian and
Kenneth Lonergan and directed by Martin Scorsese. This film was produced
by Miramax film.
b. Secondary Data Sources
The researcher takes the secondary data source, including the scrip of
the movie and the other information from the book and website from
internet that were relevant to the subject matter.
4. Technique of the Data Collection
The technique of collecting data was purposive sampling. Where the
researcher took sample of dialogue and capture of picture of the movie the
used it as starting point to analyze the issue. The analysis of the sample and
dialogue and capture of picture could be used as a representation of a general
phenomenon in social life. In order to make the data more complete, the
researcher do some steps. The necessary steps are as follows:
a. Watching and finding out the important sentence on the dialogues
b. Reading the script of the movie
c. Reading the book that are connected to the research
d. Browsing to the internet to get some information articles that are related to
the research
e. Finding out the important data
f. Arranging the important data based on its
g. Developing the data that are provided
5. Technique of the Data Analysis
The data are analyzed by using descriptive analysis. It concerns with
structural element of the movie and individual psychological analysis. The
steps are as follows:
a. Classifying the data
b. Verifying the data
c. Interpreting the data based on underlying theories
H. Paper Organization
In order to make this paper easy to be followed, the writer gives some
order for the paper organization. Chapter 1 contains introduction that consist of
background of the study, previous study, problem statement, limitation of the
study, objectives of the study, benefits of the study, research method and paper
organization. Chapter II is about underlying theory that deals with theory of
individual psychology, major principles of individual psychology and theoretical
application. Chapter III covers structural elements of the movie that includes
character and characterization, setting, plot, point of view, theme of movie and
other aspect which support to the movie. Beside, this chapter also contains
discussion of the structural elements of movie. Chapter IV is individual
psychology analysis. It is about application of the theory individual psychology
toward the movie. Chapter V consists of conclusion and suggestion.

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