American History X: Analysis of Key Themes.

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In American History X, the key determinant ideal is the "capacity of oneself to change". That is, our behavior is a result of environmentally deterministic events, and thus we have the ability to change our thoughts, our behavior, and our life situation. In doing so, we hold a virtually limitless power to determine the circumstances surrounding our lives and the consequences of those circumstances. The focus of the story centers around the primary character, Derrick, …

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…to the director's credit, we experience one of the greatest ironic tragedies in modern film. In seeing and feeling the pressure and turmoil of Danny experiences, we (the audience) feel the greatest relief with him as he realizes the error of his ways and puts his resolve down on paper. As the young black man fires upon Danny in the final scene, we feel the great despair in the tragedy of both of their plights.