I chose to write my critical response on the film Pinky. This film was directed by Elia Kazan in 1949. This movie was produced during a time when a main focus in society was the portrayal of blacks within Hollywood. Elia Kazan's breakthrough look at race focuses on a light-skinned black woman named Patricia who after studying nursing in New England, returns to her southern hometown to help her grandmother take care of a wealthy white woman. This film deals with a wide range of topics, the most notable being the issue of racism.
The main character in this film, and the woman who this film is named after, is Patricia Johnson, otherwise known as Pinky. Pinky is a young light-skinned African American who throughout her life must deal with various hardships dealing with her race and the color of her skin. Pinky's confidence in her self-image was tested when she decided to move up north to study nursing. While in New England, Pinky, who went by Patricia, had a hard time coming to terms with her race, and chose not to acknowledge her roots, denying her black blood. Patricia later returned to her southern home, and was once again was referred to as Pinky. While living in the south, Pinky had a hard time adjusting to her old life because of the color of her skin. While Pinky was up north pretending to be someone she was not, she was accepted and loved. However, when Pinky returned to the south she was treated as an outcast to society. She was not accepted by white people because of her race and was seen as being "different" by black people because of the color of her skin. Pinky is a strong willed character who has had to deal with more in her twenty or thirty years of life than most people do in an entire lifetime. While creating the character of Pinky, I believe that Elia Kazan wanted to create an African American character who was forced to deal with the hardships of being a black woman with light skin in society.