Jordan Peele’s Get Out is full of symbolism hinting at the film’s deeper themes, with one of these aspects being the deer Chris hits with his car.
- Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” delves into heavy themes like racial inequality and trauma, employing symbolism throughout the film, including the recurring appearance of a deer.
- The deer that is hit by a car early in the film represents Chris’ past trauma, particularly the death of his mother via hit-and-run, which deeply affects him but seems to go unnoticed by his girlfriend Rose.
- Additionally, the presence of the deer connects to Peele’s exploration of racial inequality, with the term “buck” being used as a racial slur in post-Civil War America and the Armitage family treating black people as trophies to be hunted. The deer also symbolizes helplessness, reflecting the vulnerable situations Chris and his family find themselves in throughout the film.
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Jordan Peele’s Get Out has a wealth of deeper, underlying themes, with a few being symbolized by the inclusion of a deer throughout the film. While Get Out was Peele’s first directorial effort, many would argue that it still has not been topped. The film is a taught, tense thriller centering on Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris who travels with his girlfriend Rose to the latter’s family home for the first time only to uncover a much darker, threatening conspiracy surrounding the Armitage family.
Given the film’s tackling of heavy themes like racial inequality and deep-rooted trauma, the film naturally includes plenty of symbolism that Peele uses for visual storytelling. This is a trait that has continued in Peele’s other movies like 2019’s Us and 2022’s Nope. By the time of Get Out‘s climactic ending, one of the more common symbols that repeatedly appears throughout the film is that of a buck or a deer. The recurrence of these specific animals has a much deeper meaning linking to Get Out‘s themes from Chris’ trauma to the exploration of racism Peele evokes throughout the film.
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Get Out’s Deer Connects To Chris’ Past Trauma
The first time a deer is properly seen in Get Out comes in the first act. As Chris and Rose are driving to the latter’s childhood home, a deer jumps out in front of their car. Chris finds the deer fighting for its life on the side of the road, something that deeply affects him yet does not seem to bother Rose all that much. The reason for this is revealed later in the film as Get Out further explores Chris’ past trauma.
After Chris and Rose reach the Armitage household, Rose’s mother Missy pressures Chris into undergoing hypnotherapy to get over his smoking habit. During this scene, it is revealed that Chris’ mother was killed in a hit-and-run when he was younger which he blames himself for as he did not call for help quick enough. As such, the deer earlier in the film represents Chris’ mother which explains why the event traumatizes Chris much more deeply than it does Rose.
What Else The Deer Means In Get Out
Aside from this meaning, the recurring appearances of deer and bucks in Get Out link to Peele’s exploration of racial inequality in American society. In post-Reconstruction United States, the term buck was used as a racial slur against African-American men who were deemed overly violent or rude. In Get Out, Rose’s father states that all deer should be killed and that he hates them, hinting at his underlying racism that comes to light by the film’s ending. This links to a buck’s head being mounted later in the film as Chris is imprisoned, linking to the idea that the Armitage family sees black people as mere trophies to be hunted.
Furthermore, the deer symbolizes helplessness in the film. From the helplessness Chris felt over his mother’s death which the deer also represents to the later helplessness Chris feels when he is imprisoned by the Armitage family, the deer highlights the seemingly defenseless situations Chris and his family have been placed in throughout their lives. All of this is brought to light in Get Out as a way for Peele to signify the deeper, much more meaningful quality of the film.