‘Crash’ background work.

2005, America is still reeling at the magnitude of the 9/11 attacks and racial debates were at an all time high. Middle eastern people were particularly suffering from the continuing discrimination on account of the terrorists  actions. In crash, the brutal racism can be seen towards Farhad, a Persian shopkeeper is the poster child for misplaced anger within the movie and helped to portray the aspect of anger and racial unsettlement at the time. 

Los Angeles is known for its ethnic diversity and being America’s 2nd largest populous city, millions of people all living in the sprawling metropolis of LA. Los Angeles, originally settled in and founded by Spanish, and won over in the Mexican war of Independence, evauntually being purchased by the US. 

1984

‘1984’ provided an engaging read and a great storyline but the underlying purpose served more important value for me as the reader. George Orwell’s insightful ideas offered another take on the twisted society which we live in and forced me to consider the core truths which I have never put under scrutiny. I would recommend this novel under the direction of reading between the lines and would encourage the reader to discover the ideas from Orwell’s intuitive prophecy.

“War is Peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” The citizens of Oceania have learnt to live by this 3 piece statement in the totalitarian society which they exist in. Headed by Big Brother and the Party, Winston Smith and millions of his fellow human beings live in continuing fear and ignorance where the past is continually altered and their private lives are under constant surveillance. George Orwell’s take on the future world sparked a re-evaluation of the importance of compromise in the context of conflict. The post war themes within the society of Airstrip One came about at a time of war and suffering and was still a open wound for many across the world. The direct approach to an apparent future for the reader undoubtedly caused them deep unsettlement. Orwell wrote the novel in hope of triggering deeper thought into the minimal value of war and has truly inspired change which has been at the forefront of the new world.

As the world was bombarded with fast pace technology and society as they knew it was falling down and being rebuilt by machines, Orwell was constructing a novel to combat and warn of apparent future which he saw the world descending into. Although the extreme society in which Winston lives in, some of the important aspects have been seen to develop into an issue for my upcoming generation. The inability to have privacy plays among the concerns of many of the decade of video surveillance and internet as a whole. I live with the knowledge of instant contact and the burden of being locatable around the clock and this extensive theme in 1984 was highlighted by Orwell as a warning of the society which has indeed come upon us. The novel is not only an excellence piece of literature but a warning, a prophecy which offers us a number of debates, philosophical thoughts and a critic to our society. 

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” The continual altering of the past, present and no doubt the future, builds a society of lies and dominance by ignorance to the truth. The consistent war which rages between the three superpowers appears to have always been between the current enemy yet when peace is found and war is waged with the other, the history books show it has always been against them. The truth is what the government determines it to and it is accepted as a core value of the Oceanic people. We also live under the rule of the democracy and most of our news is filtered down and twisted, what we receive is not always the truth. In an age where news can be published and viewed in seconds with minimal discretion creates a swarm of fake news, manipulated media and a distorted cycle of information. Personally, my interest in the current events of the larger world and societal changes interests me yet I have been discouraged by the less than legit-mate sources. ‘1984’ provides an insight to the extent which a society will go to alter the media in order to combat rebellion and doubt which leaves me in a position of uncertainty towards media in the present day and has encouraged me to engage further with the facts and highlight the lies within in my life.

Crash

First Thoughts.

  • Parallels and contrasts.
  • Talking about the racist whites of hollywood about the coffee and then the woman getting scared and then the proceed to steal the car.
  • Anthony always talking about stereotypes of blacks and then follows in his fellow footsteps.
  • Car headlights at the start. Car headlights in the middle indicating movement and fast pace.
  • Snow at the end, symbolism of peace and calm yet everyone’s lives turns upside.

Chris Haggis Interview.

  • The effect you can have on someone else life. Butterfly Effect. Directors Intention.
  • “We like to judge people” Paul Haggis
  • His aim was to polarize people, because when you polarize people you get them talking, and when they get talking it sparks a change.

Analyse how the use of language features shaped your response to one or more ideas in the visual or oral text. 

Idea of the butterfly effect showing the extensive effects of our actions through the use of Symbolism, Lighting, and Sound.

Quote Bank.

TKAM

“Hey, Mr. Cunningham. don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham? I’m Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one early morning, remember? We had a talk. I went and got my daddy to come out and thank you. I go to school with your boy. I go to school with Walter. He’s a nice boy. Tell him ‘hey’ for me, won’t you?” Scout, Outside the Jail. 

“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.” Sykes, Courtroom.

“Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” Scout, Radley Porch.

“Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets.” Miss Maudie, Maudie’s porch.

“Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays, and white men gambled in it on weekdays.” Author.

“Naw, Jem, I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” Scout, Jem’s Bedroom. 

“Don’t be silly, Jean Louise. The thing is, you can scrub Walter Cunningham till he shines, you can put him in shoes and new suit, but he’ll never be like Jem. Besides, there’s a drinking streak in that family a mile wide. Finch women aren’t interested in that sort of people.” Aunt Alexander, Finch’s home. 

“Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it…  There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.” Scout.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Atticus.

Atticus, he was real nice. . . .” His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them. Scout – Atticus.

“Cry about the simple hell people give other people—without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give coloured folks, without even stopping to think that they’re people, too.” Dolphus Raymond. 

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for, and they have the right to subject their children to it.” Judge Taylor.

Crash.

“Look at me. You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself.” Cameron Thayer.

“You weren’t afraid that all your good friends at the studio were gonna read about you in the morning and realise he’s actually black?” Christine Thayer.

“I am angry all the time… and I don’t know why.” Jean Cabot.

“Wait ’till you’ve been on the job a few more years. Look at me […] Look at me. Wait ’till you’ve been doing it a little longer.” Officer Ryan.

“Yo, Osama, plan a jihad on your own time. What do you want?” Gun store owner.

Setting – TKAM.

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks” This innocent view held by Scout Finch illustrates her pure, unchanged view on the people of her town which plays as as a complete contrast to that of the people’s views on each other. In the small town of Maycomb in 1930’s, the prejudice which runs through its veins controls the inhabitants and the direction of the novel. 

The Great Depression of the 1930’s is alluded to many times as it the backdrop of the novel. As a nation the U.S was dramatically effected by the depression, and the southern states were also living at the extreme loss of the time. Although Maycomb is a fictional town, the effects of the time period contributed to the setting and the prejudice within Lee’s creation. Scout narrates when discussing Atticus’s career that during the first five years of his practice in Maycomb, he “practiced economy more than anything”. Although the depression effected the wealth of the town as a whole, the social status’s remained intact and Jem describes to us the different families within Maycomb. “There’s four kinds of folks in the world. There’s the ordinary kind like us and the neighbours, theres the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells at the dump, and the Negroes.” The dislike between “one kind of people… and another kind of people” is only intensified by the desperate times of the depression. It is interesting to note that although the Ewells and regarded as “trash”, the blacks are discriminated against due to the colour of their skin. In a time of strict Jim Crow laws, blacks were only just recovering from a life of slavery and the prejudice embedded in the town is justified by these racist laws. The southern states are particularly known for their racial involvement and violence towards black’s and Lee uses Maycomb’s physical setting as a device to intensify the racism. This is seen in the mob arriving at Tom’s cell with only dark intentions and the bias trial. 

The immediate prejudice is not only seen the historical pretence of the setting, but thought the interactions of the characters towards Boo Radley. Despite having very little factual evidence against Boo, the town is quick to assume his guilt which shows the reader the nature of the people and the embedded prejudice which controls them. Boo is described as a monster by Jem, “six and a half feet tall, he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch… a long jagged scar ran across his face and his teeth were yellow and rotten”. Although Jem describes Boo as the childhood monster of our nightmares, the older, more intelligent adults of the town also considered him “strange”. Very little is actually known about Boo’s nature until he is slowly revealed to us as the kind caring saviour of the children through his small acts of kindness, the gifts in the tree and sewing Jem’s pants, and set in concrete by his courage to defend the children from Ewell. The town is quick to judge Boo on the rumours which they have heard and Lee is establishing the nature of the society in the 30’s and the nature which still exists today. The setting of Maycomb is only a catalyst to the prejudice which surrounds Boo as the social hierarchy and racist Jim Crow laws implement a culture of prejudice.  

The setting of 1930’s Maycomb provides the ideal environment for prejudice to occur and thrive. The culture that has arisen from years of racism, slavery, social standings, and sexism creates a town in the Southern states of America where a man is wrongly convicted according to his race. Lee in writing the novel was telling the reader the problems the world faced and through symbols such as Boo Radley, connected her story to the world at time in need of desperate change. 

TKAM revision.

Analyse how the experiences of one or more characters were used for a particular purpose. 

Scout

Innocence and development. 

Purpose

Highlight prejudice. 

Examples

Paragraph 1: Racism, Tom’s court case.

Paragraph 2: Sexism, Aunt Alexander treatment of Scout, her brother, “Aunt Alexander was fanatical on the subject of my attire”

Paragraph 3: Class prejudice, Walter.

Analyse the connection between the setting and one or more themes. 

Setting

Maycomb, Southern states of American in the 1930’s. Jim Crow laws, segregation.

Theme – Prejudice

Paragraph 1: Racism 

Paragraph 2: Class separation

Paragraph 3: Sexism 

Examples

Theme – Prejudice

Paragraph 1: Historical Maycomb itself

Paragraph 2: Social Sexist Racist

Paragraph 3: Physical, Town layout, segregation. 

Analyse how supposedly insignificant events or details revealed one or more significant themes. 

Boo Radley, shows how readers jump on the bandwagon to easily judge people. Lee used Boo as a underlying device to make a symbol of prejudice itself.

Boo

Events associated to him presented theme of prejudice.

Paragraph 1: Pants.

Paragraph 2: Fire and Blanket.

Paragraph 3: The gifts in the hole of the tree. 

Prejudice

Paragraph 1: Walter in class.

Paragraph 2: Dolphus Raymond.

Paragraph 3: Aunt Alexander’s tea party.

Analyse how one or more ideas in the text served as a warning to readers.

Setting: Maycomb 1930’s. Divison, Segregation, Multiple levels of prejudice. 

Warning: Highlight Lee’s intention of not judging to be free of prejudice.

Examples:

BP1 – Town itself and social context of the 30’s.

BP2 – Court house.

BP3 – School.

Schindler’s List.

Otto Burrows

Schindler’s List.

Visual.

Steven Spielberg

May 2018.

Schindler’s List addresses one of the most prominent problems in the history of civilization in an intriguing perception of one man’s ability to make an impact and the triumph of humanity. I was continually confronted by my prejudice of the German citizen’s and throughly enjoyed being unsettled by this portrayal of a German saviour which I have never considered before. The message was even more compelling for me considering it is based on a true story. The film follows Oskar Schindler, war profiteer and member of the Nazi party through his unexpected transformation in the Second World War and his mission to save the Jew’s through his above the law factory, created by under the table deals and at the hand of a outrageous con.  Spielberg’s portrayal of Oskar Schindler impacted me as Liam Neeson’s award winning performance inspired feelings which had only been briefly explored by other directors takes on the Nazi era. The directors ability to manipulate and completely alter my feeling towards a character through his redeeming acts of humanity startled me. In an era where humanity was almost all but lost, the transformation of Oscar Schindler spun a tale of hope and happiness without disregarding the brutal facts of the Nazi reign. In a war situation, looking from the outside it is easy to demonise a whole race on account of the actions are a small number of them. One of the intents of the director was to show a personal perceptive and illustrate the humanity which one still portrays. This movie as a whole and this core theme has caused me to reconsider my prejudices and remember that there is many different lives within the war zone. A daily occurrence of new news figures no longer fly past my ears as unemotional facts of war. Now I begin to consider the people within the stories and how their lives are being effected and the choices they are being forced to make in order to survive.  My prejudices being confronted made me wonder what I would do if I were in Schindler’s brave shoes. It tests our humanity and illustrates what it takes as strong individual to step up and fight for each other at such a dangerous and controversial time. It helps to understand how people can be submitted into following terrible orders and forgetting their values. This concept of conforming to the easiest option unsettles me as their is so many that just accept this concept, whereas I try to live as the sole opposition to this. I believe the directors intent was to show the transformation of Schindler due to his humanity overwhelming him but also unintentionally illustrating the concept of conforming , only adding to my personal liking and sincere recommending of this film.

What it is like to be white.

White Privilege: The hidden benefits. 

Robert Consedine.

Short Story. 

August 2018.

What it is like to be white. The colour of your skin and the genes you inherit still largely determine the course of your life, not as a direct cause but years of advantage and superiority through which we, as the white race, own the playing field. In the short text by Robert Consedine, its confrontational take on the racism continually faced by the minority group in our country made me consider my value in society because of my skin and the expectations many have of me. 

Many years before us, our ancestors invaded this country and stripped the native inhabitants ( the Maori ) of their pride, culture, land, freedom and their language. Despite the world we live in claiming to have righted all wrongs and obtained an even playing field, it is impossible to accomplish this as the feild is already owned by the white. This is both ironic and confronting as white are embedded in the legal, racial and general systems and statistically own most of the land. Through years of prejudice, white are initially judged as superior to our coloured counterparts. This leaves predicament to myself and many other white peers which love and appreciate the roots of our country and its original inhabitants. Reading ‘White Privilege’ a piece which explored the nature of white privilege and how “these systematic structural benefits remain invisible to most Pakeha” expanded my awareness of the ignorance which surrounds us. Within the piece Robert cites an article he read which refers to white privilege as a “knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, codes, tools, blank checks.” An interesting explanation which as white male I relate to and whom is able to redeem my advantages daily while Maori have to fight to obtain my givens. Consedine states that in order to further expand the debate we have to have sufficient knowledge of the origins invisible system.  I also believe that White Privilege is the ignorance of the given advantage we benefit from on a daily basis.

Shawshank Redemption

Otto Burrows.

The Shawshank Redemption.

Stephen King.

Visual.

28/06.

Stephen King’s time captiving movie explores many themes and issues in its extended take on Andy Dufresne’s time in Shawshank Prison and unravels the events leading to his elaborate escape to the “outside world”. Within Andy’s years of prison, despite being innocent, he learns all of the hard lessons of life including corruption and murder and yet also learns the value of friendship and puts his great mind to use, evenuntuating in his escape. We follow Andy through his time with Red and friends, through moments of despair and triumph, to end on a lovely beach in Mexico where Andy and Red start their life on the outside, again.

The most prominent reason why I enjoyed the movie so thoroughly is that I formed a thorough connection to Andy Dufresne and was wholeheartedly drawn in to his plight. In the opening scenes, we are left with an unbalanced opinion of Andy, torn between the urge to believe in him but feel the undertug of hate and prejudice surrounding an accused murderer. As we follow him through his time at Shawshank Prison, we begin to know and like his character. I was drawn to his intellect, but at the same time was intrigued by his silence.  Towards the end of the film, as Warden Norton rips the poster off the wall to reveal the escape tunnel, he rips off the cover on our ignorance and I felt overwhelming satisfaction that he had finally escaped. This fitting justice for his life of injustice added to my enjoyment. I like the sentiment that although life may get you down, you’ve got to just “get busy living” as there is always light at the end of a dark tunnel.

I would recommend because among the profanity and dark moments, the importance of hope and persistence shines through the prison grit, and combined the great storytelling feel, a great classic is made which I highly recommend everybody to take the time to watch. The factors which add to excellence of this movie, are the small things that are aimed at your subconscious mind and in turn add up to become the movie we know and love. The first, which I believe to be one of the most important, is the role selection. Andy Dufresne of the movie and the chilling courtroom scene to the innocence or guilt of the “chilling and remorseless” man portrayed at first. Yet as the movie progresses, we are shown a different side of Andy and begin to like him as quiet, calculated person that he has always been. This is portrayed by Tom Robbins in his cold set face and nicely trimmed hair which fades to the harden man approaching his fifties which escapes Shawshank Prison. Parallel to this, Red, played by Morgan Freeman, is also very well casted as his character plays to strength of the strong, smart black man which we know and loved throughout his acting career. Red, the older figure within the group plays along with the wise, evenly spoken Morgan Freeman seen in many other movies. I believe this, along with the engaging storyline, contributes to the movie which is watched and loved by millions, and the movie which I highly recommend to you.

Andy’s conviction was based on a slight lack of evidence and a pre-decided opinion on this “killer” tipped him over the edge into the guilty pit. The failure of the justice system challenges my childhood assumption of the black and white contrast between good and bad. Andy is a good man who was “as straight as an arrow” on the outside yet he was convicted. This is a deeply unsettling thought which makes me think about my ignorance to this issue. All my life I have driven by Mount Eden prison and have never once given more than a second thought on what it is like inside. News recently has been focused on gang violence in prisons not so far from home and this movie has opened my eyes to this. A window through to a different world, I have never considered how terrifying and overwhelming it would be to be sent to prison for a crime I did not commit. It reminds of the same feeling which stirred deep down while reading To Kill A MockingBird, where a black man was accused of a rape he did not commit. These brings forth personal dilemma and provides further engagement and emotional attachment to the characters and movie.  

As an Allegory, Prison could be compared to the school playground that we as kids mingled in. The social hierarchy of society can be seen in prison as the men held inside are reduced to following instructions and forget how to live for themselves, much the same to our childhoods as we were not yet old enough to think sufficiently for ourselves. Prison reduces a man to his primal life and due to constant violence, could be doing more to hinder these men than heal. I believe that these harsh lessons can be learnt in the playground through bullying and the apparent nature of maturing kids and this helped me connect to the characters and life in the setting through an largely innocence link to early childhood. As a child, most of us will have experienced another child pick on us and know the feeling with accompanies it. By drilling down to this feeling, King hit a nerve for me. As Andy was bullied and battered I felt I needed to help him and stick up for him as others had not for me. This only embellished my liking of Andy and heighten the pinnacles of the film. I propose that many other viewers may have connected with the visual text in the same manner and many more will experience this, which leads me to highly recommend this outstanding piece of visual viewing.

I really enjoyed the movie as although I have never experienced a life event which has drastically changed my future, it is thoroughly interesting following Andy as he spends his years in Shawshank and learn as he is faced with violence, prejudice and hardships. Although Andy had been done so wrongly by the world, he did not carry any resentment to his peers and showed very little signs of prejudice. In recent years “the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry” and we now need to take a step back and appreciate people for who they are. I believe that if we follow in Andys footsteps and learn not to judge people on pre decided opinions and assumptions, the world would be a significantly better place for everybody.

To Kill A Mockingbird.

In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, there are many ideas which give the reader insight into the lifestyle of the 1930s and of the ideas of racism and prejudice formed by the human nature of “being normal”. There is also the idea of change and social reform expressed through Atticus, who goes against the nature of the town and challenges the social boundaries. In this essay I intend to explain the links between these ideas to human nature and explore why Harper Lee chose to include these ideas in her novel.

Atticus is at the pinnacle of social reform and with his closing speech at the courtroom he presents the reader further insight into the depths of his determination for change. “This case is as simple as black and white” summises Atticus in his speech to the jury challenging them to consider their racial and moral values.  He asks them to choose black over white as the case “ requires no minute sifting of complicated facts” and the facts are undoubtedly pointing to the innocence of Tom Robinson. This blatant defiance of the unspoken racism in the community sets Atticus apart from his peers. For many, this paints a target on his back, an invitation for criticism or revenge in the case of Bob Ewell.  Despite this, many also respect his actions as “some men in this world… were born to do our unpleasant jobs”. Atticus’ actions create a spark of realisation that change is required as “he was the man who will do what’s right when the world is saying he is wrong” ( David Von Drehle).

Racism. Prejudice. Segregation. These three vices bind the black and coloured communities to a life of hardship and inequality and Lee choses to explore this idea in relation to the citizens of Maycomb. This idea has strong links to the human nature of following the crowd and the inability to go against the beliefs of our upbringing and surroundings. The basis of the novel is to show the people of the 30s the injustice that underpins and controls their society. It was an effort to plant the seed in their minds that one person who can navigate through the mist of discrimination can make a break in the outdated rituals and beliefs. Atticus Finch, represents the one needed to bring change into motion through his acts of selflessness and level-minded view of his broken community. This is seen when Scout approaches him asking if he really is a “nigger-lover”, “I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody” Atticus was quick to reply showing his liberal view on an equal society. As the book progresses we follow Jem as he transitions into manhood and as his body and mind changes, there is also notable change in his perception of racism. “Scout… you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!” Jem comments with noticeable immaturity, yet chapters down the track he makes the insightful observation that “around here once you have a drop of Negro blood, that makes you all black.” Jem is able to take himself out of his skin and reflect on the small-minded attitudes of the citizens of Maycomb. Lee describes the book as a recreation of her childhood town and created a story which she hopes to motivate the readers to question their own ways and set off a chain reaction which would eventually result in the formation of more equal society.

Mockingbird, a symbol of innocence and purity which is subtly inwoven throughout the text with links to characters, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley as they share common ground in multiple ways. They both have been shadowed by a story which has ruined their lives despite their obvious qualities of goodwill. The symbolism of the mockingbird ties into the title “To Kill a MockingBird” which has a deeply literal connection to the main event of the novel, Tom Robinson’s trial and death. The representation of innocence through the Mockingbird characters shows these men of the jury are willing to kill innocence itself in the name of pride and status. In the novel, Atticus tells Jem and Scout that “it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird” as “they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us”  and to kill a mockingbird is in essence to kill innocence and purity at its origin. The aspect of human nature which is linked to the symbol of the Mockingbird is basic innocence and purity. All humans begin as innocent and pure as each other and their upbringing and surroundings determine the person they become. These characters have tough and unforgiving upbringings and hard lives yet they still display the qualities of a Mockingbird, it is clear their human nature strongly determines their personality.

These main ideas help the reader and the book’s extended audience to develop an in-depth view of a small community in the 1930s and how it’s ideas of prejudice play such an influential role in the citizens’ lives, especially that of the black and coloured people. Lee uses her ideas of change and reform of her known society woven in with multiple aspects of human nature to create this powerful novel. To Kill a Mockingbird very effectively communicates Lee’s forward thinking beliefs which arguably instigates a new era of people which give deeper thought into their societies and ultimately has a role in the equal rights of the 21st century.