Analyse how the interaction between a hero and a villain reinforced or challenged your ideas about justice in the visual text.

As child we are only taught to see in black and white, good or bad. However as we know having grown up in such an advanced world, nothing is simple as that. ‘Crash’ reinforced my belief that the world is as corrupt and judgement as it ever was, yet it also challenged my tendency to judge a book by its cover so to say. In this case, the villain becomes the hero through his rocky personal journey. Officer John Ryan battles with struggles in his dad’s unpredictable health care system and long shifts on the job. All of this came together to form his journey which we follow through the movie and which challenges me while enforcing my initial ideas. 

Bad – BP1. When you hear the words Sexual Assault what comes to mind? When Officer Ryan sexually assaulted Christina Thayer on the sidewalk of a gloomy street in LA, many events were set in motion and the first thoughts of disgusting and bad, would be moved aside when we later find out the extent of the effects his actions had on Christina’s Life. Officer Ryan sparked a chain of events which ultimately led to a life threatening crash, and a lifetime of pain. The law enforcement is at the pinnacle of societal justice and are employed to enforce the restraint of crimes such as this. Yet in this instance it has granted the power for an evil man to be charge of his own offences and inflict pain on others from his position. The childhood belief in good and bad begins to fade as we enter the real the world and Officer Ryan is a symbol of a pure contrast between what is seen as good but bad lays just beneath the surface. This could be seen as an Allegory to the justice system, the soul influencer on the fate of billions of people, which is seen as the ultimate good yet corruption and illegitimate dealings lie so very close to the surface. 

Good – BP2. Officer John Ryan has battled with his father’s health care for years, and lose everything when the Black’s gained advantage through the new laws. His life had recently been ruled by loss and hardship and although this does not in anyway justify his actions but it gives a background to his actions. Having to deal with a racist and corrupt police force through his career he passes a sentiment of know ledge down to his young partner, “You think you know who you are? [Officer Hanson nods] You have no idea.” The world twists, chews and spits us out but it is how you recover that shows the true character. John Ryan, despite Christina screaming and swinging at him, he persists and saves her from her ticking time bombing, the burning gas tank above her. He dives back into the car after being pulled out, never giving up the slight chance he could save the life of  a woman who could ruin his own life. His journey from villain to hero from his true character yet as we leave him, he is shown from a low angle, with light beaming from behind him symbolizing a hero but his face telling a story of inner turmoil. Justice has been served to Christina but at what cost? Officer Ryan challenged me to see the best in people and the best in the justice system, a hope to believe that the ones that enforce the justice in our world can bring the best out in themselves and become the Hero. 

Challenge and Reinforce – BP3. My decision of the true character of John Ryan was continually challenging and reinforcing my view of the Justice System of today. On one hand, the initial experience of meeting John Ryan in a heated call, and then following him to a scene of sexual assault that he committed and came away clean from was too much. This confirmed all of my inner belief that the world is lead and controlled by corrupt people, and the justice system serves nothing but injustice to its citizens. Although, as the story line progressed and the light shone down on John Ryan as he became a hero, he also began to challenge me. The constant protrial of his heroism through the high lighting and low angles, showed a different side of John Ryan which got me thinking about the good side of people. If the world constantly assumes the worse, it will create the worst. 

Crash.

Analyse how a character or narrator’s fate was used to reinforce one or more themes in the visual text.

Everyday the world wakes and goes about their time, preforming actions which causes small ripples across society. We never really stop to consider the extent of the effects of our small, seemingly insignificant daily actions. The inability to consider this, has crafted an ignorant and alienated society. Paul Haggis, the director of the polarising visual text Crash, challenged his viewers by directing his character, Farhad, into bad fate as a result of others effecting her more significantly than they ever considered. The strong overhanging theme that Haggis believed that everybody’s lives are intertwined further enforced this.

BP 1 – The shop door break and break in.

BP 2 – His attempted murder of Daniel Ruiz’s Daughter, Lara. 

BP 3 – The racism and separation in LA.

BP 1 – Farhad only appears a selection of times throughout the movie but all appearances are influential in their own way. The scene with Daniel in his store is the set up for the series of events which occurs in the future. By fate, the two are brought together in Farhad’s shop over a broken door. A feeble argument breaks out among them and Farhad unleashes the bottled anger and pain from his own racial predicament on Daniel throwing racial insults at him. It is so ironic that despite Farhad knowing and feeling the pain of being discriminated, he continues to fuel the fire. The chain of mistreatment and discrimination runs through the world through the deep interconnection between our own lives with everyone elses and our actions become part of a larger scale more quickly than we could ever imagine. This small interaction was triggered into argument because of the past and will continue to affect the future as we see in the following scenes. 

BP 2 – A accumulation of anger and pain has lead Farhad down a dark path, to driveway of Daniel Ruiz’s home. A place he will never forget.

BP3 – It not a coincidence that the movie begins with Farhad being battered by derogative racial comments and identify being mistaken and disrespected. Farhad was confused with Arab terrorists despite being Persian, and was told to “plan a jihad on your own time.” This is was not accident by Haggis, the immediate confrontation of the immense racism which still evidently controls many grieving people in the wake of 9/11 is not avoided in the early stages of the movie. The magnitude of the effects following the actions of the humans behind the 9/11 attacks illustrates the theme explored by Haggis in Crash. Millions left distraught and shocked by the actions of a small group of people, a small group which shook the world. When scaled down to everyday life, we can imagine the spread of the effects of own actions. The racism and continual second class treatment from many people who likely did not think one then once about it, pushed Farhad into an attempt of murder. His fate was decide not by himself but the people around him who continually ruined his life. The people which he encountered did not know the full extent of their actions, but as the viewer we were able to follow and understand the effects they had on Farhad. 

Genesis and Catastrophe.

Genesis and Catastrophe.

Roald Dahl.

September 2018.

Short Story.

Roald Dahl is an author with the ability to create a story which however bizarre and unique it is, he is still able to create a love for his writing in his readers through his intelligent techniques and interesting relevance. This particular story is based on real events and is formed on a man’s beginning who many know little about despite knowing the name so well, Adolf Hitler. Dahl’s ability to command such strong feelings of sorrow and compassion for such an evil and hated man shows the extent to which he can expand his literary merits and the wonderful distinctness of his stories.

There are many distinctive features in the story, being the extensive use of dialogue, the use of outside knowledge to further engage the reader, and the overall plot twist. The short story is compiled mainly of dialogue, leaving the reader to decipher the deeper intentions of the words. Klara, the distressed mother who asks about the baby’s health so many times catches the reader’s feelings and due to her unfavourable past we feel deep sorrow and compassionate for her. Without Dahl’s selective choice of words we would not feel so deeply for her and his intention would not come through so throughly during the plot twist. With the abrupt reveal of the baby’s identity it is difficult to comprehend the full meaning of the revelation at first. Once it sets in as a reader I began to struggle with the flood of links and thoughts I had about Adolf Hitler and the immediate contrast to the thoughts I had about the innocent baby. As humans we are prone to judgement and negativity. The realisation that we as readers, can feel such sorrow for a terrible man brings us down to the roots of our humanity and really challenges our ability to disregard our prejudice defences and evaluate a person on account of their present being.

By the end I was left with mixed emotions as the harrowing short story disturbed and unsettled me. I wondered if Hitler was a product of his terrible upbringing, yet still struggled to feel any sympathy for such a man. While I did not particularly enjoy it, it gave me another insight into Dahl’s more unexplored writings as well as his character. Having grown up knowing and loving Roald Dahl’s playful and light-hearted humour in his children’s books, I went into this short story expecting something quite different to this dark and ominous piece. 


Sixteen trees of Somme.

Sixteen trees of Somme.

Lars Mytting. 

July 2018.

Novel.

Sixteen trees of Somme, a coming of age story set in remote Norway with a mystery intertwined through three generations of a family. Edvard, the protagonist, lost his parents under mysterious circumstances in France when he was a young boy. He grew up with his loving but reserved and reticent grandfather, and due to the nation which he fought for in the second world war, Edvard suffered continuous judgement and prejudice from the villagers throughout his childhood. In this storyline, Lars Mytting wrote a novel which revolves around a likeable and wholesome character, while still maintaining significant reference to modern society.  I enjoyed this novel primarily because I related strongly to this main character and his quest to find his place in the world.  

Edvard as a central character experienced and battled with milestones and difficulties which come hand in hand with coming of age and discovering ones central self. After the death of his grandfather, he set off on a journey to find his place among long lost family and within the wider world. Discovering one’s direction and intentions with our lives is a turmoil which as students we battle with as we near our later years of education. Following Edvard through his journey gave me hope and the urge to continue to strive for my own content. His story will undoubtedly spark the same reaction among others. The portrayal of Edvard felt honest and realistic, he was a young and fallible man who was unsure of himself, made mistakes and acted impulsively. He felt wholesome and although fictional, I became immersed in his predicament and willed for him to solve the mystery. The novel is set many years ago, but if we look forward to the 21st century to an age where personal relationships and interpersonal skills are falling to the blow of instant communication, and a life behind screens has become the norm. In this day and age, young adults still struggle with their own acceptance and place in society and new technology often seems to highlight and in some cases amplify their struggles.

The pace and meandering nature of the story was a subtle change to the usual fast paced novel on the bookshelf of a young reader like myself. While there was a continual undertow of urgency to solve the mystery, the author also provided space for the reader to develop an intimate relationship with Edvard. The language was also used to describe moods and places and was  emotive and perceptive. This often carried a subtle connection to wood and the craftsmanship of carving adding another satisfying layer to the reading experience. I found the idea of wood being at the centre of this mystery intriguing. It’s not something I’ve considered before and I was surprised by the value and reverence placed on rare and beautiful wood by different societies throughout history. The idea of uniquely grained walnut trees growing in Somme as a result of being soaked in the blood spilled during the war was disturbing. The death and suffering which leads to spilled blood is all as a result of futile wars which countries offer their young men up to fight for. These young protectors are fuelled by nationalism, anger and fear which seeps through many generations much like the walnut trees growing through these generations. The direct links to the great wars of the world have faded in my own society, yet the prejudice which lingers in our lives remains very present. As in Schlinder’s List, I myself had to challenge my prejudices of which I assumed the worst of the German people on account of the Nazi’s actions, and the people of Edvard’s village could not see past the family’s history and failed to judge Edvard for who he really is. Prejudice still exists in today’s society, as it is embedded in the nature of humans and this novel shows the receiving end of this hatred, in an interesting and different story. Mytting’s ability to formulate a unique story while still incorporating aspects of modern society which he used as a warning and call for attention around this issue is extremely pressing.

Who knew the significance of a walnut tree and a small town Norwegian boy could take the readers through an intriguing adventure and challenge its audience while maintaining a slow paced, detailed read. Mytting’s ability to craft a novel with such literary excellence and deeper meaning entails a more thorough appreciation of the writing.

‘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 three 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 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 an 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 futility of war and has truly inspired change which has been at the forefront of the new world.

As the world was bombarded with fast-paced 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 an 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 generation. The inability to have privacy plays among the concerns of many in the decade of video surveillance and internet. 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 a society which has indeed come upon us. The novel is not only an excellent 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 power, the history books show it has always been against the new enemy. 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 a government and most of our news is filtered down and twisted, what we receive is not always the whole truth. In an age where news can be published and viewed in seconds with minimal discretion masses of creates a swarm of fake news, manipulated media and a distorted cycle of information. Personally, current events of the larger world and societal changes interests me yet I have been discouraged by the less than legitimate news sources. ‘1984’ provides an insight into the extent which a society will go to alter the media in order to combat rebellion. This 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 own 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.