changing self

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Through the study of Sally Morgan’s My Place, the documentary Captain Sarah’s Odyssey, The Door by Miroslav Holub and Chain of Hearts by Maureen McCarthey my ideas on changing self have developed and changed. I have realised that in order to change you need love and support from friends and family and that sometimes people need to change who they are in order to obtain their dreams/ goals. Sometimes a tragic and unexpected event can cause a person to change themselves. These ideas are represented through the use of various techniques such as humour, dialogue, poetic devices and sound techniques.

My Place by Sally Morgan is an autobiography/ biography in which we see Sally change several times throughout the book. Because Sally herself writes the book, we also see how Sally’s feelings and thoughts change. At the beginning of the book, we see how Sally frequently truanted from school. This is generally a bad thing but at times her mother encourages it. In these circumstances, we are shown the humorous side of Sally’s family because parents do generally not encourage this type of behaviour. Humour is regularly used throughout this novel to help lighten situations and give the reader a deeper insight into the family. Humour also helps to break up tense situations and because of this we are able to witness how the family reacts to situations with humour when many of the times the situations are actually quite serious. This humour that the family share allows them to grow closer to one another so they are able to cope with difficult situations.

An example of when humour is used in a difficult situation is when Sally’s Nan hoses down the children when a fire is threatening to burn the houses down. This is quite a serious and dangerous situation that shouldn’t have been taken lightly but the fact that Sally’s Nan automatically hoses down the children is quite humorous and causes the children less worry. “......Nan would line us all up and squirt us down with water.” The reader is surprised by Nan’s reaction but they are also able to smile at how naive Nan is to think that simply hosing down the animals and children would save them from being burnt.

The use of humour in the story gives a different entry point into the theme of changing self. All of the other entry points are serious and emotional so this technique stands out in the novel. Humour provides a simple link to changing self that everyone can relate to in a sense. It shows that in order to change the person you are, you need love to encourage the change. Without love there would be no humour and laughter in Sally’s family and Sally wouldn’t be able to change in the ways that she did.

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The idea that love is needed in order to change is also represented in both Captain Sarah’s Odyssey and Chain of Hearts.

In Chain of Hearts the main character Sophie changes who she is drastically after a car accident where she killed her boyfriend Mihn. Sophie became withdrawn from her family and stayed in her bedroom where she constantly ate, causing herself to become overweight. The reason for this initial change was the accident, which left Sophie mentally scared. It was only when she was sent to her aunt’s place that she began the slow and painful recovery to a person that was bubbly and happy with whom she was. The only reason this final change occurred was because her family and new friends showed her love and support as well as understanding and encouragement. This novel once again developed my ideas on changing self as it showed that tragic events can change a person and that love and support can help in the healing and eventual change back to the person they were.

In the television documentary Captain Sarah’s Odyssey, the idea of love being a part of changing one’s self is represented many times throughout. Not only did Captain Sarah have the love of her family but she also had the love of her friends to help deal with her choices. While Sarah talks about changing from male to female the music in the background is soft and gentle which gives the viewer the idea that Sarah’s changing was helped and supported by the love that surrounded her. This same music is used again when Sarah talks about Andrew Duncan. Andrew was a “street kid” that Sarah helped by showing him that someone did love and care for him even if it wasn’t a family member. With help from Sarah Andrew was able to stay off alcohol and stop committing crimes. The music used in this documentary is very emotional and therefore arouses the emotions of the viewer. It also makes sure that the viewer is feeling the correct emotions at that point in the program.

Another sound technique used in the program is the use of sound effects. When Sarah is taking about the building of the ship, there are industrial noises in the background. This technique helps in reinforcing what Sarah is talking about and also enhances the messages that are sent to the viewers as it makes the documentary seem more interesting. By drawing the readers into the program by the use of different sound techniques, we are able to understand the messages easier and they also appeal to us better so we are able to see clearer that love and support is needed in order to change one’s self.

The way the dialogue is set gives an indication that the documentary is set as an interview. Dialogue allows everyone to connect with Sarah as it helps us see deeper into her thoughts and feelings because we hear her story from her. Using this technique allows Sarah to describe everything the way she wants, which means she can easily change the messages that are sent out to the viewer.

Dialogue is the most frequently used technique in My Place and is also one of the most important techniques. It shows the reader how the characters in the book talk and interact with each other and it also lets the characters express themselves. This allows the reader to paint a picture of each of Sally’s friends and family members. It also allows each person in the novel to give a personal account or idea. This allows the reader to get to know each character and in turn relate to them in their own ways. Because the language used in this novel is a mixture of English as well as Aboriginal it adds interest to the book because not many people have had the experience of listening or reading any type of Aboriginal language. It helps in giving the novel a sense of authenticity. Because dialogue is used so often it allows the reader to sympathise and eventually empathise with Sally and her family, which also helps to enhance the ideas of changing self.

Poetic devices are used inThe Door, which was written by Miroslav Holub. The use of repetition in this poem helps to reinforce the ideas of changing self in this poem. An example of repetition includes “Go and open the door”. The poem gives the reader the idea that in order to change yourself you have to “open the door”. The door is a symbol of opening up to opportunities when they come along. The composer is trying to persuade the other person in the poem to open the door. By having the door closed it is a symbol of the person being closed-minded and afraid of new things that could arise. When the door is finally opened, new situations are experienced and the fog of doubt is cleared up. The composer is trying to tell the responder that you should open the door and be open to all of the possibilities and new things that will come after the door is opened. At first there might be a fog that is our doubt but this will eventually clear and we will be able to see all of the future possibilities that lay before us.

In conclusion, the study of My Place, Chain of Hearts, Captain Sarah’s Odyssey and The Door have helped to expand and develop my ideas on changing self through the range of techniques used throughout the range of sources.

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