6th November 2017

Significant Connections

Significant connections essay
The Rabbit Proof Fence

In the film “The Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, the main character, Molly Craig displays the sacrifices and risks that come along with the confidence and leadership she must have to survive in the wild.

An aspect of survival was presented when Molly and her two sisters, Gracie and Daisy, were escaping to Jigalong after being held in Moore River camp. A close-up shows Molly cleverly deciding to wear socks on her feet and walking on rocks while she carries her two sisters to prevent Moodoo, the tracker, from finding their tracks. The film then shows Moodoo following Molly’s footprints followed by a low angle shot as he secretly smiles, realising the trick the girls have made. Molly teaches Moodoo that she would take any risk for the safety of her sisters, and that she has the undying determination to fight for the freedom that she deserves. This inspires him because he knows the feeling of being trapped, the only difference being that molly actually has the courage to escape. Moodoo then lies to the constable that he doesn’t know where the girls have gone, “she pretty clever that girl. She wants to go home.” This scene shows the audience that to survive in the wild while being chased, exhausted and malnourished, Molly had to have an extreme amount of courage and hope to get through the struggles and challenges she had to face on her journey. Having Courage was an important reason of why molly made it back to Jigalong since courage allowed her to develop a sense of certitude and leadership that pushed her and daisy to success.

A second aspect of survival in the film, “The Rabbit Proof Fence,” was shown when Molly and Daisy just returned to Jigalong after months of being taken. Molly runs towards her grandma where she is held in a tight embrace. She cries “i lost one. I lost one,” referring to losing Gracie. A mid-shot presents the full-cast village woman painting the faces and bodies of the girls in the darkness. They use Charcoal to smother Molly and Daisy to insure the police that they look like full-cast aboriginals. The village woman then repetitively stroke the faces and shoulders of the girls as a sign of affection as they are relieved that they are home. This precious moment shows the audience that in order to survive you need to set a goal to motivate yourself, molly’s biggest motivation was her family. Molly presents this ambition when she was walking through the desert along the rabbit proof fence, scared that she may be captured. Molly had flashbacks of life back home and thought of her mother and spirit bird. This made Molly determined and gave her the strength she needed to get back home, for if she didn’t neither her or daisy would’ve survived. As an example, in one scene when Gracie wanted to take a risky shortcut molly strictly says  “if they see us,they’ll catch us….we’re nearly there”.

Nobody could change Molly’s courageous decisions because she was so sure of herself, and that’s what saved her.

Touching the void

In the text “Touching The Void” by Joe Simpson, simon and joe showcase survival in many forms while they climb the west face of siula grande. Joe presents to us that in order for him to survive he must be tougher than his circumstances and use his experience and skill to overcome obstacles.

An aspect of survival in “Touching the Void” was Joe making goals and personal challenges when he was six miles away from base camp and struggling to keep pushing himself until he reached the glacier. Joe had voices in his head urging and controlling him to do things that would push him to survive. “It was like there were two minds within me arguing the toss. The voice was clean and sharp and commanding. It was always right, and i listened to it when it spoke and acted on its decisions. The other mind rambled about a disconnected series of images.” “The voice,and the watch, urged me into motion…i kept moving…the voice told me to reach that point in half an hour. I obeyed. Sometimes i found myself slacking..i was told that i must reach the prescribed point in time.” Joe was committed to the idea of reaching the finish line, even though the journey was long and painful physically, emotionally and mentally. So when he felt too dehydrated to keep hopping rocks, the voice, the watch and time setting became as crucial as his good leg when it came to surviving. Joe showed us that in his situation it was vital to set goals and to believe that there was a reward at the end to persuade him to carry on.

In this scene of “Touching The Void” Joe empowered himself to get back to comfort and safety from being cut from the rope. After aggravating days of severe pain from walking on his broken leg, Joe finally made it back to base camp due to his strong amount of courage and commitment. Joe’s scene can be compared to a scene in the visual text “The Rabbit Proof Fence”. This is presented when Molly sacrificed and risked her and her sister’s safety to get back home to jigalong after escaping from Moore river. Molly and Joe both present ideas of eminence courage and bravery by doing any means possible to survive and return home.

Another example of survival was shown when Joe was hung suspended over the cliff’s edge by a rope while simon had to keep him from falling and was slowly slipping. This was presented when Simon said “i couldn’t hold the weight much longer.” Simon  had to make a decision that could cost both his and joe’s lifes. Although the pressure was high from risking his friends life, simon came to the agreement with himself that he would cut the rope to save himself without hesitation.“i kept stamping my feet. I was trying to halt the collapse of the seat but it wasn’t working. I felt the shivers of fear…i can’t hold it, can’t stop it. God i had to do something.” “the knife. The thought came out of nowhere. Of course, the knife. Be quick, come on get it.” This shows the importance of making quick and logical decisions even when in harsh conditions. Simon knew that in any survival situation he had to choose himself first though the consequences could be severe. Simon teaches us to become our first priority when our circumstances are strict because you have to ensure your own safety before anyone else’s.

A Girl Like Her

In the film “A Girl Like Her” directed by Amy S. Weber, survival was shown in so many forms by so many different characters. Jessica Burns, Brian and the Burns family, present to us the importance of empowerment and affection through hard times, whether it’s your physical, mental or emotional state that is in jeopardy.

One of the many aspects of survival featured in “A Girl Like Her” was when Jessica attempted suicide in her bathroom by overdosing on pills. A mid-shot shows the reflection of jessica in a mirror as she swallows a handful of pills while crying in small bursts. Two hours later her mum walks into the bathroom to find jessica unconscious, she runs to her side and shakes Jessica frantically hoping she would wake up. “What have you done?! What have you done?! What have you done?!” her mother whimpered repeatedly when she found the empty pill container on the floor. shortly after, Jessica was rushed through the hospital on a stretcher with a worm’s eye view of her mother and the doctors looking over her as they quickly push her through the corridors. “16 year old female, overdosed on hydrocodone, 750 milligrams, her vitals are very low, 80 over 40, she’s been unconscious for two hours.”  Her mother, Mrs Burns is heard screaming unintelligible phrases and the doctor’s shouting to each other show the teamwork that is needed in this particular survival situation. Though Jessica’s family was mentally and emotionally unprepared, they stuck together to keep each other’s strengths up and also tried to maintain their daily routine to keep a normal life for their younger daughter. This scene presents the idea of teamwork, partnership and union of the people who were there to support not only Jessica, but the family and friends who were deeply affected by the tragedy.

The idea of teamwork and partnership in this scene in “A Girl Like Her”, family, friends and doctors unite to make sure Jessica will wake up from her coma. This moment can be compared to a scene in the visual text in “The Rabbit Proof Fence” when Molly and Daisy returned to Jigalong after escaping from Moore River. The native Aboriginal women of the village repeatedly caressed and stroked the two girls, happy they had returned. As a team, the women proceeded to cover Molly and her sister with black charcoal to give them a full caste aboriginal appearance, so they wouldn’t be taken back to Moore River. Both scenes of the films show the importance and need of teamwork, Jessica’s peers and the village women of jigalong both present ideas of teamwork to overcome the odds in their survival situations.

The second aspect of survival was shown When it is learnt that Jessica slipped into a coma, her parents tried to stay strong to support the rest of the family. One of the times this is presented is when Mr Burns is in the kitchen making dinner and trying to resume a normal routine when his youngest daughter gabriella walks in crying and sobs “can i tell you something….i’m just scared”. A close up shot displays the two in a tight hug, while Mr Burns tries not to tears up as he comforts his daughter to assure her everything will be okay. He then says, “We’re gonna get her home soon okay, and we’ll all do something fun together. you shouldn’t worry”. Shortly after Gabbie walks out of the room Mr Burn’s face turns scarlet and he starts crying. This scene shows that in this survival situation, it was important that the emotionally stronger characters assisted the weaker ones, hence Mr Burns pretending that he wasn’t struggling, so it looked like Jessica was fine and would come home. Throughout the whole time Jessica was in a coma, the Burns family stuck together and empowered each other, because recovery can be an individual experience but if you’re not emotionally strong enough you may need the empowerment and love.

Soul Surfer

In the film “Soul Surfer” directed by Sean McNamara, survival was shown by the main character, Bethany Hamilton, and her family and friends when Bethany had her arm bitten off by a shark in a surfing accident. The characters in the film showed ideas of bravery when accepting fate and differences by having to learn to adjust and live with them.

The first aspect of survival shown was when Bethany suffered from injury after a shark attack while surfing, on a day at the beach with her friends Holt, Byron and Alana. An underwater worms eye view of Bethany and Alana lying on their surf boards is presented against eery music and splashing sounds. This scene shows the audience that something bad is about to happen, leaving the viewer on edge with anticipation about what will happen next. A low angle shot shows Bethany being dragged under water from her arm by a shark. Blood dyes the water in red plumes as she clings onto her board, and haunting music intensifies as the shark bites her arm viciously. “We need to get her to the beach, just get her to the beach” Byron screams as the others swim Bethany to shore. He then takes his shirt off and wraps it around Bethany’s wound to stop the blood loss and runs up the beach to call an ambulance. A mid shot is used to show Alana, Holt and Byron carrying Bethany on her surf board to the ambulance as if it was a stretcher. Deep music accompanied by dark chanting is heard as Bethany is lifted to the truck. Byron shows the idea of leadership in tough circumstances through quick and careful decision making.

Byron’s actions in this scene where he makes quick yet educated decisions like calling an ambulance and bandaging Bethany’s wound shows courage and commitment. This scene can be compared to a scene in “Touching The Void” where Simon has to make the quick and rapid decision to cut the rope on Joe as he was pulling him to death. Both Joe and Byron experience the role of being in charge and making quick, accurate decisions under an immense amount of pressure.

The second aspect of survival in Soul Surfer is when Bethany recovers from hospital and is sent home. In this scene she has to relearn everything she has been taught that requires using two arms. Simple and everyday life things Bethany used to do like preparing food, playing the ukelele and surfing now became a struggle that she had to face. A mid shot shows Bethenny and her family in the kitchen making lunch after coming back from hospital. She tries desperately to resume life as if nothing happened by helping her mum slice tomatoes, but struggles and drops vegetables onto the floor. In a close up shot, Cheri, Bethany’s mother quickly assigns her to another job to make her feel included and most importantly “normal”. Bethany tries hopelessly to open a loaf of bread but finds it hard without the help of her left hand, her family stays supportive by sympathising and doing small jobs for her, in hope she would feel better about herself. In another scene Bethany is in her room for the first time since leaving the hospital. She picks up her ukelele and breaks down crying as she realises she has no hope of doing small things she used to do daily. In a mid shot her mother walks into the room and wraps her in a tight hug to remind Bethany that she will always be the same person she always has been and that she doesn’t love her any less. Throughout Bethany’s recovery journey her family and friends were amazingly supportive, trying to make her life a little easier and making her feel less abnormal. Her mother comforted her at hard moments, and her father redesigned her surf board so that she could compete in surfing competitions again. Bethany’s brothers stood up for her against paparazzi so she could have her privacy and her friends continued spending time with her as if nothing had changed. From this moment in the film we learn that to emotionally and mentally survive in this situation, teamwork in these tough circumstances help build trust, confidence and strength. Bethany’s family and friends came together as a team to build her back to the person she used to be, and changed her perspective on her disability.

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About Mrs Waide

Teacher of English at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, New Zealand.

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