Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mean Creek Essay #2

Question: describe how the beginning and end of the film are connected

The beginning and end of the film Mean Creek directed by Jacob Aaron Estes is connected through two main events and scene's. By connecting the beginning and end of the film it helps to unify and give a sense of a completed cycle within the storyline.

The connection between the beginning and end of the film is shown in the very first scene, George turns on his video camera to film himself playing basketball this symbolizes the start of the film. By using this visual technique we are seeing life in George's perspective which helps the viewer to see his point of view. This scene is connected to the final scene when the detectives discover George's camera after he has drowned. "The inside of my mind has a zillion things about it but... people that don't see inside of my mind don't know there are a zillion things and... Y'know, since no one sees inside my mind, no one really knows". The final scene ends with George turning off his camera this symbolises his death and the end of the film. These two scene's show a connection, they both use the same visual technique to start and end the film through the turning on and off of George's camera . Mean Creek starts and ends with a close up shot of George through the view of his camera so we are seeing the situation from his perspective. By the director connecting the beginning and end of the film it gives the viewer the sense of a completed cycle, as it ends the same as it started. I think it is very clever how the director does this as it show thought on how he wants the viewers to perceive, and what he wants the viewers to take away from the film, it gives the film more meaning and emphasizes the moral.

Another connection between the beginning and the end of film, is through the two scene's in Sam & Rocky's bedroom before and after George's death. In the beginning the room is shown with a carefree vibe, it is well lit, up beat music in the background and games being played whilst Rocky is calling George as part of their prank "he said he would love to come".After George's death the film returns to Sam and Rocky's room, this shows a connection to the scene described earlier as the film is returning to the same setting where the revenge plan was put in place, this is a major turning point.Physically the room is still the same, but there is a change in the vibe as characters have all come to a guilty realisation of the effect of their actions, this gives a very tense atmosphere. Change in atmosphere shown by a change in lighting it has now become darker, the music has slowed and the use of static camera movement .By doing this it helps show the the major change and loss of innocence in the characters by being able to see them before and after George's death, in the same setting of Sam and Rocky's room this helps viewers to compare "we can never be forgiven for what we did". A connection like this is very useful in showing the consequences of the accident, as we are able to see effects of the George's death on each character individually. The director has used this technique well as it clearly shows the changes in the characters so we are able to see them before and after George's death which makes it easier to compare and understand for viewers.

In conclusion the connection of the beginning and end of the film are shown in two main events and scene's. Connection is shown by the beginning of the film starting with George turning on his camera and ending with him turning it off, this is a connection as the same visual technique is used. Beginning and end of Mean Creek is connected also by the before and after scene's of George's death in Sam and Rocky's bedroom. This shows as connection as it is the exact same setting but with a major atmospheric change. This setting is also where the decisions for turning point occur, the decision to get revenge and the decision to come clean. Jacob Aaron Estes ties the end back to the beginning as it gives a sense of a completed cycle which is a well thought out way to end a film.

By LilyRose Dyer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is New Zealand Really Clean & Green?

I firmly believe New Zealand is really clean and green as we have a functioning recycling system, low pollution level due to our small population and lots of undisturbed and undeveloped land. However the introduction of pests to New Zealand has taken a toll on our native species, but action is being taken to prevent extinction and further damage.

In New Zealand we have a functioning recycling system to reduce our household waste. "Reduce, Re-use and Recycle" is promoted and advertised through-out New Zealand so less waste ends up in landfills. In New Zealand each household is given two bins, a large blue lidded one for recycling and a small red lidded one for rubbish. Trucks come and collect the waste once a week and transport it, the waste to landfills and the recycling to a recycling plant. By doing this it is clean and hygienic as rubbish is disposed of correctly keeping New Zealand clean. When recycling it is taken to the plant it is sorted, cleaned, melted and then re-used to make a similar product. It is more clean and green to do this as recycling degrades very slowly in landfills which pollutes the environment, for very one tonne of paper you recycle thirteen trees are saved and four cubic yards of landfill space conserved. The cost for this is covered within the rates an individual pays to the government each year to keep the system working, this is well worth it as it keeps New Zealand looking clean and green.

Clean and green is the image New Zealand is given and deserves because of low pollution level compared to other countries around the world. Due to New Zealand's small land mass and population, pollution is to a minimum compared to other countries round the world. Russia is the country with highest pollution rate and has a population of 140,702,096, compared to New Zealand with a population of 4.2 million and only a fraction of the size. When our pollution rate is being compared to the rest of the world we have the advantage of a small population as there is less people to pollute. This means we are able to keep or country pristine and conserve such scenery as Mt. Ruapehu. Tourist come and compare us to their home which may be densely populated and populated and appreciate our clean and green environment which we take for granted.

Undisturbed and undeveloped land is something New Zealand takes pride in as it gives the image of being very clean and green. Lots of our scenery it still untouched which means its filled with native birds and insects. New Zealand is famous for some of its natural sights such as Queenstowns Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. The most densely populated area's of NZ are Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington opposed to the sparsely populated areas like Gisbourne, West Coast and Taranaki this shows the areas that would be the most undisturbed as less people live there, so less need for development to facilitate the community. Benefits of this undisturbed and undeveloped land is that it looks amazing and green and with more the trees we have, the more carbon dioxide absorbed during photosynthesis which keeps our air clean. It is rare to find so much undisturbed land in a populated country, this attracts tourists as it is unusual and appreciated by them resulting in the image of being clean and green.

However despite our efforts to be clean and green the obstacles of protecting our wildlife have become difficult with the introduction of unwanted pests. Possums and stoats are examples of these pests and responsible for wrecking New Zealands native wildlife. Possums feed on the plants like the native silver fern, possums are tending to eat more fern that can be reproduced fast enough which leads to extinction. Stoats eat the eggs of our natives birds like the Kiwi which means a lack of eggs are being laid to keep the species alive. The introduction of these pests has only had a negative effect on New Zealand's clean and green image, as we are losing our greenery and wildlife to pests. Conservationists have protection programmes to prevent extinction and loss of our clean and green image. They collect the Kiwi eggs and incubate them and set traps for possums and stoats. Even though this has a negative effect on our image work is being done to stop this problem so we can uphold the clean and green image.

In conclusion I firmly believe New Zealand is clean and green as we have a functioning recycling system which reduces our pollution which keeps us green, our low pollution levels due to our small population which keep New Zealand looking pristine, and the undisturbed undeveloped land which keeps our air clean. However the introduction on pests such as possums has destroyed some native trees and wildlife but conservationists have the situation under control, so New Zealand can successfully still hold the title of being clean and green.

By LilyRose Dyer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mean Creek Essay #1

An important idea in the film Mean Creek directed by Jacob Aaron Estes is bullying. This idea is conveyed through the verbal feature of dialogue and the visual features of actions and shot types/camera angles. Through the use of these techniques we are able to understand the ideas of the film much more clearly.

Bullying - someone who unfairly uses their size and strenght to hurt or frighten others. Bullying is an important idea in the text as it is the cause for Sam to want revenge on George which leads to his death. George uses physical and mental forms of bullying to hurt people because of his own insecurities and anger issues.

The first technique that helps the viewer to understand the idea of bullying is the dialogue. This is a verbal technique which shows bullying in the form of mental and emotional abuse that George uses to inflict harm. In the scene of Mean Creek when they are playing truth and dare this verbal technique is used when George gets angry at everyone in the boat, the dialogue is course with lots of swearing and put downs made. "Shut the fuck up, Clyde! You faggot! Fucking skinny butt-munching faggot. I hate you! You know that? I really do! Because all you do is fucking prance around school, talking about your fucking faggoty fairy fathers!".This verbal technique of dialogue shows how George is mentally and emotionally bullying Cylde by calling him names and taunting him about his gay fathers. This technique makes the theme of bullying easier to understand as the language is course and hurtful which really emphasizes the extent and pain George puts his victims through when bullying them.

Another technique used that helps the viewer to understand the theme of bullying is the characters actions. This is a visual technique which shows bullying as George physically fights others intentionally trying to hurt them. This visual technique is shown in the first scene of Mean Creek when George is attacking Sam for touching his camera. "Hey! What do you think you're doing? You're a punk, Sam! if i ever catch you fucking with my camera again". In this scene George's actions are very violent as he uses his strenght to his advantage by tackling and punching Sam, resulting in Sam now having a black eye and wanting revenge on George.This visual technique shows the theme of bullying as George uses his actions to physical bully Sam.This technique makes the theme of bullying easier to understand as his actions are used to inflict harm on others, this shows how he bullies Sam and his lack of self control and respect of others.

Viewers are helped to understand the idea of bullying by using the visual technique of different shot types and angles.This technique is important when conveying the idea of bullying to viewers as it helps enhance and manipulate their thoughts. This technique is specifically used in the truth and dare scene when George and Marty are having their dispute. By using this technique of different shot types and angles it helps show the roles reserving between the antagonist and protagonist. During the beginning of their argument Marty is the antagonist he is standing up in the boat which is shown from a low angle, this makes him look powerful and his dialogue more forceful . As the scene proceeds the George now becomes the antagonist ,this is shown by George now being in the exact same position as Marty but on the other side of the boat. As George gets more out of control the scene shows close ups of his face, which gives attention to his facial expression and over the shoulder shots to manipulate the viewers to see George as the bully and antagonist."And speaking of dead... fathers... I just remembered why bonehead white-trash fucking donkey-dick Marty got so fucking freaked when I started talking about his "daddy". His neanderthal, drunk father put a gun in his mouth and splattered his brains all over the wall ". This technique plays a big role in manipulating and making the idea easier to understand as it helps to clearly show the roles reserving between the bully by the use of camera angles, it also emphasizes the dialogue by using shot types.

In conclusion bullying is an important idea in the film Mean Creek visual and verbal techniques are used to help make it easier to understand to viewers. Dialogue helped show the idea by the course language and the form of mental and emotional bullying towards Cylde. Actions helped convey the idea of bullying by the physical abuse George inflicts in Sam, shot types and camera angles show the idea more clearly by showing the reserve roles of antagonist and protagonist between George and Marty. without these visual and verbal technique the theme of bullying would not be clearly displayed to viewers as they emphasizes detail and manipulate the audience.

By LilyRose Dyer.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Should The Drinking Age Be Raised To 21 ?

I strongly believe the drinking age should not be raised to 21 as it will not be solving the problem of underage drinking , it will just lead to 18-20 year old's drinking in the streets. Many new privileges are offered to eighteen year old's in New Zealand as they are now mature enough to take on these particular responsibilities, so why not be able to drink alcohol ?. However this doesn't stop the violence caused by the binge drinking culture in New Zealand, raising the drinking age isn't the correct way of going about it this issue.

The drinking age should not be raised to 21 as it will not be solving the problem of underage drinking. By raising the drinking age they are trying to prevent underage drinking, it will not stop this problem as no matter what the drinking age is, there is still going to be underage people consuming alcohol.People underage are very capable of accessing alcohol as it can be brought by parents, siblings,aunties,cousins and older friends so raising the drinking age will have a minimal effect. The want for a raise of the drinking age is the result of a few irresponsible people abusing the use of alcohol and wrecking the privilege for others. It is more important to more thoroughly enforce underage drinking with the current drinking age of 18.

Raising the drinking age to 21 is the wrong path of action as it will lead to to 18-20 year old's drinking in the streets. If they are not allowed into bars or clubs for drinks, drinkers will resort to house parties and the streets to binge drink in an uncontrolled environment. This a bad thing because if there in a bar or club the bartender can refuse to serve them if there to intoxicated , bouncers and security guards are on duty to control any bad behaviour. So isn't it safer for the community for drinkers to be in bars or clubs instead of illegal drinking in the streets ?

I disagree with changing the drinking age to 21 because other privileges are offered to eighteen year old's as they are now 'mature enough'. This would be hypercritical to deny them the privilege of being able to purchase alcohol. In New Zealand once you turn eighteen you are able to vote,drive,marry, have to pay adult fares, become an MP,and go to war to fight for your country as you have supposedly matured. If eighteen year old's are offered these bigger responsibilities they should be responsible and trusted enough to be able to purchase alcoholic beverages.

However the binge drinking culture in New Zealand is caused an increase in domestic violence . This violence is generally the result of a few irresponsible people lashing out because they are not in control of themselves . These few people are charged and dealt with , their mistakes should not wreck the alcohol buying privilege for responsible people 18+ who deserve the right to buy a drink.

In conclusion I strongly believe the drinking age should not be raised to 21 because it will not properly solve the underage drinking issue at hand , it will just result in to 18-20 year olds drinking in the streets and endangering the community , we need to trust in the young society of New Zealand as at eighteen they are are offered the full privileges of an adult. Even though it causes intoxicated violence the mistakes of these people should not bring down the majority of responsible New Zealand citizens.

By LilyRose Dyer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Of Mice And Men Essay #2

Explain an idea or theme that interests you and explain what you think about it.

In the novel Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck a theme that interests me is friendship. It interests me because it is rare to find a friendship like George and Lennie's during the 1930's. I think this is because of the great depression and how it caused the every man for himself lifestyle.

A theme that interests me in the novel is friendship because there was a lack of them in the story which made George and Lennie's stand out.George and Lennie's relationship is unique and rare for the particular time in history which shock most characters in the book such as the boss, as he thought George was only hanging around Lennie for his money "what stake you got in this guy? you takin' his pay away from him?". During the 1930's it was not normal for two grown men to hang around like George and Lennie did especially when they are not related " If I was relative of yours i'd shoot myself".This was generally because of the great depression which meant there was a lack of jobs and an even bigger strive for the American dream, which resulted in a lack of trust amongst peers as everyone was just trying to get by meaning it was every man for himself.

I think that George and Lennie's relationship is unique in itself because it is very interdependent. Their relationship comes across as just George looking after Lennie because he is 'slow' and is very dependent on George " Jesus Christ, Lennie! you can't remember nothing the happens, but you remember ever' word I say". George seemed to get very frustrated with Lennie as he always gets them into trouble, like when he grabbed the girl's red dress or breaking Curly's wife neck. This puts a lot of stress onto George as he always has to get them out of trouble "when I think of the swell time I could without you". In the novel it isn't explained why George puts up with Lennie when they are not related, and he could be having a successful job working his way to his American dream. I think it is purely because George likes the company as he has no family left, and that he likes the responsibility and control he has over Lennie making himself feel important.

Once Lennie breaks Curly's wife neck I think true friendship is shown by how George shoots Lennie because like candy said " I shouldn't have let another man kill my dog". George was saving Lennie from a painful death from Curly, which he didn't deserve as it wasn't in his intentions to harm his wife. It would of been hard for George to shoot him as he was his best friend and without him he had nothing.He did what was best for Lennie as he had no hope of escaping Curly. George did the shooting tastefully as he told Lennie their lifelong American dream that they had made together as part of their friendship, so Lennie was as close as he was ever going to get to that dream and died remembering pleasant thoughts. "look across the river Lennie, an' I'll tell you so you can almost see it". George shot him right in the back of the head so Lennie wouldn't feel any pain, George knew it had to be done as Lennie could not control his strength and could easily harm others.

In conclusion I found friendship an important theme in the novel as it was a rarity as was shown so clearly between George and Lennie. I think there friendship was very unique and interdependent which was why it was able to function. I think George did the right thing by shooting Lennie as showed true friendship as he had Lennie's best interests at heart.

By LilyRose

Monday, May 18, 2009

Of Mice And Men Essay #1

In the novel Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck an important character is Lennie Small. He is an important character as he helps to portray the central themes in the novel and is involved in the most important events in the story.

Lennie Small is a gentle giant "a huge man, sloping shoulders walking heavily, dragging his feet a little , the way a bear drags his paws ". His appearance gives a misleading first impression as his personality is not suited to his exterior appearance.Lennie is extremely humble and has no intention of inflicting harm "I didn't mean ta hurt you". Lennie is incredibly strong but cannot control his strength which causes some of the main turning points in the novel "Lennie had broken her neck".

An important character is Lennie Small as he causes the major turning points in the story to occur , for example he was the reason himself and George had to move to the ranch, as they got driven out of weed because of one of Lennie's many mistakes." He seen this girl in a red dress, he wants to touch ever'yhing he likes, so he reaches out to feel the red dress an' the girl lets out a squawk. She rabbits and tells the cops shes been raped the guys in weed start a party out to lynch Lennie".Lennie is also the reason for himself and George being kicked of the ranch as he breaks Curly's wife neck." He shock her, her body flopped like a fish and then she was still, Lennie had broken her neck". All these events are due to Lennie's lack of self control with his strength without Lennie in the story these major events wouldn't occur as he is the reason for them which shows his importance.

Lennie's actions effect others around him as he is an important character which shapes the story as it is based around his actions and mistakes.When he breaks Curly's wife neck it effects her, Curly, George and Candy from just one action. George is effected as he has to leave the ranch and Candy is effected by their plan for the 'American dream' is no longer possible. This conveys the difficulty and the strive of succeeding in the 'American dream' during the 1930's "A drum of running feet and the men burst into the barn Slim, Carlson, young Whit and Curly". His importance is shown by how many people around him get effected by his actions and through his friendship with George. The friendship between George and Lennie is an important factor in the novel as it is unique and rare, it is important as it shocks and effects many people around them. Their friendship is part of their 'American dream' and therefore is important to them."Because I got you to look after me, and me to look after you".

In conclusion Lennie Small gives a misleading first impression to his humble personality but not to his incredible strength. He is an important character as he causes the main turning points of the story which effects many people around him. Without Lennie in the novel these turning points would not be able to occur making Lennie a crucial character in the book.

By LilyRose

Monday, May 4, 2009

Should The Internet Be Banned ?

I strongly believe that the internet should not be banned as it provides such services as cheap communication, information search engines, online shopping and banking.However the internet has produced negative problems as well like cyber bullying, many actions have been taken to prevent and resolve problems like these.

The internet should not be removed as it provides the service of cheap communication to people all over the world.Emailing and Skype are examples of communication methods used through the internet.Sending an e-mail is a cheaper option of overseas communication, as you can send one e-mail world wide for free the only cost being the internet itself. This is affordable compared to calling overseas which is a form of communication without the internet, as pricing starts at a minimum of one dollar a minute.By the internet being banned the price of overseas communication will be very expensive to use, which leaves a gap in the accessibility of contacting people overseas.

Information search engines such as Google and are one of the many reasons the internet should not be banned.Google is one of the most popular search engines used through out the world as it is so user friendly.For example anyone no matter their knowledge of the internet can simply type in what the wish to 'Google', and within a matter of seconds you will receive a list of website links which provide information on the topic just 'Googled'. Advantages of using Google are that there is no limitations on what you can search as information is available on history, health facts,sports results,music etc.It is a time and energy saving process as you are not required to leave the house.Without search engines like these gaining information on unfamiliar topics becomes very hard, as without the internet people would have to resort to the limited information in libraries, and sometimes unreliable primary resources which is time consuming, stressful and hard to find.

People tend to use the internet as it provides online services such as internet banking, online auctions, grocery and fashion shopping.This saves consumers time,energy and money and therefore should not be banned as to many people use these services for them to suddenly be stopped, this would cause major disrupt to business and consumers as they rely on these services provided by the internet on a daily basis.By being able to do this without leaving the home it means it is user friendly, as sometimes people do not have time or are not fit to leave the house to carry out these tasks, but the internet helps them do that as it provides the correct services.By having the internet as a shopping and auction option you are able to to purchase items from overseas and create auctions to sell things to different cities all over the world, this would not be possible without the internet. The internet provides ease to peoples hectic schedules and therefore should not be banned.

However the internet does have its disadvantages like cyber bullying but help is on offer to stop and try and solve these problems.Minor problems like these should not override all the positives of the internet to get it banned by the minor defects bringing it down. Because of the ease of accessibility to social networking sites like Bebo and Facebook cyber bullying has occurred by the culprits doing their bullying via the internet. Actions have been taken to prevent these things like on Bebo, you are able to report abuse if someone is hassling you on that site which can lead to the bully's account being deleted.There are helplines available and offer support to bullying victims like 0800 Helpline.Internet bullying prevention rules are available also like do not reply the abusive content.Providers of the internet are aware of the disadvantages of the internet, and provide solutions to these problems so that it is a safe service to use therefore, the internet should not be banned as effort is being put into fixing these implications.

In conclusion the internet has evolved our society and has become something we can not live without as it provides us with user friendly time,energy,money and stress saving services or features like cheap communication, information search engines and online banking and shopping.I strongly believe the internet should not be banned as it is used worldwide and provides useful services that benefit everyone.

By LilyRose