Band 6 Discovery Tempest + Gran Turino + Feature Article

                Discoveries, driven by wonder or necessity, can be challenging and confronting, compelling people to leave their comfort zones. Consequently, they prepare to sacrifice the old to embrace the new, transforming and gaining new insights on themselves and the world around them. “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare (1611) portray individuals faced with moralistic experiences, who rediscover the necessity for compassion as a result of abusive power, leading them to re-evaluate their relations with other characters. Eastwood’s film “Gran Torino” (2008) examines the contemporary issues of conflicting cultural diversity, depicting a similar process of self-reflection, which triggers characters to transform spiritually and emotionally. Furthermore, Mogelson’s feature article “Boat of Dreams” (2013) extends the concept of renewed perspectives and seeks to evoke an emotional epiphany within the reader through provocative discoveries as Mogelson experiences the journey made by asylum seekers to Australia. Through analysing these texts and its character’s experiences, responders gain a deeper understanding of (answer question).

By examining the obsessive desire for authority, both “The Tempest” and “Gran Torino” reveal the consequences of the abuse of power, provoking a rediscovery of compassion and the restoration of humanity. Initially consumed with the preconception of prioritising knowledge within his ‘magic books’, his brother Antonio’s betrayal awakens Prospero to the reality of realpolitik, an awareness that he expresses metaphorically: “Of all the world I loved… he was the ivy which sucked my verdure.” Transformed by this betrayal, Prospero becomes a creature of tyranny whose threats of violence: “I’ll render an oak and peg thee…” demonstrate the negative consequences of confronting discoveries. The restoration of Prospero can only occur when he is able to rediscover his humanity. Ariel’s plea, “Your charm so strongly works ‘em / Your affections would become tender” awakens a sense of mercy and compassion, from which Prospero is able to “forgive (Antonio) thy rankest fault,” reassessing his desire for revenge. His spiritual revelation positions the reader to appreciate mercy, acknowledging that rediscoveries can stimulate favourable insights. Similar, Gran Torino examines the cultural and spiritual rediscoveries of a war veteran who enforced violence to reject the changes in his life. A low angle shot accentuates Walt’s conviction as he directs his gun towards the camera, accompanied by the chiaroscuro lighting creating a shadow on his face, acknowledges his ignorance for renewed discoveries and perspectives. Therefore, like Prospero, Walt must rediscover his humility and progress from his sheltered world of violence, spiritually transforming him in search of a peaceful resolution. Depicted by a Christ-like mis-en-scene, a slow motion shot and combined with soft non-diegetic music, Walt is portrayed at peace as he falls, which is reflective of his spiritual transformation. The war medal he clutches in his hand serves as a symbol for the repentance of violence he had committed as well as the restoration of the honour he had lost long ago, emphasising the need for self-discoveries. Therefore, both The Tempest and Gran Torino depict the restoration of humanity through the mutual rediscovery of compassion.

Both Gran Torino and The Boat of Dreams are didactic texts which acknowledge the profound impact of provocative discoveries for both the persona and reader, resulting in renewed perspectives. Gran Torino’s Walt represents a traditional character struggling to accept an increasingly multicultural society. The juxtaposition between the Hmong’s chaotic house, its paint cracking and lawn ripped up to Walt’s orderly house, draped with the symbol of an American flag exposes the initial contrast of cultures and reflects Walt’s stagnated views. However, the audience is taken on an emotional and cultural journey with Walt, as he mentors Tao, and discovers their cultural differences. Walt’s renewed cultural perception is reinforced by the transformation of racism into satirical humour. The motif of insulting each other “how do you like your dog?”… “I told you, we only eat cats” draws a sense of endearing familiarity, overcoming the obstacle of cultural rejection, and evoking compassion as a result of provocative discoveries. Conversely, Mogelson brings the audience on an emotional and intellectual journey to discover the harsh realities regarding modern day pariahs of the “Boat People”. The article portrays the distressing events through symbolism: “Asylum seekers ripping each individual page of their passport…tossing it to the wind.” The audience is evoked with consternation by this symbolic act of sacrifice and discovers the hardships of leaving their comfort zone. Furthermore, Mogelson arouses compassion through the anecdotal experiences of refugees through the dramatic photography in the article. The cover shot, shocks us with a cropped frame of a ship crashing into waves, whilst desperate refugees cover their faces from the sun. The audience is confronted as they discover the asylum seeker’s desperate bid for hope. These challenging experiences catalyse the audience to acknowledge the hardships of immigrants, evoking empathy and compassion. Thus, the discoveries experienced by the characters also provides an opportunity for the audience to discover compassion and humility.

As a result of provocative discoveries, individuals are forced to reassess their previous perspectives and evaluate new perceptions on the world. Mogelson exposes the hypocrisy of his society in which asylum seeker policies continue to neglect human rights. Zoomorphism in “Among the human cargo, the vague shapes of bodies, the floating tips of cigarettes” conveys the dehumanising public perspective perpetuated by the government. The exposure of the unethical treatment of refugees by the government is further illustrated by naval officers who “prod,” “corral” and “herd [the refugees] forward” like animals. These provocative experiences of violated people evoke an emotional catharsis in both the reader and persona as they discover the absurd, barbaric treatment to refugees. Mogelson therefore transforms the reader’s perception of “Boat People” into “Human Beings” through the confronting discovery of their perilous journey at sea. In The Tempest, Shakespeare explores humanity’s potential for goodness through Miranda’s character, an innocent, naive child. The hyperbole in “With those that I saw suffer, oh the cry did knock against my very heart” presents the epiphany of human empathy within Miranda and indicates the confronting discovery that her world may be corrupt and cruel. Yet, by losing her innocence, Miranda reflects Prospero’s cruelty and draws our empathy. Through Prospero’s rediscovery of compassion, Miranda is able to re-evaluate her limited preconceptions on humanity.  Her hyperbolic exaltation through the assonance, “Oh, wonder! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t!” reflects our joy and enlightenment at the discovery that man is able to change, and assess their morals, resulting in empathy and forgiveness.

Discoveries enable us to experience a renewed perception of ourselves and the world around us.  Three texts “The Tempest”, “Gran Torino” and “Boat of Dreams” represent the (answer keyword) nature of discovery through the experiences of its characters. By exploring these texts, responders gain a deeper appreciation on the (answer question again).

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