Friday, April 6, 2012

change

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Change is inevitable, unavoidable in some cases but change in oneself is sure to happen to anyone, whether it be for the better or worse. Whether it is a small or extensive amount of change we experience through life, it is still bound to happen. Changing perspectives occurs when a person experiences something out of the ordinary, and as a result their perspective towards someone or something changes. This aspect can be demonstrated by reference to such texts as the poems “Postcard” and “10 Mary Street” by Peter Skrzynecki, text one from the stimulus booklet “The Door” by Miroslav Holub, the movie “American History X” and the song lyrics “Next door” by Sense Field.


Peter Skrzynecki’s poem “Postcard” is about Peter searching for his true identity. Part one begins with the arrival of a postcard from a friend. The postcard illustrates the modern Warsaw, with many modern images of apartment blocks and concrete structures. The persona’s dismissive attitude to the images is conveyed by his blunt reference to “something like a park”.


In part two of the poem, the persona personifies Warsaw, indicating it means much more to him than he previously acknowledged. He reveals that he has only ever known Warsaw “in the third person”, through pictures and stories. He recounts the resulting immigration “half a world away”, to another country where “your remaking” and “your politics” are kept alive by the immigrants. The poet’s tone then changes from a nostalgic tone, to a plea to the city to “let me be”. His long glance at the postcard causes him to wonder whether he should change and become a part of that world, or to stick to his previous life “What’s my choice to be?”


In part three of the poem, the persona acknowledges how important the past and his heritage is to him. He admits that one day he will be unable to resist the pull of his Polish heritage.


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Through a lot of the poem, Warsaw is personified, this emphasises the dilemma in which the poet finds himself. The poet also uses varying tone and emotive language to develop contrasting images throughout the poem, from his nostalgic tone “Old Warsaw, I never knew you”, to his rebellious tone “let me be”.


The change in perspective displayed by the persona towards the postcard, is symbolic of his change in perspective towards Poland. The initial dismissal of the images on the postcard indicates the persona’s wish to leave Poland in the past. By the second half of the poem, the poet is able to look at the images and admire them, a complete change from his earlier dismissal. A realisation of the value of his cultural background and an acceptance of his parents past is a clear change in his perspective from the youth who distanced himself.


“10 Mary Street” by Peter Skrzynecki is a poem of a child-eye’s view of the house in which he grew up. The first stanza describes the daily ritual followed by the family “we departed…shut the house”. His image of the house as a “well-oiled lock” emphasises the security that it represents for them.


The second stanza recounts the evening activities of the family. The cultural difference between the generations is shown in their different attitudes to the vegetable garden. His parents tend it carefully “like adopted children”, while he ravages it carelessly “I’d ravage the backyard garden like a hungry bird”.


The third stanza is set in the present. The “china-blue coat” which will last for “another ten years” shows how precious the house is to the persona and his family, yet the house has been “gazetted for industry”; set to be knocked down for building industry factories.


The fourth stanza repeats the first line of the poem, emphasising the poet’s belief in the importance of the house and all it stood for. Within its walls, the cultural heritage of “pre-war Europe” has been kept alive.


The last stanza reveals that the family members have become Australian citizens “more than a decade” previously, yet the “key” which this has given them is useless, opening no new doors. The personification of the house reveals the poet’s fondness for the house as a symbol of his childhood. The language is informal; this depicts the thoughts of the adolescent persona.


The final stanza shows us the house from the perspective of the adult. An external force has caused change. Like “Postcard”, Peter looks over things as an adult and begins to understand his parent’s perception on things. The adult Peter understands why his parents felt a need to keep their heritage alive.


The poem entitled “The Door” by Miroslav Holub, illustrates that change will ultimately happen to every person, but the way you accept change is the way it will affect your life. The poem presents the door as a symbol of change. A closed door can be a barrier. An open door is a possibility to experience new things.


The poem encourages us to at least seek change, as there is benefit in experiencing whatever we find. There is no change in sitting down and watching a closed door, not knowing what is on the other side.


The poem reminds the audience there are no certainties when the door is opened, just opportunities which range from the ordinary “a tree, or a wood” to the fantastic “a magic city”. The door can be seen as a dual metaphor for the gateway to opportunity and change. The change may be subtle like “the hollow wind” or unexpected like the “magic city” or a new perspective through the “picture of a picture”. All these possibilities can give us a new and brighter perspective on life.


The optimism and rhythm of the poem reassures the reader that change is a positive aspect of life. The poem is written in free verse, this puts an emphasis on some words as they are on a line by themselves, such as “nothing”. The repeated “go and open the door” and “maybe” reiterates the benefit in seeking change. This poem can be related to “postcard” by Peter Skrzynecki as Peter is “opening the door” to change in his life.


The movie “American History X” directed by Tony Kaye is a movie that shows the hypocrisy of hate based on race. Derek Vineyard became the skinhead leader of a local white power movement group after his father’s murder by a black man “I hate anyone who isn’t white protestant” and gets put into jail for the hardhearted murder of two black youths.


During his stay in jail his younger brother Danny follows his hateful ways. After his imprisonment Derek’s friends and family await his return. However, the man they see come out no longer views hatred as a symbol of respect “I’m through with that life, I’m out”.


Derek tells his brother Danny of how he worked in prison with a friendly black man, Lamont. He saw the “skinheads” in prison had double standards and as Derek shifted away from them, they turned against him, and savagely raped him. He feared his life. On his final day in prison, he learnt that Lamont, the “underworld leader” had protected him.


Derek’s final words to Lamont before leaving prison were “I owe you man”, Lamont’s only reply was “just take it easy on the brothers”. This scene reflects the changing point in Derek’s life. After this he realises the ignorance of his beliefs and fundamentally changes himself and his views. Also after experiencing the negative effects of violence it changes his perception towards using violence to resolve issues.


Ashamed of his past, he comes out a new man and races to save his family from what he brought upon them. As he informs his brother Danny of his experiences, his eyes open almost immediately. Danny comes to the conclusion that “hate is baggage, life’s too short to be pissed off all the time, it’s not worth it”. However it’s too late for Danny as he is murdered.


The use of contrasting scenes in colour and black and white indicate different values, attitudes and perspectives. As Derek’s perspective changes, the black and white scenes change to full colour. When Derek leaves jail, the camera zooms in on the gate closing behind him, this reflects the moment of Derek “opening the door” to change, and searching for his true identity. However, “10 Mary Street” describes change as an inevitable part in ones life that comes when one matures or grows.


Similarly, the song lyrics by Sense Field titled “Next Door” incorporates the metaphor of a ‘door’ which represents the passageway leading to change. This song encourages seeking change. The first person narrative presented coveys a sense of personal experience while instilling a sense of possibility within the listener’s minds.


The repeated words “next door down” reiterates and emphasizes the ease and close proximity required to change. The reference to “crazy sounds” and “one deep breath” indicates a sense of anxiety and fear of opening the door and thus changing. But this anxiety is out balanced by the possible benefits, which lay on the other side of the “next door down” including new things “which I never knew about.”


Changes in perspective are encouraged as there are opportunities to gain “nothing to lose, [and] nothing to prove.” Furthermore, the feelings felt are the way you choose to feel. This expounds the idea of choice not with standing that other changes will occur inevitably. This song has the same central metaphor as “The Door”, which is of seeking to incorporate change into your life.


Through the study of these texts, it can be seen that changing perspectives are a result of many factors in ones life. It can be an inevitable part of life that comes as one matures and grows, or it can occur by seeking change and taking risks. Change may be imposed and unpredictable, and consequently impact upon people’s lives to a greater or lesser degree. Change has various effects on each individual, whether it be positive or negative is determined by the way change is accepted and incorporated into ones life, and this will ultimately change ones lifestyle.





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