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Change – Looking For Alibrandi + Stimulus + Texts Of Own Choosing Essay, Research Paper
?How have the texts you have studied this year effectively shaped your understanding of the meaning of ?change??In your answer you should refer to Looking for Alibrandi, ONE text from the prescribed stimulus booklet, Changing, and two to three texts of your own choosing.
Through a number of texts we can see the concept of change and changing perspective clearly demonstrated. Texts including Looking for Alibrandi, Sky High, a Michael Leunig cartoon and various newspaper and magazine articles all have themes and underlying meanings relating to change. Through these texts, the composers shape our understanding of change by demonstrating how it can be gradual, how it is natural and how our perspectives can change. They also show why change occurs and the different sorts of change, most of which deal with changing perspectives.
In Looking for Alibrandi, the author, Melina Marchetta demonstrates the concept of change not only through the chief protagonist, Josephine, but also some other more minor characters such as Michael Andretti, Christina and Nonna, though the majority is shown through Josephine. A key event in the novel that changes Josephine Alibrandi?s perspective and helps shape our understanding of the concept is the meeting of her father, Michael Andretti. Initially, before Josephine has never even met Michael, she resents him. She feels that he abandoned her mother while she was pregnant. When she first meets him however she gets the impression that he is intelligent and a decent human being, though she doesn?t make it known to him. After Josephine gets into a fight at school with Carly Bishop, Carly?s father threatens legal action. In the spur of the moment, Josephine says her father is a lawyer and he is called up and asked to come to the school. Unexpectedly, he arrives and the issue is resolved. As Josephine is walking along side her father, it is at this moment when she has a change of perspective. She likes the feeling of having a father figure. Marchetta has demonstrated that change can be triggered by singular events.
Also in Looking for Alibrandi is a similar change of perspective, but this time shown through a different character, Michael Andretti. When Michael first discovers that Josephine is his daughter he says, ?I do not want to see her. I do not want to love her. I do not want a complication in my life.? He is very negative and does not want to have anything to do with her. As the novel progresses, Josephine and Michael begin to bond together and enjoy each other?s company. Michael faces a change in his perspective on fatherhood. He is at first in denial and does not want anything to do with Josie, but as certain events unfold, he wants to become a big part of her life and get to know what he has missed out on. Michael?s change in perspective is a gradual one.
A major theme in Looking for Alibrandi is identity. Josephine has a change in perspective on her own identity. Initially, Josephine believes that her appearance and ethnic background is the determining factor in her social acceptance. She also believes that because she is at a wealthy school on a scholarship and has no father she is looked down upon. When Josephine is told by a teacher at her school, Sister Louise that she was actually voted school captain but was given the role of vice captain because they felt she lacked the leadership skills and that her and her friends are in fact trendsetters within the school and looked upon with envy, she has a sudden change in perspective on herself. She has always lacked self esteem and was very conscious of what others thought of her, but now has realised she is actually one of the most popular girls in school which is a great confidence boost for her. At that moment, Josephine says, ?I knew deep down that I was wrong and I think that my emancipation began at that moment.?
Also on the theme of identity is Josephine?s culture and her change in perspective of it. This is a more gradual change than her the perspective on herself, though there is one particular event which really makes her think about her culture. John Barton?s death makes Josephine realise that her culture and her family is not so bad. She realises that others have it much worse than her. Eventually Josephine decides, ?You can?t hate what you are apart of.? At first Josie thought that her background stopped her from being herself but later realises that her culture makes up who she is and that she cannot break free of it. This change in perspective is also shown through the annual ?Tomato Day.? This is an expression of the Alibrandi family?s heritage. Initially Josephine is ashamed of her family?s yearly ritual and would hate it if anybody found out about it, but in the end states that she will always take part in it because it is part of her culture and her culture makes up her identity.
The author, Marchetta, also demonstrates that having increased knowledge and knowing all the facts can bring about a change in perspective. A number of events occur in the novel, which illustrate this. A prime example is when Josephine discovers that her father, Michael Andretti did not run away from her mother, Christina because she was pregnant. Josephine had resented her father her whole life because she believed this was the reason, but she finds out he did not even know Christina was pregnant at the time when he and his family moved to Adelaide, in fact, he didn?t even know that he had a daughter until recently. This drastically changes the way that Josephine sees her father. Another example of a change in perspective due to increased knowledge is her perspective of her grandmother, known as ?Nonna.? She discovers that she was in an arranged marriage to someone she did not know and that she fell pregnant with an Australian, Marcus Sanford. After gaining the facts, Josephine realises that her Nonna isn?t as bad as she had initially thought. She comes to realise that she is only human, and in many ways, as a young woman was similar to herself.
Another issue dealing with the concept of change in Looking for Alibrandi is the changes in perspectives over three generations. The novel features Josephine, Christina and Nonna, all of whom are part of different generations. Throughout the novel, Marchetta shows the perspectives of these three generations. Nonna?s generation is shown to have a very conservative perspective. When she was young she was expected to stay at home while her arranged husband when off to work. The husband was seen as the boss and the wife was not allowed to divorce him. Christina?s generation is shown as a little more open-minded but still a little conservative. When Christina has a child out of wedlock she was looked down upon and was not expected to attend university. Josephine?s perspective is a lot more open-minded. It is not uncommon for people to have a child out of wedlock. She does not consider marriage as being necessary and is able to, and plans to attend university. Over these three generations, perspectives have been changed. It is shown in many ways that change is a positive thing.
The text, Sky High, shows the change of perspective by, assumedly, the author, Hannah Robert. We see two of her perspectives, one of which is as a child and the other as a grown woman. While reminiscing, Robert outlines her childhood perspective of her backyard and the world. As a child the author was innocent and free. The writer?s backyard becomes her playground creating an adventure that only a child could have each time she enters it. She describes herself climbing onto the old clothesline as if it is a mission. One she has ?conquered? the clothesline and is swinging from it she experiences a feeling of excitement. As an adult she reaches up to the same clothesline and sees her hands ?beginning to accumulate the line-etched story of life in scars and wrinkles.? Since being a child the author has faced many experiences forcing her to grow up. She is no longer the innocent child she once was and now has a much more pessimistic perspective of her life. Although she has a small urge, described as ?a small pilot light burning somewhere inside? to swing off the clothesline, as a rational adult she realises that this would be irresponsible and that the clothesline would no longer support her weight.
A more broader demonstration of a whole society changing their perspective is in an article from The Sydney Morning Herald titled, ?Chip off the new block: cyborg man is a step closer.? The journalist, Deborah Smith, writes of a ?machine enhanced? man that could be walking around within weeks. A British professor is planning on having a chip implanted into his arm that will send signals from his nervous system to a computer. This is an experiment to test whether or not sensations or feelings can be evoked from computers. Ultimately he believes that this will result in computer-enhanced human beings. He says this is necessary ?if we are to compete with intelligent machines.? Only a matter of years ago, this sort of experimentation would not have been considered necessary. Through a number of technological advancements, societies have changed their perspective. They are now seeing that technology is improving rapidly and that possibly, humans will not be able to keep up with newly developed machines and robots.
In a cartoon by Michael Leunig titled, ?If you?re such a bright young thing, how come you wear so much black?? two characters are having a conversation. One is white, the other is black. They are both discussing identity. The black character claims he is constantly wearing black because he is attending his own funeral. The black character is trying to change society?s perspective of him. He is trying to hide what he is really like on the inside by wearing black clothes and trying to appear ?trendy? and ?dignified and in control.? In reality we see that the black character cannot change what he is inside. He attempts to change his perspective on himself in the hope that society will then view him as being a ?bright young thing.?
An example of the whole of society changing its perspective is in the editorial of the February 19 issue of The Bulletin magazine. The piece is titled ?Threat of the unknown.? Paul Bailey writes, ?The World Trade Centre attacks rewrote the rules of terrorism. No one had thought that anyone would fly a plane into an office building in a major district. Who is to say what the nature of the threat could be now?? Previous to September 11, people saw the developed world as a safe place and free of any war-like threats. The attacks on September 11 have changed people?s perspectives. They have become aware that there is the potential for more attacks. People no longer feel 100% safe, especially in dominant economic countries such as the USA and Britain. Bailey writes that the threat is coming closer and closer to Australia too, with a number of arrests being made in countries such as Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, countries that are considered our neighbours. This is forcing the Australian people to change their perspective and feel less safe. It seems they are realising that potentially, there are members of the al-Quaeda and other terrorist networks residing in Australia.
All of these texts are ones that examine change and changing perspectives. The composers demonstrate the many different ways change can occur and how change may effect only an individual, group of people and possibly even the whole of society.
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