Cultural Context Question – Rough Draft sample essay
Q. “A reader can feel uncomfortable with the values and attitudes presented in texts” Compare the extent to which the values and attitudes that you encountered, in at least two texts on your comparative course, made you feel uncomfortable.
A.The texts i have chosen to write about is the play Sive by John B Keane, the novel How Many Miles To Babylon? (Babylon) by Jennifer Johnson and the film Im Not Scared (INS) directed by Gabriele Salvatores.
In the play Sive, Mena is a powerful women who controls her husband just as Alicia controls her husband in Babylon. Both of these women make me feel uncomfortable because the women can wield their household to the detriment of others. This is not apparent in INS. The manipulation of men by women is completely absent in INS.
There is a lack of communication between Mike and Mena Glavin. This is due to how the marriage of the Glavins was convenient contract rather than a romance. This is also evident in the marriage of the Moores. Alicia Moore is a cold hearted women who dismisses her husband as a ‘ineffective’ man. Mike and Frederick are similar in this way. They are incapable of withstanding the pressures placed on them by their wives. They yield to these pressures. Men are depicted as weak and easy to manipulate or intrusive bullies like Major Glendinnig and Thomaseen Rua who are cruel cynics hat impose their wills on others with cruelty.
In sive, Thomaseen Rua threatens Nanna. A corresponding moment occurs in Babylon when Major Glendinning threatens the soldiers before he battle. This is a very disturbing image to me because Major Glendinning is a callous and cruel man. Just as Thomaseen is to sive. The portrait of men in the play is just as negative as in the novel. In he film the image of men is exceedingly negative. The men are eiher brutal, hostile individuals or weak complicit allies of the sadistic Sergio. Sergio reminds us of Glendinning, he accuses the men of being imcompotent and stupid.
Mike betrays his niece in order to gain money for his tremendous greed. He chooses to feed his gluttony instead of the truthful, right thing. The only decent male in the play is Liam Scuab. He has courage and courtesy to respect Sive as she wants to be respected. Just as alec is an courteous man in Babylon. His heroic sacrifice is doneout of love for his best friend. He knows that he will die but does it anyway.
In the book Babylon, the social class have a huge impact on the people. In sive it is not such this way. Alicia doesn’t want Alec near jerry because of the differences between the amounts of money their parents make. Although we observe the extreme poverty of Carthalawn and Pats Bocock and the relative wealth of Sean Dota, there is not the same division in the play as there is in the novel. He differences in social status does not create the same tension is Sive as it does in the novel.
Alicia ensured her social position by marrying Frederick in much the same way as the Glavins are trying to marry Sive off to Sean Dota. Sive has a relationship with Liam scuab a local boy and the different social status is not an obstacle for them. The differences in social staus creates conflict. These are not only to do with money but religion, education and politics as well. In INS and Babylon, this issue is palpable. In both these texts, people are willing to kill for personal gain.
The portrayal of men in both texts is a disturbing one. This is evident. Either the men are pathetic, feeble men or brutal animals. Frederick moore is a drained man. His wife is a malicious women who always gets her own way because Frederick is too old and tired to fight with her anymore. Just as mike is with mena. He choses not to fight anymore for a sense of peace in his life. He goes against his morals to give her what she wants out of greed and his timid nature towards mena. This theme of weak, feeble or mericiless, heartless men is typical of both texts. We see similar abusive cruelty in the film through the male gang members led by Sergio.
While betrayal is conveyed in an interesting way in Babylon when Frederick lets Alicia get her own way despite alec’s protests, it is conveyed more intensely in sive when mike lets mena sell sive off to sean doa for their own gain. This is a very disturbing image. Betrayal is also a highly strong theme in INS. Sergio gets betrayed by his own son when Michele find filipo hidden in the whole in the ground. He helps the young boy. This is seen as betrayal to Sergio.
The values and attitudes presented in these texts are very disturbing. They will make you feel uncomfortable and edgy. Study the values and attitudes of these three texts has been an enjoyable experience and i have learned more about different social back grounds, different views on life and more. These three texts are a good example of how people may rise above society and what is expected to grow as a race and choose to change things around for equality.
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