4th August 2017

My survival story

“When your going through hell, keep going”~Winston Churchill. It is clear that the nature of survival for everyone is different, people take risks this is clearly true in the texts “Touching The Void” written by Joe Simpson, “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Philip Noyce, “Soul Surfer” directed by Sean McNamara, “I am not Esther” written by Fleur Beale. These texts and films all relate to some type of survival. The texts and films I have chosen, each have their own unique storyline which show their compassion and determination.

The nature of survival was shown in the text “Touching The Void” written by Joe Simpson. The first aspect of survival that was shown was that you need to have pure hope and belief in yourself, you need to stay positive to survive. This was shown when Simon remembered that he had witnessed one of the most fatal accidents in the French Alps; two Japanese climbers were tied together as they hoped to climb the French Alps but sadly they were killed together as soon as they hit the ground. The movie states “Two Japanese climbers had fallen to their deaths from close to where he stood…He had seen the falling leader jerk and twist and, without a sound, pull his partner into the void…The two men plunged down, roped together, helpless.” This story also stated that Simon and Joe had a near fall, they were both tied to each other at this time. ““The image of the two of us falling helplessly down the East Face, still roped together, had all too nearly come true.” This shows that thinking about your survival and your partner’s survival can ensure you a better outcome, but you still need to have hope and believe in yourself; “you saved my life you know. It must have been terrible for you that night. I don’t blame you. You had no choice. I understand that, and I understand why you thought I was dead. You did all you could have done. Thanks for getting me down”. Those words from Joe really summed up their situation, and Joe’s aspiration became complete.

A second aspect of survival that was shown in the text “Touching The Void” was shown that having the correct equipment can be the difference between life or death. For this novel the right equipment is essential. This was shown when Joe had an idea to protect his knee from further injury and to help contain the pain of falling on the rocks, so Joe decided to wrap his shattered leg with his sleeping mat to keep it slightly secure. The text states “ I wrapped it twice around my knee…with a strap from my crampons I buckled it tight on to my upper thigh. There was no question of crawling. Walking was also out, so it would have to be hopping.” This shows that even with the gear you didn’t think was that useful, it could save your life. As Joe used his sleeping mat it helped ease only a tiny amount of his splintering pain, but enough to keep pursuing on and fighting to get to camp.

The nature of survival was shown in the film “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Philip Noyce. The first aspect of survival that was shown was the “spirit bird”, which was introduced as Molly’s protector and guide. This was partly shown when the viewer sees the strong spiritual beliefs which is present in the Aboriginal community and Molly’s connection to her homeland. The viewer sees a point of view shot from Molly’s perspective looking up at that hawk, “that’s the spirit bird. He will always protect you” molly’s mother says. The viewer also hears diegetic sounds of the hawk calling and non-diegetic sounds of a didgeridoo. This show’s the pure connection that Molly and the aboriginals have with each other. The members in Molly’s culture are very strongly bonded together and are very knowledgeable about their surround, this enables them to survive with the resources in their environment e.g the “spirit bird” and the vegetation. This is similar to Joe’s situation as he has to use his resources that are around him. Near the end of the crucial part of the movie Joe used his sleeping mat to help ease the pain of his leg. Even though this only took away a tiny part of the excruciating pain it helped Joe carry on with his pursue onwards towards base camp. For Molly she uses the spirit bird as a protector and guard, which helped her with her last part of her journey. As we see an extreme close of Molly looking into the sky, noticing the spirit bird, then we see Molly slowly observing the rabbit proof fence and her home mountains. Energy fills Molly and Daisy and they gain the strength to get up and finish their journey home. This shows that positive self-talk and self beliefs can assist your survival; you never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.

A second aspect of survival that was shown in the film “Rabbit Proof Fence” was Gracie’s doubt. when all Gracie did was doubt everything that Molly suggested. This was mostly shown when the three girls were trekking across the desert; Molly, Daisy and Gracie meet an Aboriginal man. The Aboriginal gave they girls some bread and some life changing information. The film states “Which one of you is Gracie? I hear your mummy in Miluna. You can catch a train there from Meeka” Molly tries to keep the girls going: “Don’t listen to him. He’s a liar.” Gracie stops walking and says “Molly, let’s go to Meeka, catch a train to Wiluna.” Daisy tires to drag Gracie but she will not move. The viewer sees a medium shot which shows an extreme long shot showing the barren land, bare mountains and shows Gracie at her most crucial decision-point; Gracie lets the girls walk away. As Gracie walks away we hear her footsteps and then the viewer hears a long dark sounding didgeridoo music. Further on in the film the viewer sees a close-up of Molly sitting by the fence, looking back to where Gracie has gone. Viewers also hear inspirational music to indicate that the situation is difficult for Molly. Finally she says “Come on Dais. We’ve gotta go back for Gracie.” At Meeka, Gracie is shown in a medium shot to be waiting for the train. Molly whistles at her and Gracie stands up; seeing no train, she starts to walk slowly closer to Molly and Daisy. Suddenly the roar of a vehicle’s engine is heard. Gracie runs towards Molly and Daisy, this is shown in slow motion to be cut off by the vehicle. The Aboriginal man from the previous scene grabs Gracie and they take her away. Sad music is heard, as Gracie’s face looks towards the girls out of the back of the vehicle. A close-up shows Molly’s grief and then in a medium shot the two remaining girls: Molly and daisy hug each other, as Molly cries. This scene mirrors the start of the movie “No! This is my kids. MINE!” This shows that even though Molly took a risk to come back to get Gracie, they got to say their final goodbyes. This can be compared to “Touching The Void” which shows that when Simon comes back the mountain he goes straight away into the glacial lake. The viewer reads “I spent a long time by the pool, cleaning my clothes and picking at the sunburn on my face. It was a peaceful, cleansing ritual and my despair gradually faded as I mulled over the past few days”. Richard and Simon burnt Joe’s clothes as a memorial for Joe. These two scenes show people in different situations, one thinks the unthinkable as his friend couldn’t of survived but still wants to remember him and his compassion for life. On Molly point she wouldn’t of been able to live with herself if she hadn’t tried to go to the train station and get Gracie. Both of them weren’t selfish they were supposed to complete their goal together; there isn’t a I in team.

The nature of survival was shown in the film “Soul Surfer” directed by Sean McNamara. The first aspect of survival that was shown is how fast things can change when Bethany, Alana, Byron are in the truck on the way to the surf spot with holt driving, and with the music cranked. The viewer hears “this is a good one. Oh, that looks good, doesn’t it? All right, we’re here let’s hit it… Try and keep up with us”. This shows that Bethany and Alana don’t have a care in the world, they’re living up life. They knew that their was always that chance they could get bitten by a shark but they took that risk “ You’re only given one little spark of madness,you mustn’t lose it.”~Robin Williams. “I wonder what bathing suit I should wear to the shoot, the pinks cute but the black really works with my tan… Can you believe we get to come out here every day?” The viewer also sees these two girls following their dreams, they surf because it’s exhilarating because it’s what they love to do, this can be compared to “Touching The Void” which shows Joe and Simon feeling the same way about climbing mountains. They all know the consequences; each of them know at any moment they could possibly die but they do it because it gives them life. It gives them their place in the world; “when you stop doing things for fun you might aswell be dead”~Hemingway.  The film then shows the shark attacking Bethany Hamilton., Bethany lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark. in Maui Hawaii. By this stage there was a huge trail of blood pouring out behind Bethany, the viewer hears a quick response. “DAD!, ALANAL!, SHARK,” Bethany calmly replies with “i need to get to the beach.” This shows that even though you’re not blood related your friends will still try to do anything they can to help you survive; as was shown of Holt, Alana and Byron. Alana showed herself to be calm and collected and was thinking of things that she could do to stay alive to make it easier for her friends. This part of the film can be related back to the film “Rabbit Proof Fence” when the viewer witnesses a close-up showing Molly putting the socks on and carrying the girls over the rocks to stop their tracks from being noticed. We then see a point of view shot showing Moodoo following their tracks and a low-angle shot which shows his slight smile as he realizes what the girls have done. Even though Moodoo isn’t blood related he knows whats right so he helps the girls stay alive by letting them slip past continue the last part of their journey. For me this relates great because Moodoo is helping the girls carry on their journey home which helps the girls survive in an aboriginal culture; and one the other hand Bethany has just been bitten by a great white shark and everyone is helping her to survive so that she could follow her dreams and live her life. Even though they were both suffering traumatic pain they stayed calm and their fellow friends did what was right.

A second aspect of survival that was shown in the text “Soul Surfer” was when it came to life or death for Bethany as they used a defibrillator on her to keep her alive, as soon as they used a defibrillator she had a life flash. Bethany was riding this wave called a barrel, she was deciding if she wanted to die: not make it through the barrel or survive make it through the barrel. She notices the light at the end of the barrel and surfs herself out; because she had hope in herself and she was committed to survive. The viewer hears from Holt “you were amazing out there. You were the one who kept me calm. You never. . . you never let go. You are incredibly brace, Bethany.” This shows even the slightest of hope or encouragement can push individuals to make extreme decisions; to stay alive or to pass. This can be related to the “Rabbit Proof Fence” when Molly and Daisy start to become delirious from dehydration, malnutrition and exhaustion. Which is shown in a slow-motion montage sequence revealing the girls walking through the desert. They are thin, stumbling, confused and exhausted. A series of close-ups show the girls’ faces and legs, blur in and out of focus. Finally, they collapse and an overhead shot shows them looking vulnerable in a fetal position. This is a perfect comparison of Bethany in her life flash barrel. Both these scenes show their life or death defining decisions; “never base your life decisions on advice from people who don’t have to deal with the results”~unknown. Bethany had to overcome her wave and Molly had to believe in her culture, they had to bring their self image to justice.

The nature of survival was shown in the text “I am not esther” written by Fleur Beale. The first aspect of survival that is shown is the re-appearance of Maggie’s sister. This was shown when Esther and her new family went down to the lake to have a picnic lunch. Esther and her family packed up and were heading back to the van. The text states Maggie tugged at my hand, then followed my glance. She stood dead still and her face went white as he swans on the lake. “Miriam!” she screamed and her voice sent shivers right through me. “its Miriam! Its Miriam’s ghost!” My own heart was doing a tap dance. But that girl was no ghost. She was flesh and blood and her clothes were real…But Uncle Caleb said sharply, “hurry along, Esther. Put Magdalene in the vehicle, if you please.” He looked at the girl. At Miriam. His daughter. His eyes swept right over her as if she didn’t exist. This shows family, blood rejection. Uncle Caleb rejects his own daughter because she didn’t follow the rules of the house. This scene about Miriam feeling dead and rejection relates to how Bethany felt when she was told she might not be able to ever surf again. its just that feeling you feel in the bottom of your tummy, they both had very mixed emotions.

A second aspect of survival that was shown in the text “I am not esther” written by Fleur Beale was family rejection. Esther would look after her, pay the bills decide what to have for dinner, but that all came to a change when her mothers past came back to haunt her. Kirby’s mother had fully rejected her, she dumped Kirby off at her uncles house to grow up with the “rule”. Esther could not take anymore religious antics so on her first day of school she went to her counsellor. the viewer reads “its not about that,” I said, hesitating and stumbling and tripping over my words the way my feet did over my dumb skirt. “at least, its not really. its about…” and to my absolute, total horror, I burst into tears. we can see that since Esther has been living with her mums family she has bottled up most of her emotions as she had no one and no time to talk about them. She was restricted, inclosed and rebellious as she had to keep her emotions inside her. this scene reflects how Bethany felt after she came home from the hospital. people would look at her differently, she wanted to look strong and not weak so she bottled up her emotions. Bethany went and talked to her god mentor. they both seemed to lt their problems out to someone older with more experience and motivation in life.

 Caleb Pilgrim

It is clear that the nature of survival for everyone is different, people take risks this is clearly true in the texts “Touching The Void” written by Joe Simpson, “Rabbit Proof Fence” directed by Philip Noyce, “Soul Surfer” directed by Sean McNamara, “I am not Esther” written by Fleur Beale. These texts and films all relate to some type of survival. The texts and films I have chosen, each have their own unique storyline which show their compassion and determination. I have learnt through these texts that each individual survives different ways, because of their values, beliefs, family and the people around them. No ones perfect and some people just want to stay alive and others would put people before their lives, we all make mistakes and in these texts we see very different points of view. 

~Struggles are required in order to survive in life, because in order to stand up, you gotta know what falling down is like.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Jordan, you have made valuable connections between the texts and you have included how they show aspects of survival in places. I do feel that your “connections” need to be stronger and developed to be clear. Firstly read through these final lines of your points and ensure that the connections between texts are completed. You have also used MANY film techniques and quotations for your text discussions, but not all of this information is needed. Edit your examples so that the MOST important examples are showcased from the texts; these examples will be most relevant to your discussion. Please complete this essay in the next two lessons in class, and read through it carefully to find simplistic word, spelling and punctuation errors.

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  2. Jordan, in the first week of Term 4, you will be given time to finalise your “Significant Connections” assessment. Key areas to strengthen:
    1) Complete your analysis of your four texts.
    2) When discussing aspects of survival for each text, stay on topic. If you state in the opening line that you are going to discuss a certain aspect of survival for a text, then you need to keep your discussion focused towards explaining this aspect (with evidence).
    3) You are giving a lot of description for the text but very little analysis about what the evidence shows about survival: reduce this plot description to the most relevant details and develop your analysis and comparisons between texts.
    4) Please read through your assessment carefully out loud, to find the punctuation (capital letters and full-stops), word and spelling errors. You need to tighten-up the accuracy of your assessment, overall.
    – Please speak with me if you have questions about the structure of this assessment.
    – Well done for the work that you have completed thus far.

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