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Textual form has heavily shaped my own understanding of conflicting perspectives through the way people’s opinions and perspectives are displayed through the use of language techniques such as satire and the constant juxtaposing of emotions, storytelling and the discernment of others perspectives. The Justice Game written by Geoffrey Robertson is a personal account of high profile cases that he himself personally attended and defended the all too commonly marginalised as Robertson saw himself on more than one occasion ‘as the carrier of the banner for alternate society’. The justice Game is abundant with great stories, commonly Robertson facing conservative thinking parties and his view thrust upon the reader as a means of recruiting the readers sub-conscious to agree with himself. This is evident particularly in ‘the trials of Oz’ and ‘the Romans in Britain’ as they clearly display the discerning, satirical and storytelling elements of textual form in the Justice Game. Tim Robbins film, Dead Man Walking reveals the conflicting perspectives felt within a community as well as the viewer in relation to their own view on capital punishment but more so the notion of ‘justice’. Robbins achieves this through developing and exploring different textual forms from the views and image of Matthew Poncelet, the convicted murderer and rapist within the community and more importantly Sister Helen Prejean. George Orwell’s The Hanging reveals the displacement felt within a guard about the act of hanging a condemned man. The use of juxtaposing, or the juggling human emotion through the use of similes as well as metaphors is how Orwell has used textual form in this poem to shape my understanding of conflicting perspectives. ‘The Trials of Oz’ is a representation of Robertson’s personal vendetta against conservative thinking society and Robertson’s personal crusade of being “the carrier of the banner of alternative society”. Robertson gains the readers support through the use of his master story telling skills and his constant discernment and irrelevance placed upon his competitors by himself. ‘The Trials of Oz’ is Robertson’s account of the Crown Prosecution against the Oz editors due to the corruption of public morals and the publication of obscene images. Robertson implies this case as a miscarriage of justice due to the disregarding of free speech and British citizens basic rights. Robertson depicts the editors of Oz as good and noble men who are about to be dealt a “miscarriage of justice” through the hands of the ruthless “Judge Argyle”. Textual form is used in Robertson’s satirical and mockery description of Judge Argyle’s backward actions which is used to Juxtapose Robertson against Argyle as the man in right. This is evident in Robertson’s description of Argyle’s “three year sentences to three youths who vandalised telephone boxes” as Argyle saw these youths as “delinquents who represented the evils of permissible society”. Robertson exposes this “miscarriage of justice” in the form of the selected jury members over the desired by the Oz editors. Robertson juxtaposes the jury of “hardhats from every site in Kent” to the editors desired “gay actor, the level minded lecturer” who should be their jury. This use of textual form reveals the “miscarriage of justice” and positions the reader to agree with Robinson but more to feel sympathy for Oz editors. Robertson specifically placed this information into this novel to deliberately associate himself with the emerging but now prominent “permissible society” that the readers are enveloped in. Robertson’s ability to use textual form to his advantage shapes the entire novel The Justice game, which is in itself an extended metaphor for the way justice is played with in the legal system, shapes the readers view of Robertson as this protector of the marginalised and a warrior against any great “miscarriage of justice”. This is how Robertson uses textual form to present his conflicting perspective of justice against that of Argyles and how it has deepened my own interpretation of conflicting perspectives. ‘The Romans in Britain’ is another example of how Robertson uses his ability of storytelling and willingness to discern others opinions to promote his view on events but more importantly his selfless acts of defence against the “marginalised society” who produced a play that was “too early for its time”. The play revolves around the concepts of sex, nudism and most importantly homosexuality that “did not suit the mentality of a cold-war set Britain”. Textual form is evident from the beginning in this chapter as the chapter reads familiarly like a novel, or a well written story. Robertson immediately uses the power of satire and discernment in the description of the instigator in this famous case, Mrs Mary Whitehouse. Robertson explains how Whitehouse
was “utterly disgraced” in these acts of “severe buggery” and how Whitehouse biblically “gird her loins”. He places Whitehouse in the category of a fundamentalist religious crusader to depict her as the image of previous generations and backward thought to today’s society. The simple use of Mrs is used to place her in this category of ‘old’ and is juxtaposed against the Robertson’s client, “Ken”. “Ken” is used to present a sense of comfort and to associate him with today’s thoughts and customs. Robertson pleads that Ken “is the most innocent of sophisticates who only aimed to titillate not terrify”. This softness and use of sophisticated language juxtaposes Whitehouse’s use of uneducated slang such as “buggery” and subliminally makes the reader side with Ken but more importantly Robertson. This is how Robertson uses textual form to reveal the conflicting perspectives of himself and that of Mary Whitehouse who represented “ a cold-war set Britain” and it is through his techniques that my understanding of conflicting perspectives has deepened. Tim Robbins film, Dead Man Walking has the ability to use various textual forms in the ways of aural and visual techniques throughout the film to reveal conflicting perspectives in both the disjointed community and the viewer’s own subconscious. Dead Man Walking forces the viewer into the mental tug of war on their own opinion on capital punishment but more importantly the redemption of a condemned man. Robbins achieves this by developing a relationship with Matthew Poncelet, the convicted murder and rapist through Sister Helen Prejean. Robbins plays on the aural form to depict Poncelet as your typical uneducated redneck through his constant uneducated and blatantly stupid statements such as “Hitler got things done, he was a hero” forces the viewer to feel a sense of hatred and develop a negative impression on Poncelet. Robbins juxtaposes this view within the viewer through the relationship that is developing between Poncelet and Sister Prejean. Poncelet’s character and desire to live is revealed to the audience through conversations and pleads to god through his mediator, Sister Prejean; “I don’t want to leave this world”. The first major conflicting perspective is shown in the conversation between Mr Percy, the father of the male victim and Sister Prejean. Percy confronts Prejean and says “how can you stand next to him.. He’s not a man he’s an animal”. This is juxtaposed with Prejean’s response and perspective “I’m just trying to follow the example of Jesus, who said that a person is not as bad as their worst deed”. This softer response juxtaposes that of the general public. The Intertextuality with biblical references introduces the viewer’s religious preference and forces this element into their interpretation of the death penalty. The relationship between Poncelet and Prejean turn to one of redemption, thus confusing the audience and creating conflicting feelings within themselves. Robbins uses the visual form to further complicate the audience’s feelings and perspective or Poncelet and the pending execution. Flashbacks to the actual murder occur throughout the film, always in a gloomy light that then fades to only the murder and rape visible. This forces the viewer to agree with the public’s view of Poncelet as “an animal” and that as a feral animal he should be exterminated. Robbins final use of visual form is that creates conflicting emotions and perspectives within the audience is evident in the execution scene where Poncelet is strapped to the table resembling a man on the cross. This is not necessarily done to represent Jesus, but a criminal seeking forgiveness. Poncelet says “I hope my death gives you some relief”, this statement juxtaposes his previous ones such as “Hitler got things done” and displays to the viewer that Poncelet has found peace and redemption. The most powerful image is found in the final execution scene where Poncelet and Prejean are staring each other in the eye and the words “I love you” are lipped, Prejean is smiling and the faces of the others in the viewing room are juxtaposed by their cold, stern expressions. Robbins achieves and displays conflicting perspectives only within characters in the film but the viewer through his use of powerful and effective audial and visual techniques and images. This is how Robbins use of textual forms has deepened my understanding of conflicting perspectives. George Orwell’s The Hanging reveals the personal disgust felt by a guard on the concept of hanging and executing a “healthy man” on orders of another man. Orwell uses morbid imagery as his main type of textual form as his vivid descriptions of the proceedings as well as the actual execution present a horrible and utterly immoral act of unnecessary death. Orwell starts the writing with the simile “a sickly light, like yellow tinfoil, was slanting over the high walls into the jail yard”, this is used to reveal the melancholy of the situation that the prisoner and guards are about to experience together. Orwell describes how the condemned cells
resembled “small animal cages” this is juxtaposed against the description of the man that is removed from this ‘cage’; “puny wisp of a man, with a shaven head and vague liquid eyes”. Orwell uses textual form in terms of descriptive realism to create a mental image of the prisoner walking to the gallows and the sudden realisation by Orwell of the wrong in the situation; “each muscle slid neatly into place”/ “he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path”. Orwell states; “but till that moment I had never realized what It means to destroy a healthy, conscious man…the unspeakable wrongness of cutting a life short when it is in full tide”. This motif is found throughout the entire piece of writing as many metaphors about death and sadness are constantly reoccurring. Orwell also uses onomatopoeia in terms of “destroying”/“cutting”/”snap” as a way to reveal the harshness and brutal act that is unfolding before his eyes. The tone of the writing from this point onwards only deteriorates and become more depressing and pace slows naturally. The conflicting perspective is discovered after the death of the man whilst the guards used humour to overcome the enormous situation they were just a part of; “all at once everyone began chattering gaily”/” several people laughed- at what, nobody seemed certain”. This avenue of escape allows the guards to continue and hide from the dirty deed they had just committed, however Orwell reveals how this situation forced him to reveal the wrong and develop his own perspective on the taking of life. This is how Orwell used textual form that deepened my own understanding of conflicting perspectives. Through the study of Geoffrey Robinson’s The Justice Game, Tim Robbins Dead Man Walking and George Orwell’s the Hanging, it became clear to me how deeply these text’s textual forms influenced my own understanding of conflicting perspectives. It is clear how individuals can present and disregard others opinions through the use of satire, imagery, discernment and the ability to tell a great story. It is with these types of textual form that my own understanding of conflicting perspectives has been formed.
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