Texts have the ability to both influence the values, ideas and behaviour of responders and to reveal how

human experiences can also lead to profound changes in human values, ideas and behaviour. The texts Notes (NSW RTA Television Commercials 2007), and What s Eating Gilbert Grape? (Directed by Lasse Hallstrom), whilst having very different purposes and contexts, both reveal that humans must, at times, be forced into changing their perspectives so as to lead to a significant change in behaviour. Both texts reinforce that such change may require pain, angst and a profound disturbance to the familiar. Texts may be composed to consciously and explicitly influence the behaviour of responders through highly emotive techniques designed to challenge the existing values and perspective of the target audience, in this case, younger, inexperienced drivers. The RTA television commercial Notes is an exemplary illustration of this, with its representation of the personal and family impact of youth speeding and associated fatalities. The commercial utilizes a personal element in the text to engage and connect with the responder. The use of handwritten notes, the setting of a family home, and the placing of household objects contributes to a personal connection with the audience, as does the context of the notes using informal language to more effectively communicate with the teenage target audience. Establishing a connection with the audience is an effective way of getting the main point of the text across and influencing ideas. The soundtrack features slow, acoustic guitar music. The sad sound of the music reflects the sombre nature of the commercial and encourages the audience to empathise with the families of the deceased people mentioned towards the end of the commercial. Empathy is a strong tool, and when used correctly can lead to an influence on behaviour and values in responders. The text in the ad contributes to the effectiveness of the message, both the notes and the superimposed text. Each of the notes features a word that is synonymous with rush dash, running, rushing, bolt, run which links with the main focus of speeding-related deaths. Also, the addition of a real person s name, and the date of their birth and death, reinforces the connection between behaviour and consequence. This makes the responder think actively about the consequences and put themselves in that situation. The film What s Eating Gilbert Grape? , whilst obviously having a fundamentally different context to Notes , illustrates that changing behaviour, particularly if entrenched, is often the consequence of transformed or disturbed values and perspective. Such change is skilfully depicted in the film as often being related to profound emotional pain and trauma.

A study of the film s central character, Gilbert Grape, as portrayed by Johnny Depp, provides a powerful illustration of this. The stark contrast between the opening and closing scenes is a clear indicator of how a traumatic event can greatly change someone s perspective. While the actual appearance of the scene is similar in both, the mood and context show the clear juxtaposition of Gilbert s attitude and the overall feel of the film between the opening and closing scenes. The opening scene begins with a long shot of a country road, and disembodied voices. Gilbert s voice is apathetic and bored, and lacking emotion. The shot moves to one of the two brothers, and it is then that we establish that Arnie has a personality disorder. Gilbert stays seated on the ground as Arnie moves around, showing the contrast between their moods. There is a sense of staleness, as watching the caravans come through the town is a yearly ritual of theirs, and this suggests that Gilbert is not particularly fond of it, but does it because Arnie enjoys it. Gilbert s reluctance to move reflects the way his life is stuck in one place, not moving forward. In addition, Arnie s words to Gilbert You re shrinking Gilbert, you re shrinking, suggest the same, that Gilbert is not progressing in his life, rather he is almost moving backwards. In comparison, Gilbert s attitude in the ending scene is greatly different. He is now standing, and looks excited to see the procession of caravans. He shares the glee with Arnie, and speaks to him more like a brother than a burden. His life no longer seems like it is going nowhere, and the entire mood of the scene is one of hope and new beginnings. While it is apparent that Becky s longer hair suggests a moderate frame of time has passed, this small change can also be a symbol of new and better things the longer hair suggests a more carefree, relaxed attitude. Gilbert s behaviour between the opening and closing scene reinforces the notion that a deeply emotional event may be necessary to invoke a positive change in someone s ideas and perspectives. While the two texts mentioned are very different from each other, and they both portray their key message in different ways, they both suggest and reiterate the concept of beneficial change arising from a disturbance to what is familiar and comfortable to a person, and a shock to their current ideas, values, behaviours and perspectives.

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