Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mean Creek Essay #1

Describe an important idea in the text.
Explain how verbal and or visual features of the text help you understand.

An important idea in the film Mean Creek directed by Jacob Aaron Estes is revenge and consequences. This idea is conveyed through the verbal features music and dialogue and the visual features of lighting. Through the use of these techniques we are able to understand the ideas much more clearly.

The theme or idea of revenge and consequences plays an important part in the film. Revenge is the act of getting back at someone or responding to something that a person did that showed disrespect. This could either be targeted directly at one person or someone they cared about. The actions of a person getting revenge leads to a consequence whether it be positive or negative but in most cases related to revenge it is a negative consequence.

The first technique that alleviates the viewers understanding of the theme of revenge and consequences is music. There was an absence of music during the intense argument on the boat but that soon changed. When George fell into the water he became disorientated and hit his head on the camera. Almost instantly the music began when he bled from the hit and stopped struggling. The verbal technique of music took over as the dominant verbal feature in the scene symbolising revenge and consequences. The use of music when George died represented the end of George’s life and also the beginning of the other characters’ consequences. The music sparked the realisation of the characters’ actions and the full extent of their consequences. The silence or absence of music occupied the scene of the argument in the boat while revenge was a large role until George fell into the water and died. The music that played during this time changed the tone of the scene from a loud and bitter scene to a quiet and fearful or panicked tone.

Another technique that helps the viewer to understand the theme of revenge and consequences is the use of dialogue. A turning point in the film is when George continues to chant “all over the wall!” at Marty. This repetitive chanting begins to irritate Rocky while Marty stands up and walks towards George with the intention of hurting him. Rocky gets in the way to prevent confrontation but at the same time is annoyed with George’s chanting. When Rocky angrily yells at George to stop he accidentally pushes George making George lose his balance and fall into the creek. George begins to call out as he struggles afloat. His actions had a severe and fatal consequence because his constant chanting had attracted hate from Marty. George’s consequence was portrayed by dialogue when he cried out for help to inform the audience of George struggling. The calling out for help supported the theme of consequences as his revenge only landed him in danger.

The visual technique of lighting helps to portray the theme of revenge and consequences. In the film when George is dragged out of the water by Rocky the scene becomes darker giving the impression that something cruel has happened. When Sam, Rocky, Clyde and Millie decide to finally to confess to George’s mother a light switches on and shines on them. The visual feature of lighting subtly informs the audience in the change of tone in the film. When the lighting darkened it symbolised the end of George’s life as a result of revenge gone too far. The light that shone on Sam, Rocky, Clyde and Millie in a way represented them owning up to their action and doing the right thing. The visual feature of lighting embodies the emotions of the characters and the choices they made.

An important idea in the film Mean Creek directed by Jacob Aaron Estes is revenge and consequences. This idea is conveyed through verbal feature of music and dialogue and visual feature of lighting. These features help to improve the viewer’s understanding of the theme.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Are we really clean and green?

New Zealand has always thrived itself on being a clean green country but is it true or is New Zealand a fraud? It seems to be the case after many studies have taken place revealing the true image of the country’s environment. New Zealand has exaggerated their image with the “100% pure New Zealand” slogan, increased in greenhouse gas emissions and a reduced quality of water. However there have been improvements in order to maintain the clean green image.

People from all over the world visit New Zealand to see the breathtaking and eco-friendly wonders that it boasts but there is doubt that it is one hundred percent pure New Zealand. The advertising of New Zealand as a clean and green country is only a marketing strategy to increase the economy.
“We’re a small nation and a long way away from our market, so we’re at a disadvantage automatically,” says Kevin Hackwell who is a conservation manager at Forest & Bird who also says that “We have to sell our products at a premium, which we can do if we market them as clean and green.” The tourism industry is extremely important to the economy not only because it is worth to be around one billion dollars annually but because the exports make up ninety percent of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Sean Weaver who is an environmental studies lecturer at Victoria University once said, “The image is hugely important for New Zealand in terms of trade.” This proved to be true when the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) commissioned a study called “Valuing New Zealand’s Clean Green Image.” They reported that if the country did not exaggerate their image then international consumers would purchase less fifty four percent less dairy products. Not to mention that tourists would reduce their stay by fifty eight percent harming the tourist industry.
The importance of New Zealand’s advertising is very high as a lot of income is raked in. So the economy relies heavily on the success of the marketing strategy which is to present New Zealand as a clean and green country even if if it isn't "100% true".

Global warming has been felt by many countries and New Zealand is no different. There has been an increase in greenhouse gas emissions which contributes to the fact that New Zealand is not really clean and green.
For such a small nation it is alarming to know that New Zealand is only slightly behind the United Kingdom for the rate of emissions of carbon dioxide. The country also holds the ninth highest rating of household waste and eleventh highest in energy consumption. Does this sound clean to you? Obviously not. The city that could be blamed for this is Auckland. Auckland is home to the sky tower and is the city of sails. It is also home to more than one million people. The country’s largest and busiest city has had many debates on ways of accommodating the increasing population and especially the ways of transport. Only two percent of Aucklander’s use public which has significantly dropped from fifty eight percent in the 1950’s. Although more people are using public transport New Zealand still stands as the second highest rate of car ownership in the world. The high level of pollution has many negative effects on the natural resources and can harm lives of human beings or species.
The greenhouse gases are increasing which is staining the clean and green image that New Zealand is internationally known for. This is because of the excessive amount of fuel and waste energy consumed everyday

It is not only our air that is suffocating from pollution as our water is drowning with pollution present. The level of pollution in the water is due to the sewage flowing into the rivers and lakes.
Many of the North land lowland waterways are unsuccessful in meeting the health guidelines. Farming has suffered from the polluted water which has forced farmers to cut back on farm land used. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research found that the clean, green image New Zealand believes they hold is no longer true for the water. The research conducted revealed that almost ninety five percent of lowland rivers and streams have high levels of faecal bacteria. If people are exposed to levels of bacteria like ones found in the research then it could harm a person’s health by increasing their chance of getting gastrointestinal illness. Polluted water could hurt a farmer financially as they would have to pay expenses to clean the water and so on.
If the level of pollution in water continues to escalate then New Zealand may as well say goodbye to it's pristine clean waters that it is known for on a global scale. Pollution's deadly contributions to New Zealand's environment is causing many unwanted events to occur which in return is proving to be costly not only for farmers and people who use the polluted water but also for the natural resource itself.

In 2007 The Environment New Zealand report was released and the results were surprising and unexpected reporting an increase in pressure on the environment resulting in negative effects. However on the positive side there have been improvements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.More people are using public transport, trading in their old and larger cars for more eco friendly ones and also waste management and recycling has improved with the introduction of the big blue recycle bins and smaller red lid bins.
These methods of reducing pollution will hopefully ease the strain it has on the environment.

New Zealand has successfully been recognised as a clean and green country by the world with green pastures, huge population of sheep and bluer than blue skies. But the exaggeration of the slogan “100% pure New Zealand”, increase in greenhouse emissions and reduced quality of water is starting to reveal a much uglier image of the nation. However attempts to improve these states are beginning to emerge giving back New Zealand’s competitive edge in the tourism industry and honestly claim they are clean and green.