Discovery Is Part Of Human Condition. Year 12 English Essay

1525 words - 7 pages

The experiences and situations confronted by individuals in their daily life influence their perception of others and themselves. Consequently, discovery is part of the human condition. This perspective on discovery is explored through Ivan O’Mahoney’s documentary Go Back to Where You Came From (GBTWYCF) (2011) in which six participants undertook a journey of a ‘refugee experiment’, all of whom have their perception of so-called ‘boat people’ transformed. WH Auden’s poem ‘Refugee Blues’ also explores this perspective by presenting the abuse of human rights and the suffering of all refugees from first person. GBTWYCF and Refugee Blues stimulate public debate on the controversial issue of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Both texts explore discoveries that are emotional and confronting and that offer renewed perceptions of individuals and themselves.
All participants are subject to emotional discoveries in GBTWYCF in intensely meaningful ways. The emotional insights change the participants original perceptions of themselves and others. This is particularly evident mid-way through Episode One of the series when close-up shots of Raye Colbey (63 yrs., retired social worker from SA) during her interaction with the Masudi family portray her weeping in sympathy for Maisara’s “lost baby”. This contradicts her cruel statement “I could’ve gone over there with a gun and shot the lot of them” (referring to asylum seekers) made at the very beginning of Episode One. The emotional connection with the Masudi family allows Raye to “understand where she’s coming from… I’ve had trouble carrying pregnancies through”. Raye’s emotional discovery of unity despite cultural and racial barriers is demonstrated through O’Mahoney’s utilisation of individual interviewing in this sequence. In Episode Three (21:07) Ray states “there’s a lot of people… that do not see what is really happening” during an eye-level shot and panning between refugee family and Raye. The panning shot reflects what Ray is saying. It reveals the emotional hardships refugees are going through to the audience. It is presenting to the audience what is really happening. This moment of enlightenment demonstrates an evolution in social awareness and empathy for the refugee experienced by Raye. It also challenges the responder who is viewing the footage. To allow Raye to confront the “heartbreaking” nature of the experience, O’Mahoney carefully constructs a montage to illustrate her continuous emotional journey in The Response.
Correspondingly, emotional discovery is an idea reflected in Auden’s ‘Refugee Blues’. The connotations of “Blues” in the title of the poem relate to emotional music. Blue is associated with feeling troubled or upset and therefore the word reveals the grim reality of the situation, where a beautiful world fails to provide for and protect refugees. By placing “Refugee” in front of the word “Blues”, Auden suggests the troubles and unhappiness felt by the refugees themselves. The...

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