Language helps us share other people’s experiences. Explain how this is achieved in The Shoehorn Sonata and at least two other texts. Language helps us share other people’s experience. In the play the Shoe Horn Sonata by John Misto, the use of symbolism, stage directions and dialogue enables the audience to feel empathy for the character as does the language used in the film Apocolyto and in the painting “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by Holly Wong. The Shoe Horn Sonata makes references to actual historical events and places.
With the incorporation of many literary devices used in dialogue and language techniques working together, the play creates a sense of realism. This allows the audience to feel empathy and engagement with the characters and situations. Engaging the audience is a distinctive feature that permits the interaction of the themes of heroism, sacrifice and friendship, as well as survival and resilience. Heroism is a key theme in the play, and is evident from the first time that Bridie and Sheila meet each other.
When Sheila begins to “nod off” Bridie hits her with her shoe-horn to stop her from drowning. While Bridie recalls it as a “tap-tap-tap” Sheila uses a hyperbolized onomatopoeia and recalls it as more of a “whack-whack-whack”. This shows the diverse characteristic of each protagonist but displays the friendship to keep the other alive. Sacrifice is demonstrated through Sheila’s act of offering up her virginity to a Japanese soldier, Lipstick Larry, to obtain quinine to save Bridie’s life.
Even though Sheila is traumatized by her own act for over fifty years, she manages to reveal the truth to Bridie, which in itself is a huge difficulty, but still very definitively she retorts that “I’d do it all again, if I had to. ” This shows that even after all the physical and psychological hardships encountered during the war, Sheila is still willing to make heroic sacrifices for Bridie. This use of language helps the audience to experience empathy for Sheila who sacrificed the only thing that was a sacred asset to her.
When Bridie repeats her moral position of Sheila actions, her dialogue uses a disgusted tone. “Sleeping with a Jap? I’d never have done that” The rift in the friendship, shown by the isolated spotlights for each character in the stage directions, makes the audience realize that the language used between the characters is very defensive and aggravated. However even though a rift forms, humor is revealed in both the characters to act as a mask to hide their true fears and thoughts. While Bridie and Sheila reveal pieces of their past they laugh and tell jokes about incident at the camp.
Like when the Australian government sent a message to the women to “keep smiling”, irony was used in this enigmatic expression, because the women were placed under such horrendous prison conditions. This emphasizes to the audience the government’s lack of sympathy in assisting the women. Another example was when Bridie “stitched a rusty pin into Lipstick Larry’s loin-cloth. ” The audience feels a sense of brief glimpses of happiness as they digest the anguish that must have been felt by the women at the time. Survival and resilience is displayed through the language as well.
An example of this was when the women in the POW camp formed a vocal orchestra. The music of “Bolero” sung by the choir allows the audience to realise the unity of “Fifty voices and a shoe-horn” as they refuse to be defeated by the patriarchy of the Japanese. But as hopeful as they were, years down the track incidents occurred that made those women feel like, “I’d never really left…” Sheila is metaphorically dwelling in the past, and may be suffering from post traumatic stress due to the incidents that she encountered. The language used between the two sets is also different.
The interview for Rick’s show is formal and polite as if the characters are trying to hide their true selves. However back in the motel room a different persona exists. The use of colloquialism between Sheila and Bridie is shown in the dialogue and use of the term “Japs” or “Nips” shows the little respect that remains towards any Japanese people. The Shoe horn Sonata portrays how language helps the audience share other people’s experiences. In a similar way, the film Apocolypto directed by Mel Gibson depicts the journey of a tribesman who must escape human sacrifice nd rescue his family after the capture and destruction of his village. The themes of atrocities and also survival and resilience are explored in a very visual manner throughout the film. The use of subtitles accompanying the dialogue sets the scene for an ancient civilization using a selective dialect. Atrocities are shown from the start of the film, which begins with a quotation from Will Durant: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within”. The use of this extended metaphor emphasizes that together they were a great society.
Strong and powerful as a whole, but slowly power and control is divided to certain segments of the community forcing a collapse in the empire. So rather than blaming the external factors of food hunting and divided groups, it is really the internal factors of individuals competing for control that forces a civilized society to crumble from within. “I saw a hole in the Man, deep like a hunger he will never fill. ‘ It is what makes him sad and what makes him want. He will go on taking and taking, until one day the World will say, ‘I am no more and I have nothing left to give. ’”
The fortitude and denominating power behind the statement “I am Flint Sky. I have hunted this forest from the day I came of age. My father hunted this forest with me, and before me. Jaguar Paw, my son. He hunts this forest with me. He will hunt it with his son, after I am gone. ” Shows that for generations the cycle of life will continue and no matter what comes in the way, son after son will hunt the forests with pride. The language used creates an empathic response to the audience, as they are about to read what is being said while watching the determined expression and defiant and powerful stance of the tribe leader as he says this.
Survival and resilience is shown in the way that Jaguar Paw was able to rebound back after watching his friends and family die, his home being burnt to the ground and having to leave his pregnant wife and child in a hole in the ground while he was brutily taken away to be sacrificed. In the end all he wants for his family is, “Our lands were ravaged. We seek a new beginning. ” A new start to forget the torments of life. The audience understands from this that, what happened in the past, stays in the past and Jaguar Paw is moving on from it, like many others should do in situations of hardship and turmoil.
The third related text is ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother’. If this painting were to be turned into language the probable expectations for the painting would be the themes of survival and resilience, and friendship. This painting depicts an older brother carrying his dead younger brother away in war-torn Iraq. This particular painting depicts the suffering of people but also the incredible tenderness and love that is felt between these two individuals. Since love is universal, the viewer is about to feel an emotional response or empathy towards the feelings of tenderness and relate to the loss that the older brother feels.
In addition, it portrays the chaos of the environment through the swirling energy of the marks and the older brother’s determination to carry his younger family member to safety. Overall, the play ‘The Shoe-horn Sonata’, the film Apocolyto and the painting “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” shows how language helps us share other people’s experiences. Though examining the dialogue, the stage directions, and the imagery used that forms language this was achieved.