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Critical Analysis of Looking for Alibrandi and Swashbuckler Essay

Imagine, you are a 12-year-old boy, just about to make the transition from primary to high school, and your father is dying from cancer. Would you want to face the dragon or run away…? In everyone’s lives, there are challenges that alter peoples view on themselves and their world. This may or may not have positive outcomes, for one or two of the people involved, but we must all understand the consequences, whether good or bad, of changing perspectives.

Josephine as a character in Kate Woods’ film “Looking for Alibrandi” highlights the ups and downs of being a teenage girl in turmoil, trying to find her own way in a community where she “doesn’t belong”, to find a positive outcome in what she feels is a world not made for people like her, especially with her Father trying to participate in her life again, when she has never really known him by anything other than name.

Similarly, in James Moloney’s short story “Swashbuckler”, after the protagonist, Anton’s father has cancer and he is fearful of “the dragon“ and refuses to visit his father, but towards the end of the story his friend makes him realise that his dad is not the dragon, the cancer is, and Anton’s father is the prince trapped in his cave, so Anton finally agrees to see his father in hospital, and watches him “wither away” In both of these texts, a range of visual and language techniques are used to present these changes in perspective to their audiences successfully.

A change in perspective can be tough, but there is always some small light at the end of the tunnel. For Josie, her change in perspective towards her father, Michael Andretti, has a positive impact, as this changing relationship allows her to grow in her understanding of herself and her cultural identity. This change allows Josie to grow and mature, and realise that her father was not the monster she created him as when she was growing up, and display to the viewer how much she really needed her father in her life so she felt complete.

Kate Woods creates the initial hatred of Michael Andretti through the use of diegetic sound as a plane flew over Nonna’s house when the small family were yelling at each other. This scene was a clear point about how much Josie resented her father for leaving her and her mother on their own, and because of all the horrible names she had been called her whole life because the schools she always went to were “all about what your father does for a living”. Josie’s catalyst for her change in perspective was when she broke Carly’s nose after getting sick of being called names.

Michael showed her that he cared about her by taking time away from his work to “rescue” her from getting kicked out of school. Once she had accepted her father, Josie’s character was happier and more forgiving. Through the use of pleonastic music in the scene where Josie is staying for the weekend at her father’s house, and the repetition of the lyrics “in an unguarded moment” both highlight the raw happy emotion that she has finally come to terms with the fact that her father is in her life now. The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of 2 chemical substances: if there is a reaction, both are transformed. ” – A quote from psychologist Carl Jung. James Moloney portrays this notion perfectly in his short story “Swashbuckler”.

The narrator, peter, meets the protagonist Anton at the beginning of the story as he is being bullied by the thugs at their school, when Anton rescues peter from “imminent death” The use of a cliche “Ask not my name, but whether my cause be just. Highlights Anton’s attitude to life and wanting to help other people rather than face his own harsh troubles. Anton’s initiator for his change in perspective was when his newfound friend, peter, forced him to face the thought of his dad and the possibility of not having one anymore, and tries to persuade him to visit his dad. The use of confronting emotional language “…”it was your father. He was the dragon. ” – Peter “Yes. Yes, yes, yes. My father’s turned into a dragon and I don’t know what to do about it.

I’m so afraid and I’m ashamed that I’m afraid” – Anton” evokes a strong feeling of empathy towards the young boys, and their situations. When Peter finally convinces Anton that his father is a prince trapped in a dragon’s lair, and they go and visit him in the hospital. The use of thought-provoking emotional language” “But what’s going to happen…after? ” –Anton” “you’ll manage Anton, I know you will” – Anton’s Father “what if I haven’t dad? How can I know whether I’m brave enough? – Anton “outlines Anton’s raw emotion and fear for his father no longer being in his life, and the fear of this being his last memory of his father, but also has the innocence of a child just wanting the “sickness” to “get better”. The notion that a difference in perception can either be a positive or negative transformation is a very true statement. In both situations, positive and negative feelings are experiences on the long road of a change in perspective.


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