Telling the Truth Atonement + Poems Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:26:25
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Category: Poem

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The concept of telling the truth is a complex idea. The truth can vary based on an individuals perspective and may be distorted by experience and misunderstanding. It is a creeping assumption of the modern world that there are things more important that the truth. The truth may also be covered up because it is difficult for people to cope with. These ideas are explored in Joe Wrights film Atonement and the Poems Homecoming by Bruce Dawe and Mirror by Sylvia Plath. All texts are post modernism texts. In Joe Wrights film Atonement the idea of the truth depends on an individuals perspective is explored.

The truth is many-sided and everyones perception of what they believe to be the truth may be different. In the fountain scene it expresses how Briony and Cecilias perspective are completely opposite yet they both saw the series of events that took place. The window acts as a barrier to Briony understanding of the truth. Robbies stance and the way Cecilia is standing after she jumps out of the fountain makes Cecilia look vulnerable. It makes it seems as though Robbie is forcing her to do what he wants. Briony thinks that Robbie has some sort of power of her sister, this is where she starts to think badly of Robbie.

This is especially evident when he yells stop and hold out his arm to prevent her from stepping on the bits of vase, but to Briony it just looks forceful. This scene clearly demonstrates how Briony creates a whole different perspective on what was happening down at the fountain in relation to the reality of the situation. Due to Cecilias frustration and anger it makes it appear as though she was being forced. The non-diegetic sounds during this scene are effective as they help to create an suspenseful and tense atmosphere.

In Brionys shot there is faint music playing in the background as well as the constant buzz of the bee. In doing this the director has created a sense of suspense to the lead up of Briony seeing too much and having to turn around. Cecilias shot on the other hand has no music playing, the director has made it silent except for sound effects such as the splash of the water as she jumps in but there is very little dialogue, the dialogue said has a tone of anger and frustration. The fountain scene it validates that the truth depends on an individuals perspective and that the truth can be many-faceted.

Similarly in, Mirror by Sylvia Plath also advocates that there is no right truth as everyone considered the truth to be different to another based on perspective. Sylvia Plath was constrained by societal expectations of gender roles, causing her to lose her identity and youth this influenced the writing of this poem. This poem is from the viewpoint of the mirror with the use of personification. This is evident especially in the use of the mirror meditates on this implies that the mirror which is an inanimate object has the ability to think.

The mirror has no preconceptions and doesnt change what It shows based on its understanding of who you are or what you have done, it just shows the complete truth. When the mirror transforms to a lake which is able to still show reflections like a mirror. Because the woman is looking into a lake and not the mirror, the woman must bend over to see the reflection of her face. Hoping to see something deeper by searching the depths of the lake into the waters below. She also turns to the moonlight and candles to try and see a new reflection.

The lake seems upset that the woman is rewarding it for its faithful reflection by becoming more distressed. She shows her distress by physically disturbing the lake similar to Cecilia at the fountain. The woman is unhappy of how she has grown old this is similar to how Briony is unhappy of how she had done as a younger girl. Plath has told the poem from the perspectives of the mirror and the lake instead of from the woman. This is due to the fact that people have different perspectives but the mirror and lake on the other hand has no preconceptions and shows the unchanged truth.

In Joe Wrights film Atonement it suggests that the truth can be difficult to reveal or face. In the bedside scene it expresses how telling the truth can appear to be unsettling and scary for one to face. Briony clearly demonstrates her regret for what she had done in her past and what the result of being sent to war can end up. Watching the soldier die in front of her makes her realise that this could be Robbie and she would have been the one responsible for not only Robbies health but the impact that it could have upon her sister and Robbies family.

When Briony was a child she was raised in a high class family sheltered from the horrific truth of war as she has a sanitised perception. Once she becomes a nurse her eyes are opened to the full impact of what her lie that she had told when she was younger. Briony is told to talk to one of the patients that is in a serious condition, that is unable to speak English. The injured soldier seems to think that he knows Briony but she knows that he is just mistaken her for someone else.

When he asks her to loosen the bandages around his head, she loosens them and is faced with the full extent of his wound and gets blood on her face which contributes to her realisation that her perception was completely off and she feels guilty for the mistake she had made in her past. When she walks down the hallway at the hospital and the lights turn on one by one this is a use of imagery symbolising that she is entering a new frame of mind. The director has used suspense building with the reoccurring typewriter non-diegetic track.

As the lights come on there is a loud flickering sound this also adds to the effectiveness of the scene making it evident that she is thinking but the flickering is loud enough to disturb her thoughts. The poem Homecoming by Australian anti-war poet Bruce Dawe backs up the idea that the truth can be difficult to deal with by reflecting the concerns of war. In this poem it describes to the reader the tragedies of war, the return of the dead bodies of the soldiers from the Vietnam War and the lack of respect that they received.

The title Homecoming is ironic as usually a homecoming is heartfelt and joyful but in this the return is related to death, mourning and loss. References to bodies in green plastic bags, shows the lack of individuality that the soldiers received. Although these soldiers have made the crucial sacrifice by giving up their lives, the fact that they got little recognition for this emphasises how war is dehumanising. The lack of full stops express that the war was continuous and that there was no time to stop and relax. Dawe ultimately wants to expose the brutal truth in contrast to what people thought.

With the use of imagery throughout, Dawe is able to establish the pointlessness of war and clarifying the misconceptions those may have had on the war. This relates to how Briony in Atonement has the false understanding or knowledge of war, not knowing what she has sent Robbie into. Dawe uses aural and visual poetic techniques and is able to provoke sympathy, by manipulating the audience to reflect upon his own views towards war. Similarly what Briony does in making up the end of the story of her sister and Robbie in how she believed the event of war was, this was until she became a nurse and the real truth of war was unveiled.

The concept of telling the truth has been enhanced through the study of the film Atonement and the poems Homecoming and Mirror. Each individual has their own perception on what they believe the truth to be. In Atonement Briony has a different perspective than Cecilia which results in conflict and hiding the truth as she is too scared to face it. Homecoming reflects the idea that people prefer to deny or ignore the truth. Mirror and Homecoming show that the truth can be frightening or unbearable and therefore difficult to share. This then shows how the truth is dependent on the individuals perspective.

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