Distinctively Visual Essay Help (1 Viewer)


New Member
Jun 14, 2017
Just completed my assignment on my distinctively visual analysis on the Shoehorn Sonata and Atonement.

Wanted to know what mark (it's out of 20) I would be getting with the work just some rough predictions will do and any advice to further improve my writing will be much appreciated. thank you!

The question was " How do creators of text employ distinctively visual, language and techniques to convey the confronting nature of character's experience"

The exploitation of distinctively visual techniques within a text facilitates the creator’s ability to represent ideas, themes and experiences through powerful visual imagery. Such imagery explicitly shapes meaning behind these central ideas and ultimately captivates the audience, instilling genuine emotional reactions as they come to grasp the contexts and differing experiences embedded within the text. In the Shoe Horn Sonata, John Misto utilizes distinct lighting and compelling visuals, along with provocative dialogue to convey the harrowing experiences and sufferings of the female nurses during WW2 depicting the acts of injustice committed against them and the manipulation of power from the Japanese Empire and male authorities to further disenfranchise these women. Similarly, Atonement, directed by Joe Wright is an expressive film that vividly portrays the atrocities of war and delineates the central theme of wasted youth through the use of juxtaposition, camera movement and graphic miss-en-scene.

Misto investigates the trauma and struggles of the women under the rule of the Japanese Empire through the extensive use of distinctively visual techniques to reveal the shocking nature of these nurses’ experiences. Their hardship and adversity is portrayed during Act 1 Scene 3 as Bridie recounts her perspective when Japanese Zeros had bombed the Vyner Brooke “Some women started to leap from the deck…Those women who’d jumped were floating quite well- but all of them were dead…Their navy issue life jackets broke their necks” compelling the audience to visualize their gruesome experiences and reiterates the theme of war and it’s atrocities. Complemented by the projected backdrop of the Singapore Harbor “filled with burning ships and clouds of smoke everywhere” highlighting the diabolical acts of injustice perpetrated against these nurses and forces the audience feel empathetic as they cannot help but feel staggered at the horrifying reality of the situations they experienced. Misto successfully conveys a sense of social realism throughout the play through the use of such visuals in order to imaginatively construct the realities of the past and reinforces the notion that despite the play being fictional, it’s based on authentic historical events and the struggles endured by these women were real. In Act 1 Scene 6 the projected photograph of “women prisoners… in a shocking state, huddled on dirty makeshift beds… skin and bone and dressed in rags” saliently illustrates their torturous mistreatment and serves as a poignant reminder of the manner in which the Japanese Empire abused their power over these women. The harsh foundation of the prison camp rests on the lower status of the submissive women prisoners juxtaposed with the higher superiority of the male guards and how they exploited their authority to humiliate these women. The misuse of power is further reinforced through Bridie’s resentful accusation “The Japs used to weigh us…it was part of some experiment-to see how thin our bodies could get before we started dying…they wouldn’t give us medicine” this visceral imagery effectively allows the audience to envision the lack of humanity these girls were exposed to and the barbaric nature of the Japanese army. Thus, the implementation of distinctively visual components allows the creator to clearly reveal the violent and inhumane predicaments these women were forced to endure and through fully grasping these components, audiences are able to sympathize with the nurses and develop respect for their bravery to survive such a tragic event.

Similarly, Wright also utilizes distinctively visual devices to portray the ruthless realities of war and it’s merciless ramifications on individuals, which manifested in a loss of innocence and emphasizes the overarching theme of wasted youth. Wright successfully demonstrates the brutality of war initially in the scene as the camera pans through the midst of the British Army’s evacuation of Dunkirk, depicting the frantic state of many soldiers, as there were no navy ships available to rescue them. The captivating cinematography prominently captures the expressions of horror and sorrow on the faces of the soldiers and essentially illustrates the unforgiving nature of their situation, accompanied with Robby’s heated conversation with the general regarding the whereabouts of the ships “ it’s a fucking disaster…There are over three hundred-thousand men on this beach private you will have to wait your turn…Be grateful your not wounded we’ve been ordered to leave them behind”. The use of provocative colloquial language assists in outlining the catastrophic state of their ordeal. Together they work to vicariously place the responder into the lives of these soldiers that were thrust into the war to explicitly perceive their sense of fear and hopelessness. Furthermore, Wright unrestrictedly explores the significant theme of wasted youth. The metaphorical imagery of soldiers ripping the sails off the ship symbolizes their shredded selves, hopes and dreams and fundamentally encompasses their torn future and neglected existence. Also reinforced through the close up shot of the choir of young men singing highlighting their senseless destruction and wasted youth, that ultimately instills sentiment within the audience for their pitfall and despair for the many lives lost during the war. Therefore, Wrights employment of provocative dialogue and camera movement is the quintessence of distinctively visual imagery that expresses complex ideas and reveals the confronting nature of the character’s experience.

Additionally, the use of lighting and stage direction are crucial instruments in influencing the audience’s emotions in response to the nature of Bridie and Shelia’s experiences. This is highly evident during the climatic revelation in Act 1 Scene 8 as Sheila recounts her perspective when she “went off” with Lipstick Larry and sacrificed her virginity in exchange for quinine tablets; their argument is highlighted through provocative dialogue, “[shocked] You didn’t sleep with a Jap. Not you.” Misto’s use of direction bluntly assists the audience to picture Bridie’s emotions and the guilt she sustained. The tension within the scene is further escalated through Sheila’s stern response “Answer me, Bridie? [Firmly] Don’t look away. You can’t tell the truth if you look away” demonstrating her eagerness to find out if Bridie would of acted in the same manner if she was the one in desperate need. Her reply is provided by the lighting “Her answer is obvious…the light slowly fades” signifying the bleak emptiness Shelia experiences and empowers the audience to feel her sense of grief and the hope that Bridie is able to recognize her courageous sacrifice. Furthermore, lighting is also employed in Act 2 Scene 11 as the interviewer discusses life in the prison camps and Sheila’s reveal as to her later visit to the camp, “Why did you go back?” and to which Shelia responds, “Because I’d never really left.” Supplemented with “darkness for a few seconds” to reveal the timeless agony of war and it’s haunting consequences on Individuals. Hence, Misto’s skillful use of lighting and stage directions help create distinct visual elements and essentially allows the audience to emphatically comprehend the shocking and confronting nature of both protagonists’ experiences.

Finally, Wright’s portrayal of the setting and his descriptive use of mise-en-scene truthfully conveys the futility of war and acts as a foundation for the responder to visualize these events and gain an insightful understanding of the challenging nature of the soldier’s experiences. This is explored through his chaotic representation of the British evacuation in Dunkirk. The lawless and anarchic setting illustrates the agitated disposition of the soldiers and reveals the troubling mood immersed within the beachfront. Wright also unveils the traumatic and immensely severe impacts of the war on one’s mental state through the continuous shot of soldiers laughing as they go around the carousel and men playing football in the background. Their tranquil demeanor and obliviousness is juxtaposed with the vicious environment surrounding them as the audience is subjected to the incongruity within the scene and this further demonstrates how the soldiers have averted to boyhood to cope with the atrocities of war. Towards the end of the scene the camera captures the beachfront in its entirety through a wide shot. Wright’s mise-en-scene displays the smoky air seeping through the horizon; the wrecked ship with it’s torn sails and the carnival atmosphere suspended within the shot to communicate the futility of war. This also induces the audience to feel appalled and enraged at their plight as they gain a deeper awareness of the effects of war along with developing a renewed sense of appreciation for their heroism and fearlessness. Consequently, Wright’s use of distinctively visual elements persuades the responder to acknowledge the pointless and futile aspects of war. Additionally, developing a newfound recognition of the dissonant aftermaths of violence and appreciation for their courage.

In essence, distinctively visual depictions are significant instruments to emotionally connect the responder with the characters and immerse them closer into the text. Both compositions had the ability to explicitly convey the shocking and confronting nature of the character’s experience. Through their use of distinctively visual techniques, the responder is induced into emotionally and physically reacting to the nature of the character’s experience and the events. Furthermore, facilitating a deeper understanding of the text in order to extract central themes and ideas into a fully realized experience.

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