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1 English (Pleasantville) Note on Essay 1, created by mckenziedev on 09/09/2013.

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Created by mckenziedev about 6 years ago
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Page 1

The film Pleasantville, directed by Gary Ross, includes the techniques of dialogue, props and colour to help make the theme of self-discovery more important for the viewer. This helps the audience to understand how self-discovery comes from something that’s always been inside of us, leads to realisation, and alters our expectation of perfection. Pleasantville follows the story of David and Jennifer, who get transported into a black and white TV show set in the 1950's where everything is perfect. They begin to influence the people in the town and this is shown by people and objects turning technicolour, as well as changing their own perspectives on life.   In the film, we are shown that when we discover ourselves, we discover something that has always been inside of us. The director uses dialogue and props to inform us of this. An example of this idea is the dialogue between David and Jennifer, shortly after they have been transported into the television show Pleasantville. Jennifer says to David “…Did you know the books are blank?” and “I was in the library and I looked” when he asks why she was looking at the books.  This is effective because it creates some uncertainty and curiosity which the audience could possibly pick up on, because even if she did get lost in the library, she still physically picked up some books and looked through them only to discover that they were empty. This is intriguing because previously Jennifer is displayed as the type of person who is not interested in education, as she makes fun of David for studying at lunch. The fact that she looked through the books in Pleasantville means that she is obviously intrigued by books and gives us a glimpse of the change that is yet to come. This is then supported later on in the film when Jennifer she sits down to study and sees a pair of glasses on the desk which she hesitantly puts on. This prop confirms earlier suspicions about her fascination towards the books she came across in the library. It shows us that, as she has grown more throughout the film, Jennifer has finally accepted her inner passion for books and education and is now seeing the world through a new perspective. These techniques show that self-discovery is an important theme because we can learn that although there are times in our lives when we question who we are, where we fit into the world, or on the other hand think we know who we are and settle for second best. There is a purpose and a passion lying beneath all of those feelings that one day we will discover and will be a huge turning point in our own growth. Essentially, the audience learns something unique from this message as it is such a relatable idea throughout most age groups and it highlights the fact that everyone goes through their own journey in life and discovers a passion that previously they had unconsciously dismissed.   The director also makes the idea of how self-discovery leads to realisation important to the audience by emphasising it through techniques. One technique used is dialogue, and an example of this is two pieces of dialogue from the start and end of the film that contradict each other to show a change in character and realisation. When David and Jennifer are fighting just after they have been transported into Pleasantville, David says “But they’re happy like this” as Jennifer refused to act in the same way that everybody else did. Then during the scene set in the town hall of Pleasantville, David stands up to the Mayor of Pleasantville and says “I mean, I know you want it to stay ‘pleasant’ around here, but there are so many things that are so much better”. This contrasts the David who did not know who he was from the David that realised the need for him to take a stand, and shows his complete change in opinion about the pleasantness and perfection that was Pleasantville. It is effective because it shows how David went from wanting to play along with the serenity of the town and not wanting anything to change at all, to openly expressing to the whole town that there are so many things that are better than being pleasant. Another technique used is editing, and an example of this is in the riot scene when Betty is about to be ‘attacked’, David punches Whitey in order to protect her and changes from black and white to ‘coloured’ afterward. The change from black and white to ‘coloured’ symbolises David not only discovering and accepting who he is but also allowing it to shine through and show on his outward appearance as well. David has always gone along with everyone else and conformed to ways that seem normal and most convenient, but has now discovered that it is important for him to stand up for himself and what he believes in and not to conform to convenience just because everybody else is too. This idea is very important because it shows that when we discover something new about ourselves, we realise one if not many things that we have been doing wrong our whole lives. Our perspective and outlook on life takes a turn in the opposite direction and we realise that, for example, something we were doing that we thought was what we needed to do to keep things steady was actually what was holding us back from discovering who we are and taking a step further on our journey of self-discovery and growth.   Finally, the idea of how self-discovery alters our expectation of perfection is shown to be important to the viewer through dialogue and props.  An example of this is earlier in the film when David and Jennifer are fighting over the normal remote control until it flies out of their grasp and breaks apart on the floor. The use of this prop symbolises how beforehand, David had lost control of his life. But when David transports back home from Pleasantville and is in his lounge again, he turns the television off with the normal remote control, whilst smiling. From this we are shown that he has not only regained that control but also dismissed his desire for perfection. Discovering who he was whilst in Pleasantville altered his expectation of perfection and his desire for the kind of pleasantness he had become so obsessed with in the television show. Another example is just after that, when David walks into the kitchen to find his Mum crying. She tells him about her need for having the right house, the right car, and the idea of what her life is supposed to be like. David says to her “There is no right house. There is no right car” and “It’s not supposed to be anything”. This reinforces to the audience how David has changed and is effective because from the beginning of the film, we are introduced to David as someone who is a bit of a social reject, is quite introverted and has low self-confidence but more importantly someone who fears change and idolises a concept of perfection and what life should be like, shown by his obsession with the television show Pleasantville. However now, at the end of the film, we have been shown how throughout David’s self-discovery he has realised that this concept of perfection and what life should be like is unrealistic. This idea is important because it helps us learn that when we discover who we are, we settle with the fact that life is not going to be perfect. Many people rely on a right house or a right car to feel secure and comforted by the fact that it’s ‘supposed to be like this’ but later on we realise that such an unrealistic concept is unreachable. Through David we can see that when we go through the process of self-discovery, our perfect expectations have become distorted and we no longer feel that particular need that can never be satisfied.   The film Pleasantville, directed by Gary Ross, includes the techniques dialogue, props and editing to help make the theme of self-discovery more important for the viewer. This helps the audience to understand how self-discovery comes from something that’s always been inside of us, leads to realisation, and alters our expectation of perfection in the lives of the characters in Pleasantville and our own.   

Describe at least ONE important idea in the text. Explain how the director used at least ONE of the following to show you that the idea was important.

In the film Pleasantville directed by Gary Ross, an important idea is self-discovery. It is important because we are shown how self-discovery comes from something that is inside of us, leads to realisation and alters our expectation of perfection. Pleasantville follows the story of siblings David and Jennifer who are transported into a 1950's black and white television show called Pleasantville and start to effect it's society and the people in it. This is shown by objects and people turning techicolour and people's perceptions changing.One important idea in the film is that self-discovery comes from something that is inside of us. This is shown by the use of dialogue and props. Jennifer says to David "Did you know the books here are blank?" when they first arrive in Pleasantville. David asks how she knows this to which she replied "I was in the library...And I looked". This is intriguing because previously Jennifer was displayed as the kind of person who lacks an interest in education, as she jokes about David with her friends for studying at lunch. This example causes curiosity in the audience as we are shown a new side of Jennifer and are given a glimpse of the change that is yet to come. This is supported by the use of a prop later on in the film. Jennifer is studying in her room when she sees Mary-Jane's glasses sitting on the desk and she hesitantly puts them on. This is important as it symbolises how Jennifer has now acknowledged and possibly even accepted this underlying interest in education, and putting on the glasses represents how she is now seeing the world through a new perspective. This idea is important as it teaches us that when we discover who we are, we discover something that has always been inside of us. We may form opinions about how we should act and who we should be based on the people around us but under all of that is a purpose and passion that will be discovered when we accept it and stop feeling that we need to be a certain way.Another important idea that Gary Ross portrays is that self-discovery leads to realisation. We are informed of this through the use of dialogue and colour. When David and Jennifer first enter Pleasantville, David is trying to persuade Jennifer to act how they act as "they're happy like this". He tells her it is best if they just go along with the norm and try not to mess anything up as it would ruin their whole world. However later on when all of Pleasantville are in the town hall, David says "I mean, I know you want it to stay 'pleasant' around here, but there are so many things that are so much better". These two pieces of dialogue contradict each other, as we see a David who wants to conform to the easy way of life, and then a David who is advocating individuality and change. This shows how David, as he discovers himself through the things he experiences in Pleasantville, realises that life is not about trying to fit in and blend in with everyone else but instead developing and expressing your own individual values and beliefs and staying true to your own identity. This idea is also shown through the use of colour. When Betty is being cornered by Whitey and his friends, David stands up for her and punches Whitey. After he does this, he turns from black and white to 'coloured'. This symbolises David discovering himself and this occurs because he realises the importance of standing up for what you believe in and not letting his previous need to conform to simplicity overcome staying true to his values. This idea is important as it teaches us how when we discover ourselves, we realise things in our lives that previously we were doing wrong, and helps us to grow and mature as a person. We understand the important of individuality and staying true to our own identity rather than conforming to the rest of society which may have seemed more important to us before. This realisation is crucial as it helps us to grow and develop more as a person.Lastly, the idea that self-discovery alters our expectation of perfection is important in Pleasantville and is shown through the use of dialogue and props. Just before David and Jennifer are transported into Pleasantville, they are fighting over the television remote before it flies out of their grasp and breaks apart on the ground. This symbolises how both David and Jennifer had lost control of their lives. However when David returns from Pleasantville and is standing in his lounge, he is holding the remote and turns the television off with a smile on his face. This shows how not only has David regained control of his life, but has also dismissed his expectation for perfection as he turns off the television on which he would watch many episodes of Pleasantville that created a desire for perfection in his life like the character's on the show had. This prop shows us how David, through discovering himself in Pleasantville, has learnt that his previous expectation for perfection will never be satisfied and he no longer feels the need to hold onto something which will never really satisfy him. Another example of this idea is when David walks into the kitchen after returning home to see his mother crying. She tells him about her need for the right house and the right car and how she feels her life is supposed to be like. To this David replies "there is no right house, there is no right car" and "it's not supposed to be anything". This dialogue shows us how David has learnt perfection is an unreachable goal and striving for it is pointless. He now knows that there is no certain way that life is supposed to be. This idea is important because we learn that although in life we have this idea that life is meant to be a certain way, we are meant to have certain things to feel secure and live a certain way to be successful this is false and unrealistic. Once we discover our identity, we no longer expect unrealistic concepts of perfection but realise that striving for perfection will only be a life long struggle and instead we can find satisfaction in our not-perfect lives.In conclusion, the film Pleasantvile

Describe at least ONE important idea in the text. Explain how the director used at least ONE of the following to show you that the idea was important.

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