3rd September 2018

Significant connections Essay

idea-  The power of an influence.

Your circle of influence dictates your life. 7 words, that sum up a dynamic aspect of our society’s contentment. The power of the influences that surround a humans existence, shapes and formats your well being, whether you realise it or not. The text “ The Blind Side”, written by John Lee Hancock, “Cats in the cradle”, written by Harry Chapin, “ The Fault in our Stars”, written by John Green and “” all address the idea of the effect of other presents beside ourselves, that impact us whether it is of a positive or negative way. We are able to choose our own paths in life, but it is the people and morals surrounding us that shape and sculpture our well-being, and influence our identities all together.

In the ” Blind Side” directed by John Lee Hancock, Michael Oher is a lost puppy in a big city, yearning for some sort of guidance to set him down the right paths in life. Torn away from his drug addicted mother at just the age of 8,  his need for a deserved role model was clear. The impacting influence a strong role model can have on our lives is shown through the early stages of this film, where the Tuohy family see Michael walking through the streets of Memphis on a bitter, dreary night, with no destination in mind. Leigh-Anne spots this damsel in distress and decides to intervene. The Tuohy family bring Michael back to there home and Leigh-Anne Tuohy prepares a couch for Michael to sleep on. This gives the viewers a clear understanding of the well-being of this family. Their house is big. The furniture exquisite and there is an odd sense of companionship accommodating the air. All things that Michael Ore finds unfamiliar.  Leigh-Anne Tuohy is a successful, strong business women, with a loving family and all the pleasures of life at her fingertips. It is clear to the viewers that just by looking at this example of Leigh- Anne making up the couch for a 6ft concealed stranger to sleep on, just how far apart their two lives are. Already the contrast between Michael and the Tuohys is starting to have an effect on Michaels influenced thoughts, as this is shown through the use of the Norman Rockwell Painting in the upcoming scene. The director uses a high angle close-up shot from Michaels perspective, as he sits on the luxury couch and studies a book cover sitting on the coffee table. This cover shows the Norman Rockwell painting, which consists of a middle high-class American family gathered round a sizeable dining table, enjoying a hearty thanksgiving meal. The non diegetic music in the background and the expression on Michael’s face shows the viewer that this painting has mentally and emotionally affected him. What lies in front of his dismal eyes shows a happy, loving family surrounded by food, love and comfort-  the idyllic lifestyle. It brings a cognizance to him about what his life could be like, if his circumstances were different. The message from this image has been inveigled into Michael’s mind, and has influenced his thoughts on what he craves from life- a family. This book can be seen as an influential concept to Michael’s life as he is then seen further into the film, sparking the idea to the Tuohy family to sit together at the dinner table for their thanksgiving meal. This aspect of the Norman Rockwell painting can be seen as a role model that has influenced him. It teaches us that the influences that affect our lives don’t always have to be breathing. We are not only affected by the humans around us, but objects as well. The Norman Rockwell painting is a visual representation of a family much like the Tuohys, along with showing a new culture that has been identified to Michael. This shows us that the culture being obtained around us can be an influence to our lives, as well as the people who adopt that particular way of living. The society around us contains a contrasting diversity of people and culture. This example of the Norman Rockwell painting which influences Michael Oher’s emotional stability about the culture of contrasting families, is a strong representation of how the smallest things in life can have a efficacious outcome on your way of life. A second example of how this idea of influences that affect a character is included in  “The Blind Side”, is seen through the end of the film where Michael’s maturation is demonstrated. By the end of the film, Michael’s journey with the Tuohy family has taken his life by the hands  and utterly flipped it upside down. He thrives at school, and is recognized all over the region for his athletic skill and ability in football. A mid- angle shot helps show the scene where Michael is placed at a table, surrounded by edgar football college coaches and three caps placed in front of him. Michael is being given the chance to pick his preferred college that are all offering football scholarships to what they believe as a striving young man, who is bound to go places. The Tuohy family are seen in this shot right behind Michael, supporting and encouraging Michael as a unit. This scene is an important example of showing the power of influences, as the maturation of Michael’s life is easily noticed. Michael is no longer inferior, as his main supporters stand behind him, they are now classified as Michael’s family. This shot shows the expression of Michaels face as all attention is on him, while he makes a decision that could have only been brought to him by the Tuohy’s charismatic appreciation for Michael. His expression shows the emotion of happiness, as he now experiences the gifts that life can bring. He feels fortunate as his circumstances have now changed. This scene shows us the contrast in Michael’s life from start to finish. What was once a lost boy in a sea of people, is now a man who has the confidence, ability and support to go far in life.This shows the idea of influences as Michael went through this journey with Leigh-Anne and her family, unawarely being influenced by the morals that the Tuohy family portrayed. This teaches us about the affect people can have on your lives. We are consistently shaped by the people around us, whether its of a negative or positive way. As humans we are unconsciously aware of how one person is able to change our life in a minor or major way. In this case, Michael’s happy ending is hugely credited to Leigh-Anne Tuohy herself. Throughout the film she was the mother figure he never had, and her superior character was able to guide Michael onto the right paths in life. This example relates hugely to the connection of how the impact of a role model can significantly influence our lives for the better.

The second text that represents the idea of influences is shown through  “Cats in the cradle” wrote by Sandy Chapin and sung by Harry Chapin. This song identifies the idea of how people actions are able to affect your life in greater ways than expected. This aspect of influences is firstly shown through the first verse of the song. Harry chapin quotes “Can you teach me to throw, I said, not today, I got a lot to do, he said, that’s okay” This quote explains the conversation between an overworked dad and his young son.Throughout this song the father is seen as the boys main role model and someone he looks up to. But with a busy career and the rush of life catching up on him, the father figure is neglecting his son and jeopardizing the father-son relationship that we as viewers know is something of an important concept. This quote explains the little boys innocent hope that maybe his father would be able to teach him how to throw- a concept that is known in our society as a father-son bonding experience. It is something that is seen as an important life skill that a father role model is able to teach his child. It represents a clear idea of the fathers career and how he is always busy trying to earn money, but therefore never has time for his son. He is missing out on being apart of his son’s childhood as time flies by and the son is growing up fast. The song then goes on to say “ “He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, dad”  “You know I’m gonna be like you”. This quote presents the idea that the man’s actions and attitude towards his family is beginning to war off on his own son. The little boy still sees his father as something like a superhero, and looks up to him as a guidance in life. This shows us how the significant need of one persons attention and affection can have a greater effect on our mental and emotional stability. The second section of this text that represents this idea is scene through the end verses of the song. Harry Chapin quotes “ “I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind, He said, I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time”“And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, He’d grown up just like me,My boy was just like me” This quote shows the realisation that the son has now grow up. He has adopted his father’s characteristics and morals, and is now a studious example of the quote “ like father like son”. This quote shows that the times have changed, and now that the son is all grown up, he no longer has time to spend with his father. We are shown through this quote that sons always tend to follow their fathers social and behavioural patterns.  These life lessons have been taught through the boy modifying himself to be like his father, and has set up a repetitive pattern of social behaviours and interactions that can affect the further generations of this family’s relationship. In comparison, Michael Oher in “The Blind Side”, was also a character who adopted the behavioural output that Leigh-anne shared. He was influenced by a strong role model who he looked up to, and his successful outcome in life was the result of it. But unlike Michael, the influence of a role model in this case is a negative one, as the son grew up with his father being too busy for him. The father was teaching him that spending time with your family is not as important as your career. This connection shows us how such a strong influential concept in an individual’s life, has the power to invigorate your existence for the better or the worse. 

The third text that shows the idea of the power of an influence on an individual is shown through the book “The fault in our Stars” by John Green.  This book is renowned and known for its endeavouring love story between the two characters of Augustus Waters and Hazel- Grace Lancaster. What is shown throughout this touching novel is the powerful influence these two characters have on each others lives. The first section this idea is shown through is at the start of the text, where Hazel and Augustus first lay eyes on each other.  Hazel’s mother had been adamant that she joins a support group, to retrieve her need of feeling the encouragement around her, and to remind her that she is not alone. This is where she first sees Augustus, and their story begins. The book quotes “-so if the inevitability of oblivion worries you, than I suggest you ignore it. God knows that’s what the rest of the world does.”…. “After I finished there was quite a long silence as I watched a smile spread all the way across Augustus’s face…  his real smile, too big for his face. “ Goddamn… Aren’t you something else”. This quotation by Hazel shows her response to Augustus’s statement when asked what he is most afraid of. Through this quote we can see how the opposing opinions these two characters have is interlinking their lives already. This quotation shows the first interaction the two teenages had, that set off fireworks in each others bellies as a connection was fastly formed. But this example from the text is also foreshadowing how later on in the text, Augustus’s fear of oblivion gets in between their relationship rather than bonding it closer together.  A second quote that explains the existence in one another’s lives is shown through the section of the text where Augustus’s cancer gets the better of him, and he passes away. “ I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and im grateful. Hazel says this as tears begin to fill her eyes. Through this quotation we can see just how much of an impact Augustus has had on her life. There little love story was short and sweet, Which makes the idea of the impact someone can have on your life even more surreal. We can see throughout the whole novel how close these two characters became. They were practically joint at the hip and depended so much on each other as they travelled through the hard times in life. This shows us as readers how something simple as a person’s existence can leave a bold and deep mark on your life. Augustus’s death affected Hazel in a much greater way than his presence, because she knew her life would not be the same again, and her grief will be carried with her for a long, miserable period of time. This example relates back to the connection of an influential being on someone’s life as the change in Hazels life when she met Augustus and when she lost him was clear. This heart touching love story teaches us about the importance of gratitude towards the people in your life. We only realise just how lucky we are or certain people in our lives only when they are gone, and this novel was able to portray that within the story of Hazel and Augustus. Unlike Hazel and Augustus, the relationship between Michael Oher and Leigh-Anne Tuohy, as well as the father and son in the text stated above, all show connections that aren’t of a romantic state, but rather a family bond and connection between the characters. This shows how the novel of “ The fault In Our Stars” is of a contrasting connection compared to these other texts. Although this may be true, all texts still show a bold and powerful relationship between two people that changed their lives destiny in many linked ways.

The last text that is able to show the connection of a powerful influence is seen through the movie “The Bucket List” directed by Bob Reiner. This movie shows the relationship between two men who have been diagnosed with cancer, at a late age in their life. Edward Cole is a wealthy pretentious business man who shares a ward room with Carter Chambers in the hospital. The first sign of influencing actions between these two characters is shown when Edward finds Carters bucket list he wrote the night before. Carter had no intentions of pursuing this list, and saw it as a meaningless piece of paper that was purely unrealistic. “The way i see it, we can sit around here hoping for a miracle in some bullshit science experiment, or, we can put some moves on.” This quotation from Edward explains his compliance to actually take part in this bucket list, and make it one last wild adventure before there times up… because why not? Edward eventually talks Carter into the idea and they begin their ventures across the world doing exotic and wild things. This example shows how Edward had Influenced Carter into living his life to the fullest, and he gave Carter a new care free mindset about just letting go and having fun. Carter could be seen during the film adopting the characteristics of Edwards “ Do what he pleases” attitude. The viewers were able to see how Carter was being influenced by the way Edward dealt his cards in life, and his actions and characteristics were beginning to show through the once settled, ‘sink into the crowd’ type of guy that Carter was. This shows the connection of people influencing our lives as this example is able to state the idea that the people and cultures surrounding us rub off on us. We are sculpted and shaped by the people around us and it is easy to pick up specific actions and characteristics that others indure around you. As Well as Edwards bold personality affecting Carter, Carters presence also rubbed off on Edward, as he started to become attached to this special friendship. “The last months of his life, were the best months of mine. He saved my life, and he new it before I did.” This quotation comes from Edward as he speaks at Carter’s funeral, just months after their intrepid bucket list was complete. These kind words from Edward show the impact Carter Chambers had on him. Before meeting Carter, Edward was a closed book. He cared very little for anyone but himself and you would never catch him speaking from his heart. This quotation above shows us how Edward is able to open up and speak from the heart for the first time in a while. He has become a more kinder person. The death of his best friend has inspired him to find the gentleness he has inside of him, and Edward is now seen as a changed man. Through these two examples of the influence the two men had on each other’s life, we are able to see a connection between their story and the story of Hazel-Grace and Augustus Waters. Both of these texts display a strong relationship that leaves a mark on a specific character when tragedy strikes. Although one relationship is of a romantic circumstance while the other is friendship based, the two texts show similarity in how the author portrays the characters lives to be, once their companion is gone.

The power of influential people or morals surrounding your existence is a strong and compelling force given to one’s life. This is evident by the texts: “The Blind Side”, written by John Lee Hancock, “Cats in the cradle”, written by Harry Chapin, “The Fault in our Stars”, written by John Green and “The Bucket List” directed by Bob Reiner. These texts portray bold and significant characters who are able to affect one another’s life in a positive or negative way- showing how the people you choose to surround yourself with hold an unawarely substantial power over the fate and characteristics of your life. The creators of these texts focus on the relationships between two people and show us about the emotional responses we as humans naturally feel. This reality shows us that however we are influenced in life- whether we are taken down the right paths or not – it is the people we are surrounded by that are able to sculpt and shape our human existence for better or worse.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Meg, you have completed some very good analysis so far. The connections you have made are also valid, but make sure that you summarise all of these connections in your final statements. Have you prepared your notes on the final two texts at home?
    * Please speak with me in class to let me know how you are getting on.


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