Monday, September 3, 2007

Characters in the novel

Describe the main character of the text you have studied and analyse his relationship with at least two other characters.

In the novel, "The five people you meet in heaven," by Mitch Albom, the main character is a selfless 83 year old man named Eddie. Eddie works as a maintenance man at the Ruby Pier amusement park, fixing all the rides and looking after the young children. Eddie's wife Marguerite died at a young age of cancer, and the couple had no children. They were hoping to adopt a child, but this dream was shattered after Marguerite was involved in a car accident. Eddie went to war at a young age out of a sense of duty, and this affected him for the rest of his life as he was shot in the leg to save him from death. Before going to war, Eddie always aspired to become an engineer, which never happened.

Eddie was always disappointed with his life, and felt that it was worthless and that he had achieved nothing worthwhile - "For all that time, Eddie had imagined a certain life - a 'could have been' life - that would have been his if not for his father's death and his mother's subsequent collapse. Over the years, he glorified that imaginary life and held his father accountable for all of its losses: the loss of freedom, the loss of career, the loss of hope. He never rose above the dirty, tiresome work his father had left behind". Eddie's father was a gambler who liked to drink and play cards. He was also violent and abusive towards his wife and children. Eddie never had a close relationship with his father, even as a young child, and it was his worst fear in life that he would end up just like his father. Eddie's father also worked as a maintenance man at Ruby Pier, and Eddie took over the job after his father passed away. However, through all of the struggles Eddie faces with his father, he finally learns in heaven that "holding anger is a poison", and that he needs to understand why he felt anger towards his father and forgive him, so that he can continue on in his journey in the 'afterlife'.

Another person who plays an important part in Eddie's life is the young Asian girl Tala, who dies during the war in which Eddie is serving. While fighting in the Phillipines, Eddie had seen what he thought was a person inside a hut. He was going to go and get them out, but he was stopped by the Captain shooting him in the leg. Just moments later, there is an explosion in the hut. When he meets Tala in heaven, Eddie says to her, "I was sad because I didn't do anything with my life. I ws nothing. I accomplished nothing. I was lost. I felt like I wasn't supposed to be there". Tala replies by telling him that he was meant to spend his life at Ruby Pier fixing the rides, because he kept the children safe, which made good for what happened to her during the war.

Eddie's wife Marguerite also teaches him and important lesson when he meets her again in heaven. After her death, Eddie felt there was no longer any reason for living, because he no longer had the only person he loved with him. He felt angry because she had been taken from him too soon. Marguerite tells him, "Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that's all....Life has to end...Love doesn't". This is probably my favourite lesson that Eddie learns in the novel, because I think that it is important and relevant to us all. It teaches us that just because someone is no longer with us, we don't have to stop loving them or caring for them. Every one loves someone in their life, even just a family member, and without love, the world would be a horrible place to live.

In conclusion, I feel that Eddie may not have been the most social character ever, but the few people who he was 'friendly' with all held a very special significance in hi life in some way or another. I feel that he was a strong character because of the obstacles he overcame in his lifetime, and these people all helped him to do this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Lessons Eddie learns

Choose one of the five lessons Eddie learns. What does he learn? What do you think of this lesson?

The lesson Eddie learns from his wife Marguerite is that love doesn't have to die just because the person dies. She teaches him that memories will always live on in a persons heart, and just because she wasn't around, it didn't mean that he couldn't still love her. I think this is true and is a good lesson to learn because people that we care about will die one day, no matter how much we wish they didn't, but we will always have our own memories of them and we don't have to stop loving them just because they aren't around.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Run Lola Run essay

Analyse how one or more of the following helped you understand a main character or individual in the movie: Costume...Make-up...Soundtrack...Cinematography...Voice

Lola is the main character in the movie Run Lola Run, directed by Tom Tykwer, and is the character who drives all the action. She is a contrast to many of the other characters in the film, and is definitely far from perfect. In a role-reversal within the film, Lola is the hero who saves the day, getting the 100,000 marks her boyfriend Manni needs in order to basically avoid being killed by gang leader Ronnie. Lola is an intelligent, strong-willed character, determined to get what she wants no matter what obstacles she may face.

In the film, Lola's costume is made up of a cut-off type singlet, and jean-type pants. She has a tattoo surrounding her belly-button, and she had a trademark short haircut of fire-engine red hair. She also wears little/no make-up. This helps us to understand her character as it illustrates her fiery temper, and rebellious, non-conforming nature. It also shows how she doesn't fit the usual stereotypical images of females in similar characters in other pieces of literature. Her red hair especially symbolises her temper, and love and passion felt for her boyfriend Manni.

The soundtrack in the film is essentially all fast-tempo techno music. A large portion of the music used in the film was also composed and performed by the director himself. The music used in the film is unusual by most modern film standards, and this links in with Lola's non-comformity. The fast tempo of the music also symbolises her race against time to get the money for Manni.

The cinematography of the film is also significant in helping us to understand Lola's character. The red-filter dream sequences especially are symbolic in the film, illustrating Lola and Manni's love and passion towards each other, and their philosophical natures. These sequences appear twice in the film, each one following the deaths of Lola and Manni. They show Lola and Manni lying together in bed, talking about the future, and what each of them would do if the other one was to die.

In conclusion, I think the film elements that helped me to understand Lola's character the most were her costume and the soundtrack. Even though im not the kind of person to judge someone based on their looks, I feel that Lola's costume is very symbolic of her personality and character. The soundtrack also stood out to me and helped me understand Lola's character better as it was very different from the soundtracks I am used to hearing in other movies I have watched.

Thoughts on the novel

It took me awhile to get into reading the novel at first, but once i got through the first couple of chapters, i started getting to used to it, so i began to enjoy it alot more. If i had seen the book myself, i probably wouldnt have picked it up and read it, but now after reading it, i did enjoy and think that it was a pretty good book, with interesting ideas and messages in it. I also liked how i got to experience other peoples veiwpoints of 'heaven' and other things to do with what happens after death.

My essay writing skills

I think my essay writing skills are okay, last year in the externals i got achieved in everything, so i would like to think i could do the same again this year, although i would like to improve this and get at least some at merit level. So far i seem to be better in english than i was last yer, so hopefully i can manage to do this. Im not too worried about having to write in an exam setting, because we have an hour 2 write each essay, so as long as i can remember the main ideas im likely to have to write about, and come up with a good way of putting them together, i think i will be okay.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Albom's Website

What is the main thing that stands out for you in his comments about the real Eddie? The thing that stands out most for me is how he is so passionate about what he says and really cares about his family, so he has more of a personal link with the story which gives it a more realistic feeling as you know that it is based on true events and real feelings of real people.

Did you realise Eddie was a real person? Yes because I read the forward!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Symbols and Motifs

Choose one of the symbols. Explain why you think it was used, what it relates to, and your thoughts.

I think the clocks were used as a symbol because they strongly relate to the key idea of controlling/manipulating time, and the race against time where Lola and Manni have only 20 minutes to get the money they need and give it to Ronnie. The image of the clock at the beginning of the movie draws us into the film, and immediately attracts our attention. Throughout the rest of the movie, the images of clocks are used to show the race against time for Lola and Manni, and creates tension and suspense as it shows how much time they have left, and we start to wonder if they will get the money to Ronnie in time, and what will happen to them if they don't, or if they get there late etc. I think the clock at the start of the movie where we are drawn into it is a wierd clock, and I think a more traditional grandfather clock would have been better, although it does relate to Lola being an eccentric person who doesn't like to follow the crowd and always wants to be different.