Donnie Darko – Richard Kelly
The Film Donnie Darko is filled with many ideas that can lead us to get lost down the rabbit burrow. One of these ideas is that; “destruction is a form of creation“. The idea that a destructive act can create something is a paradox. The dictionary definition of destruction is “the action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired.“. The logic here supports the idea that there is no ‘creation’ in destruction; However, the film puts forward its challenge to this idea. The example of this in the film is when Donnie must travel back in time and let himself die. In doing this the tangent universe is destroyed but the outcome, or the creation, is that he has restored the stable universe. Thereby Destruction is a form of creation.
I would say that we are a result of destruction as 6 billion years ago there was a star that was running into the end of its life. This supermassive star composed of mostly Hydrogen and Helium went supernova after it ran out of fuel. The star would of collapsed in on its self and the force generated from billions of billion tons of matter falling towards the centre caused its to rip itself to shreds. It can no longer be repaired. But from that event led to the creation of another star and a set of planets. One of these planets managed to (as far as we know it has only happened once) create organisms that replicate themselves. Beings that give meaning to things that probably have no meaning. Beings that give meaning to destruction.
One thing numerous texts have in common is a plot. To me, and to many others, the plot is what the text has been painting from the beginning. Donnie Darko is At the climax of the film, uses a plot feature is known as Deux ex Machina to resolve the fact that the Tangent universe is falling apart. This feature is used to get solve a problem that seems impossible is solved in an unexpected way.”Deus ex machina…What did you say? What the fuck did you just say? Our saviour.” This technique to many critics is a poor way to resolve the problem as its ‘easy’; However Deux ex Machina (God from the machine) in Donnie Darko case is the “God” of the universe trying correct the unstable universe back the stable one. This God gives Donnie the magical powers in time travel and seeing the future. Donnie becomes the saviour of the universe and Frank being the messenger from Roberta Sparrow’s book “A Theory of time travel”. although it is Donnie whos saves the universe it is the God (Deux ex Machina) that actually saves the universe because it is He that gives Donnie this power and although to us Donnie seems like the most unlikely person to fix the problem, God knows (because He sees things we cannot) that he will. This shows that Deux ex Machina can be more than just a plot feature.
Deus ex machina feature is used in many other texts and has been effective. In the Shakespearian play Macbeth, the lead character Macbeth has been told by the unearthly with that he can not be killed by anyone human born. At this point the witches have only told the truth; However, in the final fight, Macduff claims that he was “Untimely ripped” at birth and then kills. Deux ex Machina in this instance proves that the Witches had been playing with Macbeth the whole time which was suggested in early scenes. Deus ex machina, in this case, is being abused by the witches for the knowledge they have about the future.
Fate or free will. Control or controlled. Has your life been written or are you writing it now? It’s an age-old question that arguably no one knows. But that doesn’t stop people from trying. The Film mellowly presents this the first few minutes of the film by the lyric line “Fate up against your will” in the song killing moon. The idea is further amplified in the conversation between Donnie and his science teacher. “If God Controlled time, then the time is pre-decided “. Donnie suggests that we are in a universe controlled by fate. Everything has been that has happened or will happen has already been pre-decided and that no act is random. However, the film continues to contradict itself when the tangent universe is created because and when Donnie says “Deus ex machina…What did you say? What the fuck did you just say? Our saviour.” This is the suggestion that is God from the machine. In other words, there is a being over watching what is occurring. He sent Frank the messenger to allow Donnie to save the Universe. But if everything is predecided then why didn’t this God prevent it from happening. In my opinion, the film’s genius is by not giving us a straight answer whether free will or fate exists. Because how could we possibly prove one or the other exists. It’s a concept that may be almost impossible for humans to understand. I would say its best to live life without concern for whichever exists. Its not ideal to be someone like Romeo from Romeo and Juliet who goes from surrendering himself to one only for it to lead to his destruction. “He hath the steerage of my course direct my sail.” to “I defy you stars.”. Its best just to live in the moment whitch ever it may be. Or whether it is something else because we just wonder this earth and once again give meaning to things that probably mean anything.
The Fault in our Stars – John Green
A striking feature of Augustus Waters in John Greens novel The Fault in our Stars is the way he deals with Cancer and lives his life. “I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up“, Augustus who has survived cancer (and lost a leg in the processes), knows that there is a possibility that his cancer could come back at any given day. Throughout the novel whenever Augustus feels nervous or is need of extra courage he pulls out a cigarette out his packet and puts it between his lips. However, not once does he light it. “You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.” The Cigarette symbolism for the power Augtus has over cancer. Cigarettes are known to be carcinogenic and Augustus has one between his lips as he knows it could come back at any time. But he doesn’t let this fact control his life and he doesn’t give it the power to kill him as he exercises, eats healthy and does everything he can to not let it come back. This is the same as him not lighting the flame. The act also gives himself confidence as seen when he’s nervous or uncomfortable in a situation. It reminds him of what he has overcome and what he continues to battle and how that present moment is not as tough as what he has or will face in the future. “I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up” is Augusts simply saying that his life is on the way up from now on and he has been through his worst. It also expresses his positive, quirky nature
Eventually, at books end, he does indeed die, but in some ways, he didn’t let cancer fully kill him. You see prior before cancer took his presence away from the world, he lived like anyone else and didn’t let the daunting fact that he cancer stop him. He will live on in his friends and family memories and all the people he shaped in the processes of his life. Because we are all going to die at some point and if we worry about this fact for the rest of our lives then we will get nothing done and be shaded by fear. At the end of it its who we affected and what we did to the world that we leave behind. Although Augustus may have not of lived as long as most this didn’t stop him from doing what he could to shape the people in the world. And in one angle of things, this is what matters. The effect we have on others. The mark we leave behind. So why make it a bad one?
About Time – Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis film About time shows us the importance and significance of each event in our life. This is achieved by Tims ability to go back to any moment in his life. To many, this superpower stretches our imaginations in the possibilities and where it could lead; however, as Tim grows with this power we follow a different perspective on the matter. Near the end, Tim decides to almost never travel back in time. “Live as if there are no second chances.”. Through his experiences, Tim finds that the best way to live his life is like everyone else if he can help it. Even if he makes a mistake in work or loses a court case (he’s a lawyer). This is because he has found that although it may feel bad at the time you gain something that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Experience. Changing it may lead to a better outcome but it also shuts many doors you may never open. You learn how to move on and where that may lead you like finding a passion or meeting your new best friend. Tim realises that the most he can gain is by simply living life as a normal person with the success, failures and everything in-between as they are what expose who we really are. We all experience horrible feelings that at the time we wish we could take back, but it is these horrible times that lead to other times that we would want to live over and over again. In my own life, I have failed at many things. I have failed tests and been a crapy runner. But I like to think that these failures have made me into who I am today. I have been shaped by all my successes and failures because we as normal humans cant travel back. Tim realises that the most he can gain is by simply living life normally whitch leads to his last lesson. “I try to live every day as if I’ve come back to this one day to enjoy it.” whitch is as simple as it sounds. Tim advises us to live to enjoy each day whether its good or bad and to notice all the little things that would otherwise be unnoticed because they are what count. These little things add up and can become bigger than some of the things we may consider to be a “major problem”. If someone with the power to go back in time tells us that the best way to live life is to walk through day by day and live with whatever happens, and to look out for the little nuggets of goodness then we should take something away from that.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Stephen Cbboskys novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower explores the power of friendship and its effects on trauma and events so horrible that your mind has suppressed. Charlie, the main character of the novel, is a troubled, shy boy who has been through a lot through his life including the recent loss of his best friend through suicide and the death of his aunt. He also witnessed a date rape but was to shy to speak up. Because of this, he kept to himself and lived in his bubble of pain. Through his first year of high school, Charlie makes two friends who accept him, Inclusive funny Patrick and beautiful caring Sam. After a party, they go for a fun car ride rarther late at night where they go through a tunnel and Sam and Patrick are dancing “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.“. Charlie at that moment felt infinite because for the first time he felt accepted by people who liked him and he could let go of all the negative baggage he had been carrying around by himself. He was free. The tunnel is symbolism for the emotional rollercoaster that Charlie experiences through the novel for when times get tough in relation to the saying “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel” whitch leads to the last point. Near the end of the novel, Charlie reveals his true feelings for Sam where they then become intimate with each other. This brings back Charlies suppressed memory of when he was once molested by his aunt. “The sound was thick. And she was doing what Sam was doing.” This is Charlie once again being plunged back into the darkness of trauma where he ends up going to a mental hospital. But through the support of his friends and family, he grew past it. The book illustrates the importance of friendships and how just adding a few people who care about you, into your life can change you. They also peel away the layers of you that no one else has seen and help carry you when times are tough. We, humans, are made to be loved by others and we need human connection in our day to day life. They help us and shape us. For some there is not a lot better than coming home from work and seeing your best friend.
Why Not – Tessa Duder, Glyn Strange (eds)
This short story by Tessa Duder and Glyn Strange (edited) shows the fragility of memories and how photos are a way to preserve them. This is by metaphor when she describes the losing memories to the wind. “Lost to the wind“. The metaphor wind is used to describe times nature as a constant force that “blows” memories away, And the further they get blown away, the harder they are to pick up again. This idea is further developed by the text by using metaphor and symbolism of time by an hourglass. “Memories as they fall away like sand in an hourglass“. The hourglass is symbolism for time and our memories are each grain of sand. The idea that the sand in an hourglass is a representation of our memories further suggest their impermanency. This is because as time passes the sand falls to the bottom of our glass. These grains of sand that fall are now too aged to properly to remember.
The idea of taking a photograph to preserve memories comes in when another metaphor is used. “Unless someone Sticks their hand out to catch it” This is a metaphor that you can catch the memory that is being blown away, by the wind, by time. The “Catch” is taking a photograph. The word use of catch also gives the idea that the world is throwing memories, experiences are being thrown to us all the time and its up to us which ones we decide to keep. Furthermore, it shows that a photo on its own doesn’t mean a lot. But rarther what the photo means is the why photos are important. This is done by patronizing the photo on his phone. “A few tiny pixels on my phone” whitch shows that a photo is its own is just a few pixels and that they are tiny. But this occurs at the end and we know after we have read it that its the memories of the moment where the photo was taken that give the photo real meaning. This shows that photos are not a way to save memories but memory triggers because they bring us back to moment through the site and allow us to relive them in our imaginations.
The Hate You Give (THUG) – Angie Thomas
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas deals with the touchy subject and reality of racism and poverty by many key events that happen throughout the book. The first idea is power the media has of manipulating facts against “black” people. Early on in the story a “black” teen gets shot and killed by a police officer after being pulled up on the side of the road.”Black” people were furious with this outrage but the media uncover dirt on the teen’s name because he was selling drugs.“He was a drug dealer.” It hurts to say that. “And possibly a gang member.” The media uses this information to its fullest extent undermining his name giving the police officer for selling drugs.“The drug dealer. That’s how they see him. It doesn’t matter that he’s suspected of doing it. “Drug dealer” is louder than “suspected” ever will be.” Labelling him a drug dealer shadows the “Suspected” term as we automatically stereotype a drug dealer to being the “Bad guy”. the media doesn’t include in their articles that the Teens mum had a rare disease where the medication for it comes at a high price and living in the poor getto was his only option for the medicine. Now although this doesn’t make up for the fact that he sells drugs it does give a bit of back story into why and would allow people to empathize with him. This shows the medias total control of what harsh phrases they can put in to gain attention and what facts they can leave out if it doesn’t further support there opinion. This is one side to the racism of that area.