Analyse how the purpose of the text was reinforced through the use of language features.
Throughout adolescence, teenagers are constantly trying new things to discover who they are. Director, Greta Gerwig has created a perceptive film following the coming of age of a teenager in her final year of school, Lady Bird. Throughout the film Lady Bird, Gerwig is convincing the audience of her purpose which is that in order to truly be happy we need to discover who we are and what our purpose is.
Although we sometimes do not agree with our parents, we often have to accept that our parents are making decisions that will benefit us. They are not trying to put us down. The protagonist in the film was named Christine by her parents, however, she did not like this name and as a result told people, “My name is Lady Bird”. This use of dialogue is intricate because it is a subtle rejection of her parents because she is saying I’m not going to be the person you brought me up to be. However, this dialogue also proves the purpose of the text as it is showing that in order to be the best person you can be you have to discover your identity. Lady Bird is trying to discover her identity and through this, she is deciding how she wants to be known by people. Lady Bird wants to be called Lady Bird because it shows a sense of independence. Lady Bird is deciding who she wants to be and she is letting people know she is her own unique and quirky person, not a person someone else wants her to be. This combines with the use of a close-up which shows Lady Bird having a determined and somewhat angry facial expression when she says this to her mum because she doesn’t want her parents to decide who she is, she wants to be her own person. Her mum does not want to let go of her birth name Christine because calling her Christine resembles the mother-daughter connection they’ve had since she was born. This further relates to the purpose of the text because it proves that Lady Bird is coming of age, she is growing up and discovering what beliefs are most important to her through discovering her identity. This proves the idea that although sometimes things are hard to let go of, sometimes it is for the better to move on and accept that these changes will help us become better people, even if we are currently unsure of how.
Throughout our time at high school, we usually sit with many different people and multiple groups of friends. Throughout her final year of high school, Lady Bird is experimenting with who she wants to hang out with. At one stage, Lady Bird is hanging out with the popular group at school. At one point, Jenna who is the ringleader of the popular group gets told off for having too short a skirt by the nun. Gerwig cleverly uses a mid-shot to show Lady Bird whispering to Jenna about how they can get revenge. This use of a mid-shot proves that Lady Bird is trying to get in with the popular group. She is whispering with them as if trying to create secrets, helping them so that they will trust her more and telling them thought-out ideas so that they don’t think she is weird. Therefore, this use of cinematography proves the purpose of the text which is that you need to work hard to discover your identity so that you can know who you truly are. Lady Bird is trying to be friends with new, different people so that she can find out who she does and does not want to be friends with. Additionally, in this scene, Gerwig also uses dialogue to show that Lady Bird is moving on from her old friends and life and trying to find a new identity for herself. Lady Bird’s plan to get revenge takes place after school, but her old friend Julie reminds her, “We have auditions after school.” However, Lady Bird rejects Julie and tells her she has moved on and does not want to go to the auditions. This reinforces the purpose of the text because it proves that Lady Bird has already tried out different things, she has realised some of the things she has not enjoyed and gone away from being a certain type of person. This proves the idea that sometimes when we are trying to discover who we are, it is easier to discover who we are not. This is because we can find out what we don’t enjoy doing or who we don’t enjoy hanging out with in order to realise the things we look forward to and the people we look forward to seeing. This relates to society because there has been a study carried out which has found you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. This proves the importance of the text and discovering your own identity because you have to find out your values and who you are in order to meet like-minded people who will be the friends who always have your back.
One of the biggest decisions teenagers are faced with is the decision to go off to university. We can choose to not go the university, to go to a local university or to go abroad for university. In the opening scene, Gerwig utilises dialogue to prove that Lady Bird already has ideas for her future, “I want to go where culture is like New York, or at least Connecticut or New Hampshire.” This statement is rejecting of her family and her hometown of Sacramento. Sacramento is not a small town, but compared to the Neapolitan areas like New York, it is not somewhere people say they want to go to. It is a nice town to raise a family in. Lady Bird’s mum, Marion is regularly telling Lady Bird that she is not even worth in-state tuition. However, Lady Bird still aspires to move to a place like New York. When college applications occur, Lady Bird gets into a college in New York and so she moves there. This reinforces the purpose of the text which is about discovering your identity because where you choose to live plays a huge role in the person you will be. Gerwig utilises a mid-shot of Lady Bird lying in bed after she has gotten drunk at a party and been taken to the hospital. Lady Bird has to walk home from the hospital by herself because there is no one there to pick her up. This reinforces the idea of searching for your identity because Lady Bird wants to be an independent person. Additionally, the use of dialogue also proves that Lady Bird has finally discovered her identity when she has moved away to this new place New York. She has moved away from Sacramento and now can finally see it from an outside perspective. Sacramento was her home and it shaped who she is now, but in moving away she can now finally see who she is as a person. This is shown through dialogue when Lady Bird calls her parents saying, “Hey Mom and Dad, it’s me Christine.” In calling herself Christine, it shows that she has finally discovered who she is and no longer needs to hide behind her nickname Lady Bird. This proves the purpose of the text as it has shown that Lady Bird can finally be happy in life because she is now proud of the person she is and can repair the bonds she has broken with her mum. This relates to society because often in order to fix our issues, we need to take a step back from everything and look at things from an outside perspective, when we are caught up in our own lives, we can miss out on what is happening around us and it can cause us to lose sight of who we are.
Lady Bird is struggling with her identity throughout the film be experimenting with her name, her friends and the place she lives. All of these things shape who she is as a person and it is only when she moves away from Sacramento the place that has made her who she is. As well as moving away from her mum, the person she is most like, can Lady Bird finally she the amazing person she is and who she is destined to be. This coming of age has proved the purpose of the text which was that you can only find happiness once you have discovered who you are. Lady Bird was struggling with her identity and she didn’t have the perfect relationships with her family and friends, but once she found out who she was, she could finally be happy because she could look out for other people, rather than just herself. This proves that within society in order to form strong relationships and connections we have to know who we are because we will only ever meet our true friends who are most like us when we know who it is we are. Sometimes in life, it is better to take the time to find our inner values instead of rushing to conclusions and missing out on what it is we love most in life.