Hello! I’m looking for some feedback on an essay I did for the question 6 of the 2019 paper:
Analyze how language features were used to show a change in a significant character.
It would be helpful if I can get insight on:
- What grade is the essay currently at? And how I can improve it to an Excellence if needed
- Do I have any unnecessary information in my essay?
In the film “Remember the Titans” directed by Boaz Yakin, the director expertly used language features to portray a change in the significant character Julius Campbell. “Remember the Titans” tells the true event of a Black-dominated school forced to integrate with a White-dominated school in 1971 forming T.C. Williams. This was the first year in US history to integrate Black and White community, truly representing the prejudice present in the 1971 society and our society today. The school’s football team “Titans” showcased conflict between Black and White people, uncovering the reality of prejudice, especially through 2 football players named Julius Campbell and Gerry Bertier. The director utilized the usage of language features such as dialogue, soundtrack, camera work and lighting to portray Julius’s changes in overcoming his own prejudice. This significant character was revealed to the viewers by Boaz Yakin’s skillful combination of film techniques, highlighting the film’s theme “Friendship can overcome prejudice”. The viewer is positioned towards a melancholy emotional response, and is able to sympathize with Julius’s character as he went on his own journey to overcome prejudice and fought for his friendship with Gerry in comparison to what their relationship once were. These film techniques showed contrast, character journey, and internal conflict which are all changes leading towards Julius’s character seen at the end of the film, a true showcase of the movie’s key theme. All of this was part of the direction’s purpose, Boaz Yakin had allowed the viewer learn from the experience of Julius, giving us a deeper understanding of the theme, and sent us a message to recognize the prejudice in our own society.
The first language feature used by Boaz Yakin was dialogue in a conversation between Julius Campbell and his best friend, Gerry Bertier right after Gerry got into a car accident. Julius said the dialogue “You, you’re Superman” while Gerry had no reply but just silently cried. Gerry’s lack of dialogue was also used by the director to hint towards Julius and Gerry’s relationship and understanding of each other which exceeds beyond verbal communications. The director allowed the viewer to get involved in the film, linking this scene to an earlier scene during camp. The film techniques of dialogue were also used by Julius to refer to Gerry as “Superman” in the quote “Then you better use your X-ray vision, Superman.” Back then, Julius and Gerry both had been unwelcoming to other, thinking down on the other due to their different races. The term “Superman” was used negatively by Julius, of which Gerry also responded with silence and started a fight. The major change from Julius’s negative attitude to an affectionate attitude helped the viewer recognize the growth in Julius’s mentality toward Gerry. From this point onward, Julius recognized his true bond with Gerry and also started to recognize his once unjust behaviors towards Gerry. The contrast in Julius’s intentions and effects when using the very same word “Superman” shows Julius’s old internal conflict when he hated Gerry at camp due to their differing race, and his character journey in overcoming this prejudice. Julius’s change is important to the film as a whole, showcasing how Julius had worked hard to overcome his prejudice and to nurture and grow his relationship with Gerry, forming a bond that crosses race borders. Boaz Yakin successfully sent a message to the viewer, allowing us to learn from Julius’s hard word to break down his own negative assumptions and stereotypes of the opposite race, and building his relationship. Yakin positioned the viewers towards an appreciative emotional responses to this comparison between scenes and allowed the viewers to relate and learn in their own relationships.
During scenes of Gerry at the hospital after the car accident, Boaz Yakin also utilized the language feature of soundtrack playing in the background to enhance the viewer’s emotional response. The director added slow emotional music, seemingly written in the minor scale, notes dragging out, which all work together to highlight Julius’s overwhelming emotions as Gerry was involved in this life-threatening accident. The director allowed the viewer to understand Julius’s emotions, and how he felt as if time and everything else seemed to drag out forever. The audience can sympathize with Julius, and feel as if Gerry’s safety is all that matters. The director’s usage of soundtrack as a language features worked effectively to evoke a worried emotional response from the audience who can empathize for Julius who is distressed in this emotional time; the viewer’s emotional responses is further enhanced by the sad music. Boaz did this by allowing the viewer to associate this scene to Julius’s previous character at camp where he said the dialogue “I’m gonna look out for myself, and I’m gonna get mine.” This highlights how Julius was once self-centered and segregated from the rest. Julius was especially separate from his White teammates due to his prejudice, caring only for his own gains and needs. Yet now in this scene at the hospital, Julius is seen caring and worried for Gerry, the same person he said “I’m gonna look out for myself, and I’m gonna get mine.” to. The viewer is able to recognizes the change in Julius, and the contrast between the 2 time periods, showcasing how Julius had grown and learn how to be caring for Gerry, and also possibly applying this in his other relationships. The major contrast reinforced again Julius’s character journey after his old internal conflict and prejudice. He changed and grew to become more caring but also a better person overall through his friendship with Gerry, forming the theme “Friendship can overcome prejudice.” From this theme, the character Julius learned that prejudice only creates separation in society, and that it could be harmful to approach our relationships with a negative mindset. These film techniques were skillfully used by the director, allowing us to recognize Julius’s positive change to grow into a better person. Boaz Yakin sends a message to the viewers, prompting the viewers to apply this within our own lives, approaching our relationship without negative expectations, helping to create growth for all viewers as a person and as a friend. I have experienced this in my change from a Vietnamese-dominant school into my high school with a diverse range of races. My initial negative expectations and past perspective of other races were challenged and I was able to unexpectedly form friendships with others despite our racial differences. This scene urges the viewer to learn from Julius and Gerry, to not make their mistake of initial judgment, but to see and to apply the hard work they put in to achieve a bond which transcends race borders and society stereotypes.
Another film technique used effectively by the director was the usage of lighting within the hospital. It is very bright and harsh, especially compared to the darkness of the night in the few previous scenes leading up to it. The sudden harshness contributes to the feeling of uncomfortableness within the viewer, highlighting the worried and tense emotions for Julius within this shot. The director also expertly combined the lighting language feature with another feature of camera work where the camera did one continuous shot around the hospital room. This reinforces the presence of others around Julius as he goes through these complicated and sad emotions, as mentioned previously in the usage of dialogue and soundtrack. As the viewers get involved with the plot, they can start to sympathize with Julius and see how these 2 techniques have been used by the director to represent Julius’s growth through his relationship with Gerry. Julius were just a teenager of facing someone from the opposite race, amidst segregation and hatred from his own community towards White people, his morals and priorities lost as he was clouded by prejudice and treated Gerry with hatred. He was living these harsh, complicated feelings where life and hatred went on despite his hardship, represented by the cinematography of ongoing-ness. It reinforces again how Julius is actually very similar to Gerry, who both hated each other because they thought that different races can never be equal. The director’s intention in portraying Julius’s experiences was to highlight the prejudice toward the Black and White community, who were thought to never be equal. This highlights the harsh and brutal nature of history which led up to this point of unjust situation, with US history of slavery and segregation of races. These 2 film techniques of lighting and camera work were effectively combined together to remind the viewer of the brutal treatment towards Non-Whites and especially Black people within real US history and how that continues to affect young individuals of Black and White heritage today. The director urges the viewer to learn from the experience of Julius, who with his hard work was able to overcome prejudice shaped by the treatment of his ancestors. This highlights the prejudices implemented deep within all those in society, successfully deepening the viewer’s understanding of history and its continued effect today. This were combined with the language features of dialogue and soundtrack skillfully by Boaz Yakin to showcase how Julius was able to form a deep friendship bond with Gerry even after previously hating each other. Boaz Yakin effectively portrayed the theme “Friendship can overcome prejudice” and urges the viewers to take notice of the prejudice present in our society, and ways that we can overcome this in our own lives. With a deeper understanding of this theme, viewers such as myself are able to sympathize with characters and their initial expectations and stereotypes based on race. Though this “Remember the Titans” were directed by Boaz Yakin in 2000, this theme of prejudice is especially relevant today in our modern day society. An example of this is the prejudice shown towards Black people in the USA is the murder of African American George Floyd in 2020, creating tremendous outrage and protest for the murder of an innocent Black person. Following the prejudice in US history, there continues to be prejudice and negative assumptions about people due to their race. Boaz Yakin successfully portray the prejudice present in our society, and through Julius’s experiences, shown the viewers that there are changes we could make to overcome prejudice.
Overall, this is very crucial to the movie’s setting and 1971 society at that time; reinforcing how much Julius and Gerry fought to build their friendship. The director’s usage and combinations of language techniques highlighted major change in Julius’s character. This was very effective in creating a hopeful emotional response for the viewer towards this theme, seeing that it is possible to overcome the current prejudice in our society. With a deeper understanding of this theme, viewers such as myself are able to sympathize with characters and learn from Julius’s experiences. We are also urged to recognize the prejudce deep within society which stems from the brutal past of US history and how we can take actions against it, changing our mindset to form bond that crosses race borders and aim towards a positive ending. Boaz Yakin is to praised for his excellent usage of language features such as lighting, soundtrack, dialogue, and camera work to portray the theme “Friendship can overcome prejudice” through changes in the significant character Julius Campbell. This allowed the viewer to have a deeper understanding, urging them to apply this theme within their own life and society, fighting against prejudice with friendship.
Any help would be appreciated, thank you!