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What grade would I get for this 2013 Truman show essay, and how can I improve?

Describe at least ONE idea that is relevant to people in today’s society in the text(s).
Explain why the idea, as shown in the text(s), is relevant to people in today’s society, supporting your points with visual and / or oral language features

“My life is like the Truman show.” This is a simile that can often be heard in philosophical discussion and is referencing Peter Weir’s film, the Truman show. The idea that reality is subjective is a recurring idea in the film. Throughout the film, Weir has used various film techniques to convey this idea, including dramatic irony, symbolism, and colour and lighting. This idea is relevant to people in today’s society because it stimulates an audience emotional response by making us question the nature of reality. Additionally, the idea can also be linked to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which illustrates how easy it is for our reality to be manipulated by external forces.

Weir sets us the idea that reality is subjective in the exposition, through the use of dramatic irony. An example of this is when he uses fake credits at the start of the film introducing Truman Burbank as himself. This is ironic, as it essentially fake credits at the start of a fake film about someone living a fake life. This links to the idea, by confusing what is real with what is simulated by subverting film convention. It is relevant to people in today’s society, as it makes us feel excited and interested by subverting film convention, showing us how easily we accept misinformation. Weir develops this idea in the exposition, by using the word LIVE on shots of Truman that other characters are watching. This illustrates how in our desperation for something real, we ironically create simulations of reality that are in the end not real at all. This is relevant to people in today’s society, as it links to the idea, as these simulations become the new “normal,” and anything else seems unusual. Additionally, the idea that reality is subjective is relevant to people in today’s society, as it can be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The prisoners in the cave have created the shadows to be real to them as they have never known differently, similarly to how Truman perceives his “fake” life to be real as it is what he has been shown to be “normal.”

After setting up the idea that reality is subjective in the exposition, Weir develops this idea in the turning point through the use of symbolism. An example of this is the colour used in the wide shot of Sylvia, with her red cardigan symbolising love and truth. Since red is traditionally a warning colour, the recollection of memories of Sylvia could act as a red flag to Truman, foreshadowing the fact that he could be deceiving himself. This is relevant to people in today’s society as it links to the idea, as it represents Truman’s quest for truth in a postmodern world. Weir uses symbolism to builds on this idea in the turning point with the closeup of Truman piecing together parts of magazines to recreate Sylvia’s face. This represents piecing together objective information in the outside world, and links to the idea as it shows Truman’s efforts to make meaning of a subjective world of simulation. This is worth learning about, as it makes the audience feel small and modest, as it poses the question, while truth may be subjective, is the closest we can come to it through the ability to think for ourselves? Additionally, the idea that reality is subjective is relevant to people in today’s society, as it can be linked back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. While the shadows will never fully show the prisoners what the outside world is like, piecing them together would be the closest thing to truth without actually going outside. This is similar to Truman trying to piece together pictures to recreate Sylvia’s face on his quest for truth.

Weir concludes the representation of the idea that reality is subjective in the denouement, through the use of colour and lighting. An example of this is when Truman is in the boat searching for truth, and Weir uses an orchestrated storm, making everything dark and grey; colours with connotations of fear and uncertainty. This represents the uncertainty of the quest, and links to the idea as it emphasises the blurring of the real and the imagined. This is worth learning about, as it makes the audience feel happy and hopeful, and wonder if the imagined is ultimately subjectively real. Weir builds on this idea when the atmosphere brightens when Truman finally touches the edge of the dome. This represents how the line between reality and simulation has finally become clear, and links to the idea as it illustrates how Truman’s previously subjective reality has now become more objective. Additionally, the idea that reality is subjective is relevant to people in today’s society, as it can again be linked back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Like the prisoners, Truman finally realises that he is in a cave and has so much more to experience in the real world.

Throughout the text, Peter Weir has consistently been conveying the idea that reality is subjective, through the use of various film techniques including dramatic irony, symbolism, and colour and lighting. This idea is relevant to people in today’s society as it creates impact on the audience by stimulating emotional responses, by making us think about how we get manipulated into believing things are real when they are not. Additionally, it can be linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave which illustrates how easy it is for our reality to be manipulated by external forces. As stated by the Guardian, “[The Truman Show]” succeeds in persuading people to look at the world that they’re living in, and to reflect on what is being done to them.

Hi again LeNom

Examples, understanding, purpose, all still clear and good.

The main advice here, is you need to work with the question that you have, not just put in the words to a pre-prepared essay - “relevant to people in today’s society,” means why is it relevant in a modern time - yet you say it is relevant because it can be “linked outside of the text to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.” - which is not really a facet of “today’society”. For Truman, there are lots of things that can be warnings about today’s society, think about the rise of fake news, of the fact that people present one thing to the world that is the complete opposite to their actual lives, etc etc. Ultimately this would hold it back from getting an E, as you are not actually addressing all parts of the question explicitly/with perception.

Good work :slight_smile:

should I still link it to Plato’s cave, or give different examples?

You can link the ideas to plato’s cave if you still want to, but for this question, you need to then tell us why Plato’s cave is particularly relevant for today’s viewer.

How would I explain how it is relevant then?

Kia ora LeNom

Here is an example of what sort of thing you might draw on - “This is relevant today because… The shadows on the wall here are analogous to our curated social media feeds which are manipulated by algorithms that are above our understanding. We think that what we see is reality, but what we see may be an entirely different reality to what somebody else sees online. While the film was created before social media - we can see here that the ideas are as relevant, if not more so than today”.

Thank you, that is very helpful. Should I just add something like this to the conclusion paragraph, or do I need to add more in the body paragraphs?

Something similar to this in your paragraphs is needed to fully address this particular question with perception.