Away" and" American History X

Away" and" American History X

Kate Johnson

Journey is more then just the movement from one place to another. Journey is an opportunity for us to extend our horizons in education, growth and emotion.
The play “Away” written by Michael Gow and the film “American history X” interpret this message through the use of dramatic and cinematic techniques.

The play “Away” highlights the growth of characters such as Gwen; A Mother, who as the events are played out changes emotionally and intellectually. Through contrast Michael Gow shows Gwen’s change from being bitter, controlling and materialistic to compassionate, spontaneous and appreciative. “But whose idea was it to do Shakespeare? Very silly choice if you ask me?” A line said by Gwen on page 7, shows her unappreciative state of mind and her inflexible attitudes. The Stage Directions “The applause is led thunderously by Gwen” on page 55 then contrasts with the abovementioned page 7 to show how the events which have occurred have made Gwen able to enjoy something with pleasure, and the self realisation that people, not possessions, are the most valuable thing.

“American history X” also uses the techniques of contrast to convey the changes which have occurred within the characters. Derek, originally a leader of a White supremacy group in the USA, in being incarcerated, is forced to live amongst men of all races. When betrayed by his White inmates everything he believed in is demolished. Living in self isolation he places his trust in a black African-American who is the only reason why he survives the 3 years of imprisonment. This Journey sparks growth intellectually and emotionally in Derek.
The symbolism of Derek’s hand covering the large Swastika tattooed on his heart and the shame on his face about having this twisted cross across his heart show the change in his values and ideals from when Derek would proudly march around revealing that same tattoo to all. This growth of Derek’s also starts a chain reaction with the growth of others,...

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