Outsiders; 'Norm and Ahmed', "Happy Feet" and "The Arrival"

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  • Topic: Happy Feet, Catwoman, Feeling
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  • Published : May 31, 2011
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“An outsider is merely just a person in the wrong place” – To what extent is this interpretation true, of the texts you have studied.

An Outsider is a person who is excluded from, or is not a member of a group. They can be seen to be merely out of place. Other factors, however, can make a person in the ‘right place’ feel like they do not belong. This is evident when exploring Alex Buzo’s script “Norm and Ahmed”, George Miller’s animation film “Happy Feet” and the Shaun Tan’s graphic novel “The Arrival”. Through utilising a range of language features and techniques, composers are able to emphasise the idea of ‘the outsider’ in these three texts.

Alex Buzo’s script “Norm and Ahmed” depicts a late-night encounter between a typical old Australian working class man and a young Pakistani undergraduate. The concept of outsiders is explored in great detail throughout the script. At first, Ahmed appears to be the clear outsider in the script, as the stage directions and choice of costume are used to convey his sense of alienation and discomfort with the situation; a dark skinned person wearing a “Nehru-styled suit” acting “edges away warily”, “taking them cautiously” suggesting Ahmed’s agitation and fear when interacting with Norm. Register is also used to demonstrate that Ahmed does not belong, for even though he speaks English fluently, his extremely formal language and perfect grammar such as “I crave your forgiveness”, reveal him to be the outsider. This contrasts with Norm’s very Australian colloquialisms and slang, “bash you”, “old piss-pots”, “poofter” showing his ease with the Australian dialect. These factors all combine to make Ahmed seem to be feeling as if he is in the wrong place.

Another character who seems to be in the wrong place is the protagonist in the graphic novel “The Arrival”. Shaun Tan uses a sequence of photos showing the protagonist going through customs in a new country. The character’s gestures, such as outstretched palms and...
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