The Castle

Topics: Irish people, Republic of Ireland, Culture Pages: 8 (2653 words) Published: January 7, 2013
The theoretical premise of globalisation is the erosion of traditional boundaries to form a global culture derived from the best elements of all societies. In practice, however, globalisation, driven by economic ideology devoid of morality and focused upon consumeristic endeavours, sees the domination of cultures by trans-national conglomerates and the might of America. Rather than cultures integrating, they are disintegrating beneath the cultural imperialism of Americanisation. As a major issue which inspires much debate and sees a clash of ideologies, the many ways of thinking about and approaching globalisation have moulded and shaped texts to reflect the paradigms and context of the composer. In particular, dissidents to the dominant ideology surrounding globalisation use literature and media to oppose and retreat from the concepts provided by the global; paradoxically taking advantage of and attacking the tools of globalisation. Two such texts are Rob Sitch’s “The Castle” and the poetry of Irishman Seamus Heaney. Both texts are shaped by their ways of thinking concerning a retreat from the global. In some cases these overlap as with their belief in the impossibility of completely retreating from the global and the philosophical paradigm of the traditional significance of land and home. Yet they differ too, as a result of the different ways of thinking of the composers. Philosophically, they differ in their approach to the nature of tradition in the face of globalisation. Heaney is convinced of the natural resilience of tradition and, while disapproving, accepts that they will exist in a modified form. “The Castle” however, sees tradition as much more fragile and in danger of complete destruction; in the face of this they advocate more proactive measures to actually fight the global.

In approaching the concept of the retreating from the global, both texts acknowledge that a complete separation from the global is something of an impossibility. Ireland and Australia, the homelands of the texts, are both part of the Western world and as such feel the full force of the overflow of cultures, the push of technology and the rise of the multi-national. In such societies, globalisation is inevitable; inescapable; and this is reflected in both texts.

The Kerrigan’s, while having a strong base in tradition, obviously engage with elements of the global world. The family unit in “The Castle” is a traditional foundation upon which the family members base their lives. It is valued in the text as a place where “people love each other, care for each other. A place for the kids to turn to,” and its importance is demonstrated throughout the film. The mise-en-scene of the scene of Wayne in his cell, places the photo of the family in the centre of the shot to reflect its position in the lives of the characters. The scene is dark with the only light filtering onto the picture. Wayne is intent upon it, while melancholy music plays overhead. This calls the viewer to not only empathise with the character but also to value the importance of the family unit. In a blank, desolate, dark prison cell, the family remains a constant source of hope, security and strength. It is so intrinsic that not even isolation and loneliness can remove it.

This deep-rooted traditional institution is infiltrated however, by elements of the global. The daughter, Tracy, marries the son of Greek migrants, Con. This multi-cultural union is symptomatic of the melding and globalising of cultures, which sees the break down of traditional cultural and ethnic prejudices. This is directly presented in Darryl’s dialogue in his wedding speech. “I guess you want your daughter to marry one of your own……but he’s a great bloke. We love ya’ Con. Calus sperous. That’s good evening.” In this sense it is shown that a complete retreat from the global is impossible and that certain elements should be embraced and incorporated into every day life.

The film does, however,...
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