Hazards of Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is a major problem in the modern world. It is distracting and hazardous, not only to the drivers, but the individuals around them as well. Because young people are obsessed with technology and social media however, they frequently engage in texting while driving far more than their adult counterparts. A Tred Films Production’s video “Cow” by Watkins-Hughes addresses the issue of young people, teenagers in particular, putting themselves and others in danger by texting while driving. The target audience in the video is high school students, whose obsession with phones, primarily texting while driving, leads to dangers on the road. The director’s overall goal in targeting high school students is to expose these dangers and make teens reconsider their careless actions. The way Watkins-Hughes exposes dangers throughout the video is through the exciting use of symbolism. This not only creates interest and deeper understanding, but also effectively explains the reasons behind the girls’ actions.
The PSA “Cow” begins with a dream scene, where Cassie drowns in her car. The scene has several symbols and is foreshadowing the disaster that will happen later on during the accident. Before explaining how symbolism and foreshadowing are used by Watkins-Hughes, it is important to define the literary terms. Symbolism is an action or an object that has multiple layers of meaning, besides its literal one. Foreshadowing is a hint to the audience on something that will happen later on. In other words, it is a taste of things to come, which helps teens understand Cassies’ emotions of feeling neglect, insecure, and overall helplessness. Furthermore, symbolism and foreshadowing work together to prepare teens for the troubles that these emotions lead to. The dream scene begins with Cassie coming out of her house and greeting her parents and their friend, by waving her hand and walking towards her car. Cassie’s wave raises several doubts about the wellbeing of her relationship with her parents. First, why is she merely waving her hand, as opposed to approaching them and giving them a hug or at the very least saying “Hello?” Second, her parents seem to treat Cassie as an afterthought. Her parents are engaged in a conversation with a man, and treat Cassie’s arrival as a formality, just the way they would have treated anyone they barely know. After greeting her parents, Cassie enters the car and immediately looks in the mirror to adjust her hair, perhaps because she receives no attention or admiration from her parents as she walks towards the car, which leaves her with feelings of insecurity, and stops only after she notices the water trickling out of the air vents. Upon realizing that the water flow is getting stronger, the audience is treated to the symbolism of Cassie drowning. In essence, drowning symbolizes being overwhelmed and ultimately succumbing to issues. As the water’s level rises, Cassie begins to panic by banging on the windshield and screaming “Help!” (Watkins-Hughes), when her parents turn around and look at her, but remain motionless. The parents looking but not doing anything is a strong symbol, which helps cement the fact that Cassie feels no support from them. In a sense, they are just there. On behalf of the parents, this illustrates that they see their daughter, but don’t know anything about her, such as the dangers that surround her. Realizing that she is alone, and no one is helping her, Cassies frantically reaches for the phone, which begins ringing. After finding the phone and trying to answer it, she realizes that it does not stop ringing, and finally the water level overcomes her and she drowns which ends the dream and wakes her up. Cassie looking for the phone amid danger is a symbol for her feeling lonely. This stems from the fact that the most important relationship in her life, her relationship with her parents, is missing, and to compensate for this missing...
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