Witness: Essay

Topics: Amish, Peter Weir, Maslow's hierarchy of needs Pages: 2 (915 words) Published: April 10, 2010
Persuasive Essay - Witness
Our separate individual identities are shaped by our interpretations of our society’s ideals and values. As individuals, we reflect in our personalities and actions by what we hear and see in the media, and through what we have observed personally in the world in general. Having an experience of our society’s rules, we are able to make informed decisions and choices by the ethical and moral concerns that we are bound by. Despite this, when moving from one country to another, we may be confronted by a different system with distinct and perhaps seemingly unusual sets of principles. If this is indeed the case, this would be reflected by the different people in the country as a whole compared to our own. In order for unity and harmony to flourish between these two countries, establishing common ground is essential, or if this is not possible than an acknowledgement of some of their ideals and values and the abandonment of some of ours is necessary. However, in doing this we are losing our original identity. In the film, “Witness,” directed by Peter Weir, an Amish widow, Rachel Lapp, and her young son, Samuel, depart for Baltimore to visit their relative. They take a break in a railway station in Philadelphia and Samuel, in his need to explore and understand the new world he is surrounded by, begins wondering alone in his need to belong. In the men’s toilets, he is a witness to a murder and is traumatized by it. Evidently, it changes him and his views of the world are forever altered. When he is confronted by another Amish named Eli, he is asked a series of questions leading up to as to whether he would ever kill a man. Samuel replies to this question by stating, “...only the bad men”. Clearly, this emphasizes the change seen in Samuel through his interactions with others outside the Amish community. This proves that in general, the need to belong and the people we are influenced and surrounded by can have some significant impacts...
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