For a text to be successful, elements of the setting must be recognisable

Atwood’s message of being aware of future dystopia was recognisable through the element of control through fear in The Handmaid’s Tale. Through Offred, the stories main character, Atwood was able to portray control through fear because Offred was controlled through her fear of the ruling totalitarian regime. Offred constantly worried over what could happen to her if she were to step out of line. Examples of what could happen to her were constantly put on display through the humiliation of having dead bodies publicly displayed and people simply when one of the eyes vans turned up at a doorstep. Offred wanted to escape to leave and see what the world was like outside of what seemed to her as a cage of which she was trapped in with no obvious way out. However, what really happened to people if they stepped out of line was not always made obvious, and therefore I believe that the biggest fear for Offred would have been her fear of what was unknown to her. This control through fear was definitely made obvious by Atwood through Offred and her fear of what might happen to her if she steps out of line as well as here fear of the unknown. Another contributing factor for Offred’s fear would have been what happened in the world beyond the walls. Therefore the success of the text was dependant on how recognisable the setting of control through fear was.



V for Vendetta

What matters most to viewers is not what a text makes them think, but how it makes them feel.

Symbolism is another key cinematography technique in the domino scene to display the directors intention. Once V has laid all of the dominoes, a birds-eye view camera shot shows us the shape that he has created with them, a red V in a black circle which is his trademark symbol. The V does not only represent who he is, but what he was. V was subject no. 5 in a laboratory that labelled their subjects doors with roman numerals, the roman numeral for 5 is V. This is symbolic in that V is perceived as an idea by the audience. The setting up of the domino’s represents the setting up of V’s plan to overthrow the Norsefire party and the time it takes to do so is represented through the use of the montage. V lays the first domino, a black one, at the beginning of the montage, before the camera shot with the original Guy Fawkes and then the laboratory with V on the door. After a few more shots from the beginning, it comes back to V laying dominos and he has moved onto having a few more rows, the process then repeats itself by showing more of the key shots from the film before returning to V, who has laid more dominos in that time. This is a key of symbolism to show how long V’s plan has taken to set up and it also creates a feeling of anticipation within the audience as they wait to see what the shape of all of the dominos will create. When V finally finishes and flicks the base of the V shape, the whole set up of the dominos falls easily and the camera skips between shots of the falling dominos and shots of rebellion against governments. This accentuates the built up anticipation of the audience as they have also waited to see the dominos fall and the camera shots of rebellion will help the audience to reflect on the societal issues we have today, which could include the terrorist attacks that are happening all through Europe at the moment. The power of ideas is also represented through the use of symbolism because it is V who has set the dominos up, V has laid his plan, V will overthrow the government, and V is represented as an idea. As all of the dominos fall, they circle around to leave one final domino standing, a red one. This could be symbolic of the change that has occurred as V began with a black domino and finished with a red one, showing the change in power. Therefore, the viewers feel more anticipation as the dominos fall and then think more about the what the film stands for and is representing.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. HMT – there’s some nice explanation in there, but you really need quotes for effect. Don’t forget all elements of the SEXY structure need to be evident.

    V for Vendetta – driven more by examples. Make sure you explain their effect and how they support your answering of the question.


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