English Language A ~Essay~

The teen years are a time of change. Discuss with reference to TWO texts you have studied this term.

Topic Sentence: ‘Yolngu Boy’ and ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ shows that adolescence is a time when people discover new things about themselves and others.

‘Yolngu Boy’ directed by Stephen Johnson and ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ written by Melina Marchetta show that adolescence is a time when people discover new things about themselves and others. Throughout both texts, culture is a significant influence when it comes to making decisions. The composers also explore social expectations, family issues and peer pressure. While ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ and ‘Yolngu Boy’ explore complicated situations that teenagers face, the texts also reveal how the protagonists can learn from their mistakes. Culture is one of the main aspects that determine changes in one’s self.

‘Yolngu Boy’ and ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ both show that changes can occur as a result of the influence of culture, however, the texts differ vastly. During adolescence, certain morals, influences, beliefs, rules and customs are taught to teenagers and it becomes the cultural expectation that they will live up to all of them. In the movie ‘Yolngu boy’, one of the main protagonists Bojt shows how culture can impact on people’s life. In aboriginal culture, it is a custom to prove one’s self to the elders so that you can be eligible to become a ‘man’. However, when Bojt makes a mistake like all teenagers do, it is in his culture to be punished for it. Which is why he does not get chosen for the initiation ceremony to become a man. Alternatively, Josie, the protagonist from ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ is defined by her Italian-Australian cultural background. Both the cultures, she embraces but she is scared to be proud and show off her Italian culture, as she is worried about what people may think. Teenagers are always worried about their image and what their society might think of them, and their personal development and the choices they make are restricted by social expectations.

Social expectations are ways that society expects/demands people to behave, as they develop past the stage of teenagers. Teenagers grow up having expectations to live up to, in order not to shame their family or be a disappointment to the society. In ‘Looking for Alibrandi’, Josie’s friends discuss an unwritten social expectation which Lee (Josie’s friend) states, “People breed with their own kind…the drags marry the drags and the wogs marry the wogs”. This shows that no matter how hard people try to not be defined by culture, society still finds ways to control them. While it was socially frowned upon that Josie was going out with an Australian boy named Jacob Coote, she did not care as, she believes she is the only master of her own destiny. Josie is expected to marry someone from her own ethnic group, while Bojt was expected to be a role model for the younger aboriginal boys waiting to get to the new stage in their culture, when they are accepted as men. So when Bojt made the wrong choice, he was a disappointment to his society and was excluded. However, Bojt had some issues most teenagers can relate to but he did not have a family to support him and set his social expectations, which played a big role in the way he developed.

Teenagers find it harder to cope with challenging situations and resort to using dishonest methods, while they are still naive. Bojt was a troubled boy, although he did not have a family to support him, he did have his two best friends Milika and Lorrpu. They were his rock, they tried to be there for him as much as they could and support through the tough times, which was difficult as Bojt found it hard to release his emotions and let them help him. Meanwhile Bojt took advantage of their bond, by using peer pressure to influence them in making immoral discussions they would not have normally made, as they knew right from wrong. Growing up as teenagers one of the easiest things to do to friends is use peer pressure to get them to do something they know is wrong or uncomfortable. However, one of the hardest things to do is to say no to peer pressure. As peer pressure is linked to social expectations and once teens learn that saying no wont be the end of their life, is when they know they’ve reached a new stage of their life and are at a higher maturity level.

Growing up, the people teenagers rely on most to support them, include their family and friends. Nevertheless for some teenagers that is not always the case, just like Bojt. Despite Bojt having a family, his mother had forbidden him to see her and his younger siblings, while his father was a drunk and left them to go to Darwin when Bojt was younger. His father was a violent man and after Bojt had gone to jail his mother could no longer trust him and that was why she forbade him from seeing his only family, which Bojt regretted greatly as he just wanted and needed a second chance. Bojt became more and more destructive, he knew he had no family, if only his mother had forgiven him, he might have been able to get back on track. However, some families cannot let go of the past and move on, Bojt could no longer control his actions, he did not want to be a burden on his friends any longer. Deep down he knew he would never be fully accepted back into the community, after all his mistakes so he decided the easiest way out of the mess he had created was to take his life away from himself. One of the most foolish mistakes he had made, was stealing petrol to get himself high, as he begun to make more mistakes, he began to sniff petrol more frequently. Petrol sniffing is one of the many things teenagers can use as an escape from the real world, it is not a good method as it blurs the judgement and damages the brains of those who use it. This is why thousands of teenagers just like Bojt choose to commit suicide. As a similar idea is explored in ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ John Barton had a perfect life and so many people envied him. However, his perfect life was only a shield hiding his true self and feelings, which became stronger and stronger. He could no longer deal with his life anymore, so he too decided to commit suicide as an escape, which had a terrible impact on his friends and family who loved him dearly. This is a harsh reality that many teenagers choose to use as a way of escaping their lives, freeing themselves from the wrong they have made, not caring that they are young and they have many years to redeem themselves as they mature.

When a child grows into the stage of becoming a teenager, this is a period of time, which defines ones personality. We all discover ourselves in different ways, some have to make mistakes and learn from them like Josie did while some learn from the mistakes of others, just as Milika and Lorrpu learnt from Bojt’s wrong choices. If teenagers can survive: cultural identity, being judged on a daily bases by their society, family complications and peer pressure, then they have a greater chance of developing maturely into a morally sound human being just like Milika, Lorrpu and Josie. The key to success is never giving up. The obstacles teenagers have to face proves, that teen years are a time of change and most likely teens face challenging changes that may never be experienced again in their lifetime. Therefore, teen years could make or break a person, accepting that teenagers change, is a step in furthering life experience.

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English Language A ~Yolgnu Boy~

  • The film explores many issues however,  most of the issues trying to relate to young adults. The main issues were revolving around Botj, when he started to smoke, when he got addicted to sniffing petrol and when he used peer pressure to pressure his two friends Lorrpu and Milika to break into a store and steal things.Also one of the biggest fears for teenagers is that their going to take their own life from themselves which is exactly what Botj did at the end of the film. When Botj took his own life he wasn’t thinking straight which is another issue for teenagers is the get high (Botj being high on petrol) and then they go and make decisions without giving it any thought on not just what will happen to themselves but what will happen to their family and friends.
  • As teenagers we all go through the same changes but the difference is how we choose to deal with these changes. There are always going to be times in one’s life when they look back and think why did I do that but the main thing is did you learn from the mistake you made which Lorrpu and Milika did but sadly Botj could not. There have defiantly been times when i’ve known my friends were about to do something stupid but I had known control in couldn’t stopping them. These mistakes were noting compared to Botj although I have encounted a friend who has done things like Botj and has sadly ended up in the same place. The factors that separate us from Lorrpu, Milika and Botj are; they practise different cultures, they didn’t really have anyone supporting them 100% or if they did it wasn’t clear and the friendship was so strong that only death could separate them (and even after death they still on some level are together).
  • Through out the film many themes are explored but the key themes are;  rites of passages, personal growth, the search for identity, rights, rules, responsibilities and friendship I believe the biggest key theme of the film is rights, rules and responsibilities, the film is showing the viewers the bad side of being a teenager and how with your actions come consequences. Teenagers often make the most stupid mistakes of their teenage life because of peer pressure (a friend or even an acquaintance).
  • When I was watching the film my emotions were always changing but through most of the movie I was on the edge of my seat feeling uneasy about what was happening. When Botj got Lorrpu and Milika to break into the store and steal things, I knew something bad was about to happen and I wanted to stop it even though I know it’s just a movie. Things went from bad to worse when it came to Botj, as after he got the boys to steal he then went and started sniffing petrol. At this stage of the movie it made me think what is he doing to himself and why can’t anyone stop him from harming himself? (There must be hundreds of other teenagers who are in the same sort of trouble and might even want to stop but cannot. As they have no one to support them which make be feel helpless yet at the same time fortunate).

When it came to the end of the movie I knew it couldn’t end with a typically “they all lived happily ever after” as Botj was mentally unstable but I didn’t expect for him to kill himself and when he did I was almost crying. He wasn’t thinking straight when he chose to kill himself and then seeing his best friends mourn for their friend that caused them so much trouble, it felt so real and I felt like I was there with them which was modifying to be perfectly honest. Although I felt sad I also felt like those boys were very special and had a lot of loyalty to each other and it made me think that if I had a friend who was willing to risk their own freedom for me I would be very lucky. Also although Botj died I felt on some level he had to die so that his friends could get on with their lives and I think on Botj knew that.

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English Language A ~Rites of Passage~

  • Define the term “rite of passage” in your own words.

Rite of passage is when a ceremony or ritual is held to symbolise the changes in ones life. The changes from growing out of childhood and growing into adulthood. In every culture there are rites of passages however, with different cultures come different traditions and rites of passages are what help to separate cultures.

  • Research and list examples of rites of passage from a variety of different cultures
  • Débutante ball: When an upper class young lady reaches maturity she is introduced to the society as a woman at a formal ball known as Débutante. Débutante’s are held in Australia, United Kingdom, Untied States, Philippines and latin America, depending on the country the details slightly change but generally young ladies from 16 to 18 will be eligible. Also the young ladies wear a white gown symbolizing a  young girl’s virginity and purity.

    Bar Mitzvah: When a jewish boy reach the age of 13 he has a  Bar Mitzvah ceremony which means he is now responsible for his own actions.

    Quinceañera: This is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday. In Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Venezuela (each countries traditions varying) the 15th birthday differs the other birthdays as it marks the transition from girl to woman. This is an event which indicates the young lady has reached a higher level of maturity.

    Some other rites of passages are:

    • Baptism
    • First Eucharist and
    • First Confession
    • Confirmation
    • Rumspringa
    • Circumcision
    • Missionary
    • Saṃskāra
    • Shinbyu in Theravada Buddhism
    • Vision quest
    • 21st birthday

    Why do you think people hold these types of ceremonies?

    The reason I believe people have ceremonies is because parents want to show how their children are developing and going through stages to become adults. Wouldn’t you want to be the centre of attention? The ceremonies let the parents show how proud and how much they love their children and went to share with the world how the children are changing. The ceremonies are also what help differ the cultures and makes them unique as each ceremony varies depending on the cutlure.Describe a rite of passage that you have seen or been involved in.

    Describe a rite of passage that you have seen or been involved in.

    The first rite of passage I was ever involved in was my Baptism. This is a ceremony Catholics perform to initiate the new-born baby into the religion, it involve wetting the babies forehead with oil, putting a little bit of salt on the babies tongue and being introducing to your godparents (the ones who look after you incase something happens to your parents).

    What does this reveal about your culture?

    Well this reveals that my culture is based a lot of Christianity as we have many stages held in the church depending on the age of the child. For example, after the baptism then comes the first confession, first eucharist, confirmation and so on.

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