‘Never again’ is emphasised significantly as a whole line in itself ending with an enjambment. By using these techniques Lowell has used just two simple words to explain an aspect of the human condition. It explains that the grandparents and the world they belonged to have passed away irrecoverably, as it is part of the human condition that there is no returning after death. The last image of his doodling ‘handle bar moustaches on the last Russian Czar’ suggests the larger issues of how much the world to which his grandparents belonged has changed.
Gerry North’s photograph Markets at the Rocks uses various visual techniques to convey messages of freedom in the human society and the right to articulate individual ideas. The man clearly situated in the centre of all things represents the right to freely express oneself. He is of vital significance and this is exposed as he has been foregrounded. The people in the background are of little significance and have been blurred. The vectors from these people’s eyes are arbitrary and as a result give the idea that they do not take notice of the bold individual. This is again indicative of the appreciation of all individuals.
He is not alienated and looked upon as an outcast as shown by the people’s random line of site. The thick vectors in the background are also quite irregular; however, the spikey shapes of the lines do take part in leading the viewers eyes to the extraordinary hairstyle of the salient figure. The hairstyle is certainly one stereotypical of an adolescent, yet an older man, presumably in his 30’s due to his embrace with his baby, possesses the teenage egocentric look. This is indicative of the results in a changing society; a similar aspect of the human condition given by the poems.
The baby that he holds may also be seen as the salient figure. However, the vectors have been arranged so that the viewer notices the presumable father first, and then subsequently his distinct hair. Finally the vector of the long coloured strand of hair leads to the site of the baby. So the child is not noticed immediately, but does take some time to acknowledge. It is still important to consider the baby as he is centred and foregrounded along with his father. The man, wearing sunglasses as if a bodyguard, embraces his baby tightly to the front of his body as if he expects someone to attempt a kidnap of his child.
The body language here explains that humans are protective of what is believed as being precious possessions to the individual, in this case: the baby. The child principally represents the human condition of all infants to be innocent. The young are careless and do not hold a worry in the world. This juxtaposes to the father, representing the adult world of worries. The lines on his forehead are symbolic of his concern for society. Yet he has a smirk on his lips as if he is proud of his choice to be different. He wants to stand and admire life for what it is, unlike the monotonous conformed society that is blurred to insignificance.
This idea of unconformity and appreciation of life is conveyed through the animated cartoon, The Plodder. Michael Leunig, a commentator on the human condition, uses simple, short cartoons to express his ideas to the public, and has done so undoubtedly with The Plodder. He expresses the message that society operates in a created sense of urgency. The idea is that the majority of the people believe that acting too slowly upon seeing an opportunity means there will be no other chances of success later on and thus must move quickly. Another idea that arises in The Plodder is that life is a journey and not a destination.
This is all shown using intriguing techniques in his interesting and comical cartoon that captures its viewers. The animation starts out with an individual character walking towards the left slowly followed by the screen in a slow pan. Every step is taken with precision, taking about the same amount of time for each step to land, and this is emphasised by the mimetic beat of the background music. The music is motion-toned as the pitch rises as a hurrying man runs from right to left, passing the individual. As the man runs past he calls out ‘You’ll get left behind!
‘, and the individual’s responds with ‘How Wonderful’. After this, the pitch is lowered again and the individual continues walking slowly. Only in a matter of seconds, a lady comes running by in the same direction and as she passes she yells ‘You’ll miss out! ‘ to which he replies ‘How lovely’. One by one, people run past him trying to condemn and mock the leisurely individual for not conforming, however, the individual remains unhurt by their sayings and repeats pleasant words as an answer to the runners. The technique of dialogue and its setting out is very important.
It tells the viewer that the individual thinks in his own ways, not conforming to the society that believes in the created sense of urgency. This individual has his own objective in life and wants to live by experiencing everything slowly while others try to make him keep in touch with the real world hence the call “You won’t know what’s happening. You won’t be clever! ” Visual techniques used by the composer to deliver his ideas include colour, foreground/backgrounding and body language. The colour of the background is natural, with the sky in blue and the ground in green as grass usually is.
This use of natural colour has connotations to the natural instincts of human beings and thus links with the issue that Leunig suggests. The colour of the people running in the background is darker than the individual who stands in the foreground, revealing the runners as ominous characters, who together represent the majority of the world. The foregrounding of the individual and the backgrounding of the runners signifies the individual over the other people, as if criticising the world in the background and using the individual character to portray the world that should be as it always is with Michael Leunig’s works.
The posture and body language of the characters in The Plodder is organised so that the individual is slightly hunched showing the person’s humbleness while the runners are portrayed standing tall and strong showing false confidence. The composers of the abovementioned texts use a variety of techniques, to connect and explain aspects of the human condition. The texts explore and comment on human tendencies and of life and death, contributing to the meaning of the human condition.