Every day individuals can encounter discoveries, which may have been planned or unintentional. These discoveries can be fresh and intensely meaningful for an individual, allowing them to speculate about future possibilities. Through my analysis of ‘Go Back to Where you Came From’ by Ivan O’Mahoney and You Are Not Your Body’ by Janine Shepherd, I have been able to explore how texts can display how the ramifications of the individuals’ discoveries differ from each other due to their previous social contexts and values.
These texts, therefore, allow an audience to see how the individuals’ breakthroughs offer them with new understandings of themselves and others. Individuals can be given opportunities that allow them to be placed in new situations where they can gain a fresh and new perspective of the world. This is what the documentary TV series ‘Go Back to Where You Came From’ by Ivan O’Mahoney did. The TV program allowed an audience to follow the confronting journey that six Australians experience as they walk in the footsteps of refugees and asylum seekers.
Go Back to Where You Came From’ was a social experiment that follows the main idea of building empathy towards these refugees and asylum seekers as it is a universal problem in society. Being such a highly debated and controversial topic, consequently, the six Australians were bound to have different views and preconceived ideas about the issue. However, towards the end of this program, all individuals had a new and deeper understanding of the issue as they discovered what the refugees truly had to face.
Numerous techniques are used throughout this program to help identify and highlight moments of discovery that the participants experience. An example of one of these techniques is the use of flashbacks. At the beginning of this series, participants were interviewed about their current attitudes towards the refugees. Throughout the series, they flash back to these initial interviews to show the audience, whether the individuals’ beliefs had changed or stayed the same. An example of this is in episode 3 when Raquel is at the refugee camp in Kakuma.
Here they use a flashback to go to the interview where Raquel states “I guess I am a bit racist….. I just don’t like Africans”. This is then followed by Raquel now stating she now believes you should get to know people before you judge and admits her shift in attitude. By using this flashback, it illustrates to the audience that after being exposed to the harsh reality and discovering what these people go through, she has grown more compassionate towards them and now wants to help them.
This becomes meaningful to her as she is affected by the stories of the people she has met on her journey. Throughout the program, the participants were not only exposed to the harsh living conditions, but were also deeply moved by the refugees they met. The participants began to realise how badly these people suffer and discover the reasons as to why they flee their countries. Close ups are used on individuals to show their facial expressions to give the audience an idea of the thoughts that person has going through their mind.
At the end of episode 3, the host of the show, David Corlett, speaks to the group about the changes in their attitudes after their experiences. He speaks to the participant Raye and reminds her of the time she was speaking about the detention centre next door to her where she said “I could have gone over there and shot the lot of them”. When she is told this, she looks up in disbelief and says “Did I say that? “. There is soft music that has been edited in to play in the background here to reflect Raye’s soft tone of speaking about the refugees.
She explains that by meeting these people and being exposed to their living conditions, that she now feels more compassionate towards them through her of discovery of why they flee their countries. The series of events that an individual may come across can lead them to new perceptions of themselves as they go through a meaningful self-discovery. A discovery like this, allows an individual the chance to embrace an opportunity to find themselves and also reassess who they are.
You are not your body” is an empowering and moving speech given by Janine Shepherd about how the recovery from her accident changed her forever. All the way through this speech, she uses a variety of language techniques which provided a chance for the audience to feel engaged as they invited into her self-discovery. Janine utilises rhetorical questions to emphasise her vulnerability at moments and to show her changes. “Why me!… Why not me” are two rhetorical questions she makes to show the audience a time of self-acceptance after her accident when she begins to makes her change.
The personal discovery she made here, allowed her to have a change of view as she realised that the direction from rock bottom, is up. Another moment of personal discovery in this speech is when she is in the spinal ward with the other patients and a doctor comes in to give them straws. As he got them to all join their straws together he said “Now we are all connected”. Janine refers to this being a metaphor as she realises that even though we all have our differences, we are all connected as equal humans.
The audiences can feel a connection here as they begin to feel the nnection with Janine through her choice of words to engage them. In conclusion, the discoveries that individuals make, allow them to have moments of revelation where they lead to new ideas and values in life. These two texts that have been analysed provided examples of individuals embracing opportunities that lead them to fresh and intensely meaningful discoveries. The results of these discoveries allowed them to have new perceptions on the world and themselves.