Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

Certain Catalysts Can Affect Change, Gow’s Away Compared to the Help

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People can act as catalysts for change. Both Gow and Taylor use the main character’s circumstances to affect change in attitude amongst the other characters. In ‘Away’, Tom’s fatal illness causes the other characters to realise the value of their lives and become more positive about life. In ‘The help', Skeeter’s mission to write a book to uncover the harsh mistreatment of the African American helpers to change the white community’s attitude. In both texts the authors use techniques appropriate to their medium to demonstrate this change in attitude. In ‘The Help’ the character Skeeter is the catalyst for change.

The change she causes is a change in mentality towards the African American helpers. This change in mentality is represented through Skeeter’s mother. Gow uses contrasting scenes to show the mother’s change in mentality, which is also represented through the general change in the attitude of the white community. This is shown through the juxtaposition of the early scene where Skeeter and her helpers are sitting in the television room watching an African American speak on TV. Skeeter’s mother finds them watching the African American and commands them to turn it off.

With the use of a low camera angle Skeeter’s mother shows authority and power over the African American helpers as well as Skeeter herself. In the end scene Skeeter and the African American helpers are watching the same thing on TV. Skeeter sees her mother and goes to turn off the TV. Skeeter’s mother says to leave it on and joins them on the couch. The camera angle changes in this scene from the early scene whereby Taylor makes use of a low camera angle. Skeeter’s mother does not show authority or power over everyone including the African American helpers.

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Skeeter is shocked by this change in attitude, but is happy that her mother is finally changing her mentality towards the helpers. Therefore through the use of contrasting camera angles, Taylor shows a change in attitude, brought about by the catalyst of Skeeter’s character. In ‘Away’, Gow also uses the main character as the catalyst for change. Like in “The Help”, the change he causes is a change in mentality of the other characters. This change occurs due to Tom’s fatal illness, which makes the other characters in the play become more positive and realise how precious life is.

The change in mentality is shown through one particular character, Gwen. The techniques used to show the change in mentality is the use of stage directions and dialogue. The use of these techniques show the way that Gwen changes her attitude towards life. At the beginning of the play, the use of repetition of the word ‘no’ demonstrates her negativity. This negativity is changed when Gwen finds out that Tom has a fatal illness and does not have very long to live. This causes Gwen to see her life in a different mentality, changing her into a nicer and more appreciative person.

This is shown through the technique of stage directions in the final scene of the play, where ‘the applause is led thunderously by Gwen’. This technique shows the shift in mentality to a much more positive outlook on life. In conclusion, both Gow and Taylor show how people can act as catalysts for change. In both ‘Away’ and ‘The Help’ the main characters are the catalysts for a change in mentality. This change is a time consuming process, however both Gow and Taylor show how valuable this change can be.

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Certain Catalysts Can Affect Change, Gow’s Away Compared to the Help. (2017, May 20). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/certain-catalysts-can-affect-change-gows-away-compared-help/

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