Monday, 25 June 2012

English comparitive essay - relationships

For my comparative I studied the novel "how Many Miles To Babylon", the drama, "Dancing at Lughnasa" and the Film, "Inside I'm Dancing".

I dropped down to ordinary level so this comparative essay is done in the style of ordinary level questions, discussing only one text in the first half and the comparing it with a second text in the next part, however some of the points will be relevant and can be used at higher level as well if studying the theme of relationships. I have written my essay on Inside I'm Dancing and How many Miles to Babylon.




Two texts I have studied are, the novel, "How Many Miles to Babylon," by Jennifer Johnston, and the film, "Inside I'm Dancing," directed by Damien O'Donnell. I am going to discuss the relationship between Rory O'Shea and Michael Connolly in, "Inside I'm Dancing," and then compare it with the relationship between Alec Moore and Jerry Crowe in, "How Many Miles To Babylon."


Rory and Michael's first introduction was far from positive and their friendship was initially tense and fragile. Rory's rebellious, outspoken nature is in stark contrast to Michael's obedient, conservative personality. As a result, when Rory first arrives and Carraigmore, disturbing everybody with his loud, rude remarks, Michael feels intimidated by him and it seems unlike the pair would have anything in common. However, the one obvious link they do have is they are both physically disabled and confined to a wheelchair. Because of this, they have a mutual understanding that would not be possible with a physically abled person. They are both also somewhat immature in their own way. Rory acts like a stereotypical, rebellious teenager. Michael has a childish compliance, relying completely on the nurses without question. This immaturity helps their relationship to succeed as they help each other to grow up as the film progresses.

The first time Rory and Michael are connected as friends is in art class when Tommy says, "Ah fuck off, the pair of you." This is repeated in a later scene and yet again when the pair are leaving Carraigmore. At this time, Rory happily tells him, "We're fucking off, the pair of us!" They may not have been a pair when Tommy originally made the comment but they are now. After the art class, Michael begins to have an interest in Rory. Rory is starting to change Michael's view of the world. Michael is amazed that Rory is able to understand him and gets excited, wanting him to use his "gift" to help him. It is clear that Michael needs Rory, however, Michael has things to offer him as well. This is seen when Annie refuses to gel Rory's hair into his usual rebellious spikes. He asks Michael for help, although not politely, still calling him "Mary." Rory begins talking to him almost kindly and it is clear they are growing closer. Rory advises him on dressing well and Michael takes his advice, gelling his own hair too. Rory is shocked by Michael's lack of knowledge of the outside world, but instead of mocking him, he is sympathetic.

It is clear the pair are growing closer when Rory introduces Michale to his father and enquires about his family. He is shocked and angered by Michale's story and we see they have another thing in common; neither has a stable family background. Their relationship and dependence on one another is shown clearly when Michael applies for the Independent Living Allowance. Thanks to their ability to understand each other both verbally and emotionally, the two young men can at last begin to lead independent lives.
Rory's desire to be independent makes him a little selfish and insensitive at time.Siobhán and Michael refuse to him playing his music loudly and he reacts furiously to the introduction of rules. He is arrested for joyriding and seems oblivious to the worry and distress his actions have caused Michael and Siobhán. Siobhán becomes a source of conflict between them as Rory is jealous of the closeness between Michael and Siobhán. He bitterly remarks that Michael is turning their new home into Carraigmore when he decides to wait for Siobhán instead of going out with him. However, Rory still looks out for him, realising he is heading for heartbreak and advises him against telling Siobhán how he feels. He is protective of his friend and is pained by Michael's distress after Siobhán's rejection.

Siobhán's departure brings Rory and Michael together again. Michael is prepared to return to Carraigmore but Rory talks him out of it. He abandons his usual jokey manner and talks openly and honestly. Rory at last accepts responsibility for his actions and has matured enough to see that he should be more considerate of others. We believe Rory wants the best for Michael and is determined to help him lead his own life. He genuinely cares for his friend and the pair are united once again.

When Rory becomes ill, he becomes unfriendly once again and is distant from Michael and their new carer, Peter. He is hospitalised and the doctors tell Michael Rory is dying but that he would have been expecting it. For the first time we understand Rory's anger and his desperation to live life to the full. His references to Michael having the "gift" of the future and his determination to push him to make the most of his life now make sense. The pair's affection for each other is clear when they talk in hospital. Michael tells Rory he needs him but Rory says he does not need anyone, that he "is his own man now." From the first time Rory gave Michael the advice on hair and clothes, he has been guiding and helping him along the path to the life he now leads. The final piece to their friendship is in the last scene when Michael hears Rory;s voice in his head urging him to go out and make the most of the day. This shows the impact they made on each others lives and that Michael was right when he said Rory would live on in his heart.




Just as Michael and Rory appeared to have nothing in common at the beginning or "Inside I'm Dancing," Alec Moore and Jerry Crowe also seem to be complete opposites at the start of, "How Many Miles to Babylon." They were from completely different backgrounds. Alec was upper class, wealthy, and his family were concerned with their appearance and standing in society. Alec was also home-schooled so he would not have had much experience mixing with people his own age. Jerry, in complete contrast, was from a lower, working class background. The fact that the boys are opposites is similar to Rory and Michael, yet the reasons they are different is a contrast between the relationships. Rory and Michael had contrasting personalities whereas with Alec and Jerry they came from separate background. The two boys should never have become friends because in the 1930's when this novel is set, people of these two social classes did not mix. As a result, their friendship angered Alec's parents, "They wouldn't let us be friends." Similarly to Michael and Rory in, "Inside I'm Dancing," Alec and Jerry were initially wary and cautious of each other. However when Jerry invites Alec to swim with him in the lake, their friendship begins to grow.

Just Like Michael and Rory in "Inside I'm Dancing," had a mutual understanding due to their physical disabilities, Alec and Jerry also have a connection of a shared loneliness. They both understand the necessity of keeping their relationship hidden as they know their parents do not approve. Jerry tells Alec, "Your lot would care. Mine too if it came to it.One's as bad as the other." However, despite their parents efforts, the boys remain friends. They know how the other is feeling, just as Rory and Michael understand the difficulties the other faces from being confined to a wheelchair, whereas Alec and Jerry are confined by social class.

Neither Rory or Michael had a stable, loving family background in "Inside I'm Dancing," and the same is true of Alec and Jerry in, "How Many Miles to Babylon." Alec's parents care very little for what Alec wants and he does not have a close relationship with them. "I have not communicated with either my father or mother." They care more about money and their appearance in society then they do for their son's feelings and happiness. This is similar to Michael in "Inside I'm Dancing" as his father is more concerned with money and wants nothing to do with Michael once his wife died as he does not want the hassle of caring for his son. Jerry's parents are not featured in the novel which suggests he was not particularly close to them. He also says they would not approve of their friendship, "Neither would mine if it came to it." He appears to be alone and free to do as he wishes as he is at the races and drinking poteen. This is more similar to Rory in "Inside I'm Dancing." His dad is not a main character in the film and although he may try, he is unable to look after Rory and so Rory is free from parental constrictions.

Rory's jealousy of the closeness of Michael and Siobhán was a source of conflict between then in "Inside I'm Dancing," however, jealousy does not get between Alec and Jerry in "How Many Miles to Babylon," even though there is opportunities where it could have. Jerry could have been jealous when Alec was an officer even though he was only a soldier, but he never begrudged his friend for this. Also, Alec managed to stay close to Jerry and looked out for him while at war. He did not let the different rankings come between them, introducing him to his friend Bennett, despite Major Glenndinning's orders.

In the same way we see the love and affection Michael and Rory share at the end of "Inside I'm Dancing" when they talk in hospital, the love and affection is also obvious between Alec and Jerry at the end of, "How Many Miles to Babylon." Alec saves his friend the humiliation of being killed publicly by the firing squad and shoots Jerry himself. He did this even though he knew it would ensure he would be shot himself as a result and so he would have to endure the anguish he had spared his friend.

Neither Rory and Michael in "Inside I'm Dancing", or Alec and Jerry in "How Many Miles to Babylon", had a perfect relationship, yet they still overcame the obstacles and developed a love and affection for each other through their experiences, which creates a mutual happiness. It is clear that there are many similarities between these two relationships which shows the sharing common bonds and a mutual trust and support is essential in every relationship.

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