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The experience of moving into the new world can challenge individuals attitudes and beliefs.

Discuss this view with reference to your prescribed text and at least ONE related text of your own
choosing.
Individuals undergo different experiences and respond to them individually as they progress into new stages
of life. This notion is explored in both Stephen Daldrys film Billy Elliot (BE) and Junko Morimotos picture
book My Hiroshima (Hiroshima), an autobiography the atomic bombing in Japan, 1945. Both composers
demonstrate that in order for an individual to shift into new stages of life, barriers and obstacles must be
faced and overcome.
Distressing events often increase the rate of an individuals transformation and cause changes to their
perceptions of the world around them. In BE, Daldry provides the audience with background context of
Billys family, through the use of panning shots and symbolism of the piano. The piano serves as a reflection
of Billys connection to his deceased mother, highlighting the impact of her loss in her life. Daldry utilises the
leitmotif of the diegetic tune played by Billy on the piano throughout the film. At the beginning of the film,
Billys piano playing is out of tune and somewhat annoying, which is reflective of Billys dysfunctional family
unit and his inability to be who he truly is at the time, as per societal expectations and stereotyped gender
roles. However as the film progresses, his musical abilities improve, mirroring his transformation as a dancer
and his familys (who are representative of society) gradual acceptance of his newly formed identity as a
ballet dancer. As a result, it can be concluded that it is this connection to his late mother that is the
facilitator for his passion for the arts and dance, which results in his progression towards new experiences
and evolving attitudes.
This concept is further explored in Junko Morimotos My Hiroshima (MH), as she focuses on the difficulties
faced during her transitional stages of life. Morimotos use of change in tone conveys to the audience the
seriousness of the war and foreshadows how she is forced to advance into a warring society. The contrast
between the innocent and sombre tone reinforces the serious nature and impacts of the war. Despite this
change in tone, Morimoto still retains a childlike essence as she comes to an understanding that a big war
*has+ started. Through this retention of child naivety coupled with the use of first person narration,
Morimoto clearly demonstrates the personas forced progression into a belligerent society, epitomising the
struggles encountered during 1945. Just as Daldry depicts Billys metamorphosis as a young boy to a dancer
through the changes in his clothing, Morimoto does the same. She utilises transitional images from her child
to young adult self to portray not only her physical change, but also the changes from her surrounding
environment. This is evident through the changes in her clothing worn, as it shifts from a dress to military
like attire, ultimately serving as a representation of the world around *her changing+ a lot, underpinning
the notion of traumatic experiences posing as a catalyst for the growth of an individual.
When individuals undergo transformations into the broader world, they are often compelled to overcome
various challenges. During the entirety of the movie, Billy is constantly reminded of gender roles and societal
expectations during the 1980s. As exemplified by through the choice of costuming, the boxing gloves which
hang around Billys neck accompanied with his facial expression of complete bluntness reveal to the
audience that boxing is not of his interest, but rather a burden. However, through his decision to replace his
gloves with ballet shoes, he undergoes the journey of going against social norms which ultimately results in
his growth as a dancer and an individual. This consequence is evident through the close-up shots on Billys
feet at the beginning and end of the film contrasting his dancing abilities and depicting his evolvement as a
dancer. His journey is further highlighted through the leitmotif of Tchaikovskys Swan Lake which symbolises
his transformation from a nave young boy into a refined and world renowned ballet dancer, much akin to
the tale of The Ugly Duckling, where in which he overcomes the taunts and restrictions that are society.

Furthermore, Daldry utilises the pirouette to symbolise the beginning of Billys journey, depicting his initial
struggle of both becoming a ballet dancer as well as receiving his familys acknowledgment. The
juxtaposition between his pirouette at the beginning and end of the film signify not only his growth as a
dancer but also the overcome obstacle of the acceptance from family and society.
Though different in nature to BE, the challenges which arise in Hiroshima ultimately result in Morimotos
growth as she is forced to conquer them. The juxtaposition between two single page illustrations with their
contrasting colours of blue and brownish-black signify the impact of the bomb and foreshadowing how much
of an obstacle it later proved to be. Additionally, the use of a double-page illustration with the centred
Mushroom Cloud causes the audience to reflect on the seriousness of the bombing and the degree of the
obstacle which was now present. Accompanied with the illustration of a bright yellow sun at the top of the
page, Morimoto confesses that she was very lucky, *her+ family were all alive and *they+ were all together,
sheltering in a cave. The yellow tones applied when depicting the sun reflect the hope and feelings of
warmth she experiences for being able to survive with her family, momentous of her overcoming her
obstacle of death. As the Morimoto reminisces, all she sees now is clean white ground and peaceful images
of young students, who are just like I was so long ago. The connotations of white and peaceful imply a
sense of purity and harmony, showing the result of the overcome wartime. Morimoto and Daldry both
demonstrate their protagonists shift into a new age through the triumph over obstacles which resulted in
the success of their transition.
As individuals move into new stages of life, it is the ordeals that they face and the barriers in which they
must overcome that allow for them to be successful. As evident in Billy Elliot and My Hiroshima, the different
experiences each individual faces ultimately shape the way in which the respond as they move into the
world.

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