Critically evaluate the way composers have represented these people to show how globalisation has created ways of thinking that have affected them.
Globalisation has seen the erosion of traditional boundaries, in order for technology to expand the communication of universal truths, collapsing time and distance, and homogenise global and local constructions of reality into a single cultural identity. This “culture of cultures,” however, maintains values which perpetuate negative impacts upon the local, victimising one’s cultural environment and identity on various levels as can be seen in Seamus Heaney’s poems – “Digging” and “Requiem for the Croppies,” and Annie Proulx’s novel- “The Shipping News.” These texts along with others including Yasumara Morimara’s visual “The Slaughter Cabinet II,” the film “Snow Falling on Cedar,” and the Television series – “Star Trek: Voyager;” use various techniques and paradigms to illustrate how retreating becomes a way of challenging the status quo, through preserving the local. These texts illustrate the way globalisation has created different ways of thinking, which have often emphasised the way one struggles to exclude the global, or balance both cultural forces.
These different ways of thinking have often come to existence, as a result of individuals who become aware of the disintegration of the qualities which make their local traditional and enlightening. In Heaney’s “Digging,” the composer’s use of structural divisions symbolically supports the process of retreating, exploring his Irish heritage. The exclamation of “by god” and abstract notion of the “old man”, for instance, conveys a sense of admiration for the traditional connections between the Irish and their land – “By god, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man.” The political discourse, however, created by the pen’s quality of being “snug as a gun;” and the irony where the pen or the Global is needed to communicate local values; indicates that the composer has accepted that the victimisation of the local is inevitable and inescapable. These Global forces, however, has led Heaney to suggest to the responder that although the past cannot be replaced, and a total complete return can be made, there is an alternate way to “dig” and “follow men like them,” using strategies of the global against itself – “The squat pen rests, ill dig with it.”
Globalisation has superseded national boundaries, influencing one’s interpretations of their lives to a degree in which they are forced to respond through conforming to standards, revolting or suffering as victims unable to find an identity or community to belong to. Similar to “Digging,” the use of structural divisions in “The Shipping News,” significantly symbolises Quoyle’s retreat, and reveals to the responder the vast contrasts between global and local values. Quoyle’s childhood, for instance, imaginatively describes the global as superficial and unaccommodating – “failure of a normal appearance…at sixteen he was buried under a casement of flesh…” All one can do in these global situations which affect one’s perception is to “invent stratagems to deflect stares.” This depiction of the global as lacking in substance and individualism is further emphasised by Petal Bear, who’s “Thin. Moist. Hot.” Appearances are contrasted to the black humour in her death, when she attempts to sell their children to a paedophile, and dies in a car crash. The composer hence, highlights the predictability and negative impacts the global has on an individual.
Newfoundland’s contrasting celebrations of local traditions, such as the Christmas pageant in chapter thirty four, illustrates the way the local is supportive – “a sweep of best clothes…the puff of scented bodies, a murmur like bees over a red field” The metaphor of the “bees” quite obviously suggests that the local community is content, as a result of simplicities – the gathering of a small crowd of people. Within this communal atmosphere, Quoyle’s character is able to develop, as seen in his last conversation with Tert Card – “wife!…[shes] not going down there, she’s staying right here. Stay home where she belongs.” With which in reaction, Quoyle, walks – “off to his children,” symbolic of Proulx’s portrayal of the local as renewing one’s faith in life. Essentially, through contrasting global and local settings, the composer antagonises the Global’s victimisation of individuals, and transforms Quoyle’s experiences into a symbol of the local’s growing strength through its struggle with the global.
Scientifically, there are those who argue that the victimisation of the local is inevitable, as culture is a social invention, changing since the beginning of history. The “Requiem for the Croppies” however, utilizes past tense to create a nihilistic atmosphere illustrating the way a retreat can be made through counterattacking all consuming global forces such as colonialism – “”Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannons.” The image of the priest and the tramp together, transcends class and religious barriers, and illustrates the way the local upholds their land to any cost. The phrase “Shaking scythes at cannons” is symbolic of the inadequacies suffered by the local, however, it allows the local to inherit heroic qualities. The first person plural of “we” and “our,” further personalises the local’s struggle. The imagery of the barley and the notion of time, invokes the audience’s sense of justice, attentively highlighting the local’s defiance through counterattacking -“and in august…the barley grew up out of our grave.”
Like Heaney’s poems, the positive qualities of the local, brings about a struggle for those who are confronted with the pressure of global networks to standardise. chapter 25 of “The Shipping News,” in particular, sees Proulx’s characterisation of Tert Card and Billy Petty, illustrate her debates on the ways individuals are economically victimised – “We’re all going to be rich… its going to be golden days” states Tert. The “fish plant man” – Billy’s supporter states, in contrast states that “a man’s set up for life if he’s got a pig, a plant, and a potato patch. What do they say now? Every man for himself.” The rhetoric question persuades the responder that the global is materialistic through being economically successful, and further highlights the need to retreat in order to preserve local communities.
Globalisation has meant that there is a post modern collapse of meanings and further pressure on individuals to reinvent themselves. In relative contrasts to the other texts,
Morimara’s “Slaughter Cabinet II” is hence, a post modern visualisation of the extreme consequences of this notion. The image of the soldier pointing a gun at a civilian, for instance, ironically illustrates the Global’s superficial appearances in accommodating individuals. The composer’s juxtaposition of the image against a cabinet with traditional coffin-like decorations, are used to harness a retreat from the global that can often be forgotten as an alternative way of dealing with victimisation, which is in this case, the Vietnam War. The lighting and the scale of the cabinet to the photo creates vectors centring the responder’s attention on the photo. This stage like appearance serves to heighten the responder’s shock of the violence, injustice and the tragedy. The cabinet therefore serves as a memorial to the victimised local; reminding responders that globalisation must be restricted in order to allow individuals to continue retreating.
Subject to many perspectives, Globalisation however, can be argued to have its benefits, as opposed to a victimisation of individuals. In “Star Trek: Voyager” the episode entitled “Scorpion II;” like “Requiem for the Croppies,” further exemplifies the concept that the local may at times, benefit from global strategies, as a result of their pragmatic inadequacies. The science fictional visual effects, the long shot of the camera and the dramatic music draws our attention to this success of uniting global and local strategies, as Borg and Voyager members defeat a common enemy. The oversized cube shaped ship of the Borg and the contrasting scale of the Voyager travelling alongside is further evidence of this unity. Philosophically, however, the composer’s use of the concepts of the Borg’s “collective minds” in search for “perfection” symbolically illustrates their arguments that although the local is “individualistic,” “conflicted” and “lack the coercion of a collective mind,” the global is excessively hedonistic and superficial to accommodate one’s humanity. The contrast of costumes, where the Borg are biologically enhanced, and Voyager members wear simplistic uniforms; further emphasises that the composer stresses that the most appealing ideal lies in a balance of global and local cultures, to avoid total victimisation.
Globalisation may be extremely influential to a degree, where it may become an obstruction to those retreating from victimisation. In “Snow Falling on Cedars” the composer’s multiculturalism of American and Japanese local communities, retreating from an all – destructive global community, exemplifies the way the local may adapt through integrating retreating communities together. The contrast of flashbacks however illustrates the extent to which global attitudes affect the local. The parade scene, for instance, is similar to the Christmas Pageant, and contrasts to the flashbacks of World War II, where Japanese fellow citizens are placed into concentration camps. The discontinuation of the music, the spatial distance between the boat exporting the Japanese people and the island creates a dramatic visual impact, convincing us that, at times, the chance the local spirit retreat, after the erosion of communal values, is relatively less.
Retreating from the global constitutes an exclusion of global ways and a preservation of contrasting traditional values in order to avoid a victimisation the global perpetuates. As the texts show through creating symbolic relationships with global and local concepts, globalisation has created a vast tapestry of ideals and values. The representations of one’s retreat, suggest that the global is all consuming, and negatively impacts upon local culture, as consumerism, materialism and hedonism erode traditions and identity. Retreating is thus more preferable, however, may not always be possible due to the degree cultures have become standardised. Some of the composers, however, illustrate that the global can provide benefits to accommodate the inadequacies of the local. And in turn, most of the texts point to the ideal that there is a need to integrate global and local aspects – a glocalised culture, in order to substantially support one’s identity in the 20th century.