Harry Lavender Essay – Draft 1
Composers use elements and characteristics of language to create voice in their texts to shape meaning and affect interpretation of the audience. This is demonstrated by the composers of the following texts; “The life and Crimes of Harry Lavender” composed by Marele Day, the 2010 film “never Let Me Go” directed by Richard Eyre and the novel “Wuthering Heights” composed by Emily Bronte In the novel “The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender” the composer Marele Day’s persona Claudia Valentine uses distinct elements and characteristics of language to create subversion of conventional American crime fiction. Claudia’s voice creates a more feminized contemporary genre style, which alters the audience’s interpretation of the novel. Claudia is presented as a hard drinking loner replicating the classic 1940’s private investigator lifestyle.
However, there is a subversion of the genre stereotype portrayed through Claudia’s gender and her romance with Steve Angell, who she is “drawn magnetically towards” which foreshadows a possible romantic relationship. This subversion is also evident in the maternal tones of Claudia’s voice when she is fearful for her children’s safety, begging her ex-husband to “Keep them safe Gary.” The expression of Claudia’s femininity through elements and characteristics of her language enable the audience to perceive this character as not being a stereotypical, marginalized, impecunious and emotionless conventional American crime fiction detective. However, Claudia’s personal life is juxtaposed by her tough career as a detective; who must expose the social, judicial and political injustices of the crime boss Harry Lavender and in a tone of revenge states “I would get Lavender… for what he’d done to my father… what he was doing to my city.” As Claudia’s career as a detective she must also solve crimes including the Mark Bannister murder.
To do this she uses possible connections to Mark Bannister such as his girlfriend Sally Villios who speaks with childlike imagery and oxymoron when inviting Claudia to “come and join the party…Informal formalities were over.” She also questions Bannister’s neighbor Mrs. Levack who is representative of the elderly generation. Mrs Levack speaks with an enthusiastic tone and is described by Claudia using simile “to be as excited as a school girl” upon her entrance to Mrs. Levacks apartment. Clauida’s use of language and response to experiencing doubt, fear and insecurity increases the responder’s identification with the protagonist, creating an impact on the responder through Claudia Valentine’s distinctive voice.
Through elements and characteristics of Harry Lavender’s voice he is portrayed as the powerful crime boss. The power he now prides himself on has increased as he has moved up in the underworld hierarchy which is emphasized by the visual imagery and symbolism of his statements “In the early days I planned and executed…Now I plan and it is someone else’s finger on the trigger.” Lavender exclaims in condescending tones “In their world of Bankcards and Sunday lawn mowing they don’t often meet a man like me” allowing the audience to interpret this man as being arrogant and a narcissi.
The development of Lavenders undercover empire in city of Sydney, has been aided by his ability to “slip through the interstices” and have a “finger in every pie.” His perspective of Sydney in the 1980’s creates visual imagery for the audience, as over time corruption and manipulation has shaped the city it has urbanized from when “Doors in my childhood were left open all night for summer breezes…” Through lavenders distinctive voice a strong contextual atmosphere is developed by a geographical allusion to iconic places “At the south end where the board riders were was Bondi Towers…At the north end was the wide brown sea of sewers” juxtaposing the socioeconomic classes. Lavender’s distinctive voice makes the audience aware of the impacts and advancements in technology, “regrets? I will not live long enough to witness and enjoy the full impacts of the electronic future.”
Similarly “Never Let Me Go” portrays the persona of Kathy’s distinctive voice as an omniscient narrator. The film follows Kathy and Tommy’s growth to adulthood and their intimate relationship. In a pivotal scene their relationship is defined by the elements. Kathy is the most salient figure located in the middle ground of the image; in a contextualized background. Kathy rests a hand on Tommy’s hunched back as he heaves with anger, the gesture symbolizes compassion, and Kathy’s ability to stand up for what’s right, highlighting her caring and inclusive nature. Using a low angle camera shot there is a subversion of the genre. Kathy stands over Tommy. Kathy’s distinct voice is achieved through actions of kindness and selflessness allowing the responder to sympathize with the children.
The novel “Wuthering Heights” contrasts with the previous text as Bronte incorporates a frame narrative positioning the reader closer to the events of the novel. In the Gothic genre the female persona “Miss Catherine” has a strong authorial voice. Catherine’s emphatic tone “my great thought in living is himself… he were annihilated, the Universe would turn into a mighty stranger” is encompassed with hyperbole. Through Catherine’s repetitious outburst of “I’m Heathcliff” the responder is impacted by this relationship as it transcends a dynamic of desire and becomes one of unity. Catherine’s distinctive voice appeals to the pathos and sympathy of the responder creating impact and engaging the audience. Catherine states to Nelly “my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath –I am Heathcliff, he’s always on my mind as my own being “showing how powerful her love is for Heathcliff in realistic tones. Catherine’s spirit haunts wuthering heights muttering the words “let me in, as Catherine held a tenacious grip on the window.” Mr Lockwood is disarmed by the persistent voice of Catherine appearing as a ghost trying to gain reentry into the house.