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If the Puritans have started writing for children during the sixteenth century to teach them scriptures, so that they will be absolved from the sins they are born with, the focus has shifted now to a class and gender consciousness and giving an awareness of the power structures of the society they are to live. “Perhaps more than any other texts, they reflect society as it wishes to be, as it wishes to be seen, and as it unconsciously reveals itself to be” (Hunt 2). According to Perry Nodelman, literature for children is part of a colonization process that adults play on their own offspring in the same way the Western super powers controlled the Orient. “Media and Identity Development.” Handbook of Children and the Media.
The scene opens with an extreme long shot of the grey sky and farm which gives a sense of foreboding.
There is a shot where Albert comes to the field he must plough, which is overgrown and seems to go on forever.
Three film techniques have a major impact on the effectiveness of this scene.
Great composition, skilful camera work and sound effects are used to make this scene interesting and realistic, clearly showing the horrors of war.
A close up shot of Andrew shows him to be shaken and terrified, and a long shot shows him huddling with the other filthy British soldiers in a muddy trench.
It is clear battle is imminent and Andrew does not want to go.
Sound effects include the deafening noise of shelling and the awful screams of men dying all around.
Albert runs on undeterred through the mayhem, then sees David wounded. When Andrew is suddenly ordered to stay in the trench to shoot deserters Albert encourages him by saying “It's good. Nobody's retreating today.” Although facing almost certain death himself, Albert shows great loyalty and compassion by offering comfort to Andrew (although he is actually staying in the trenches where it is safer).
Albert is a stubborn, hardworking character who uses Joey to plough a field full of rocks, even though it is an impossible task for a thoroughbred.
The director uses interesting scene composition and camera shots to show this.