The Rampant Racism In Movie 'Jasper Jones'

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The mid shot of Charlie and his mother shows that Ruth is shouting and extremely angry that Charlie disobeys her order to stay visible in the street, which might put him into a dangerous position due to the missing of Laura Wishart, whereas Charlie seems to feel resentful towards Ruth’s behaviour. This illustrates that, although Ruth truly cares about Charlie’s safety, she has much more power and control over her son’s daily life, expressing in an aggressive dictatorship. In this way, Perkins invites audiences to feel sympathy for Charlie as a result of the ubiquitous limitation in his life, which also reflects the dominant education model in the 1960s Western Australia. The mid shot with low-key lighting describes the used cars market which Ruth is looking at, whereas her facial expression is hard to see.

By covering her face, Perkins insinuates Ruth’s desire to escape the small, rural town and pursue a superficial lifestyle in the city, which is expressed in her later decision to buy herself a car and allow her to run away. This also explains why she is frequently impatient to her husband and Charlie, because despite her effort to make the household appears decent and well-to-do, Wes and Charlie are both willing to continue a simple life with books. The dark environment also implies the dark-side in human-beings, and even parents who children usually respect might make mistakes, such as Ruth’s betrayal to her husband. The long shot of Mrs Findlay and Mrs Lu in the Corrigan town hall highlights the rigid racial discrimination and xenophobic views in society during the 1960s. Since her son is dead in the Vietnam war, Mrs Findlay transfers her plight and suffering to the Mrs Lu and deliberately spills hot tea onto her, who is made a scapegoat for such a consequence and taken for granted that she is responsible due to her identity.

Moreover, among the others present in the hall, including the police sergeant, few of them recognise that this is inappropriate and are willing to stand up for Mrs Lu to punish Mrs Findlay, suggesting by their facial expression. The long shot through a car’s window depicts a scene that Jasper is controlled by the police sergeant and taken into the jail as he is suspected to have a connection with Laura Wishart’s death. By shotting from Charlie’s angle, the authorial intention is expressed through the protagonist which makes it is easier for audiences to accept. On one hand, the police arrest him without clear evidence but instead simply based on his past behaviour and most importantly, his distinctive skin colour. On the other hand, despite that he might be suspicious due to his intimate relationship with Laura Wishart, it is inappropriate for adult police to arrest a teenager in such an offensive way, and according to Jasper in the later of the film, they even apply violent behaviours on him, such as kicking and slapping. In this way, Perkins again underscores the rampant racism in Corrigan, and incline audiences to feel sympathy towards Jasper and the obstacles in his quest to justice.

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