The idea of facades across a range of texts Essay

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The poem ‘The Ballad of Calvary Street’ by James Baxter, the film ‘American Beauty’ (directed by Sam Mendes and released in 1999), and the play ‘An Inspector Calls’ written by J.B. Priestley and performed at Circa Theatre in 2005, are all texts that share a similar theme. Although these three texts are different in terms of authorship and the medium through which the significant messages are communicated, what the texts do have in common is that they all convey ideas about how facades and superficial images of family life only lead to soullessness and domestic disorder. The unique approach that each text takes to this issue heightens the impact of the texts in every case, and allows the discussion of facades to become more pertinent in a …show more content…
For instance, once the children of the “two old souls” visit to “pay their dues” (a phrase that indicates that it is an action carried out only to maintain this façade), the group looks through “family files”. The “files” refers to photographic albums, but the alliterative phrase used by Baxter hints more that the process is a mechanical, business-like procedure. Such a description highlights the soullessness of family life, partially caused by attempts to maintain a façade of happiness. Furthermore, Baxter accentuates the reluctance with which the members of the family go about their daily duties by stating that the old husband walks out to the garden in “boots of lead”. This reinforces the fact that attempts to ensure that the family may appear to be happy only lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction.

The manner in which Baxter infuses religious imagery to emphasise unhappiness reflects Baxter’s own struggle with religion and domestic life, and thus the poem, ‘The Ballad of Calvary Street’, gains more power. The film ‘American Beauty’ (1999), directed by Sam Mendes, views the issue of family life and superficiality through a quite different lens – and this slightly different perspective, as well as the powerful way in which the film uses cinematic conventions to convey its themes, also makes ‘American Beauty’ an intriguing text to analyse in the context of this issue.

‘American Beauty’ examines the life of
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