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The Idea of People’s Identity and Its Importance in Bend it Like Beckham

Identity is the way one defines itself. One’s identity is one’s individuality. But the aspects that shape one’s identity are nature and nurture. A person isn’t ultimately shaped by just the environment that surrounds it but also the environment that has been passed on to it. This idea is highlighted throughout Garinder Chadha’s comedy film ‘Bend it like Beckham’ and is also being exhibited within James Moloney’s young-adult fiction ‘A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove’. These media texts explore the lives of two young individuals whom have been criticized throughout their existence due to their originality, leading them to be insecure and secretive about themselves. Although, the time spent with people of the society they succeed in revealing and discovering their true selves. Through the use of techniques both Chadha and Moloney show how someone’s identity can be built through the culture that has been passed down and the impact that the decisions of family can have on a person. It also replicates the impact of a scar on a person. Environment is the main factor of how a being is shaped, including both the surroundings and the DNA that has been passed on.

Family, being present or absent, the decisions made in the life of a child, can shape their identity by pressuring them to fit into particular roles. Through the use of dialogue Chadha represents Jess (Jesminder) and her family with her mother objectively stating “What family will want a daughter who can run around kicking football all day but can’t make round chapattis?” Jess experiences a cultural conflict as her parents do not approve of her playing soccer an activity not considered to be culturally appropriate. Throughout the dialogue, the camera effectively switches between Jess and her parents with the use of a close-up shot, emphasizing on the emotions portrayed on their faces. Jess being depicted with a distressed face contrasting with the superiority and determination represented on her parents’ faces. The audience witnesses the family straining Jess into fulfilling the role that her parents have established for her, of a traditional Indian rather than following her passion. While Chadha uses the idea of Jess’s parents being present yet overprotective, Moloney uses the element of Kelly being absent. Moloney displays this through symbolism with a few words, ‘Who’s going to love you if your own mother doesn’t.(pg.112)’ Was exactly what his Aunt Beryl had stated to Carl due to his mother taking short escapades, leaving him to fend for himself and feeling insecure. This technique gives a sense of how isolated and deprived of a family and love Carl is, since his own blood had mentioned such sickening words. Therefore through the use of these techniques Chadha and Moloney highlights the influence a family can have in a child’s identity.

Everyone belongs to a particular culture inherited through their parents. Culture is where one owns their beliefs, art, customs, traditions and education. Culture shapes one’s view of the world and their identity. Chadha provides an insight on how the pressure to adhere to the norms of a culture can restrict a person from freely expressing their identity. Through the use of long shot it shows Jess kicking the soccer ball through the kurtas and saris hanging on the washing line. The way that the traditional clothing have been placed, portray that Jess’s culture is an obstacle that she may not be able to overcome to reach her goals and her dreams. Chadha also used the high angle shot where the girls from the soccer team are trying to help Jess into wearing the sari, traditional Indian clothing. This shot enables the audience to view the state of confusion displayed by the other girls while Jess takes lead and shows the girls how it’s done. Illustrating how differently Jess has been raised up to be from the Westerns. Furthermore, dialogue has also been used by Chadha were Joe the coach of the soccer team states “I’ve never seen an Indian girl into football.” This outlines the fact that it’s really rare for a female in the Indian culture to be doing such activities that are out of their ‘norms’. It is highlighted through the use of these techniques by Chadha that culture is one of the main factors of building ones identity.

Things that people have been through either their fault or not, leave scars. When those scars heal, another impact on that person is made. These scars are what form the basis of an individual’s identity. Moloney depicts this through dialogue and mood, ‘“Is this…a joke? You bring a Matt onto my barge, let him come here asking me for a job!” He was shouting…, indignation building in his face. “Get off my barge,” [Skip] yelled at the boy. (pg.80)’ This indicates that the scar that Dessie Matt once left on Skip, even if it had been 10 years ago. Skip has a strong basis of hatred towards the Matts to the extent that he is taking his anger out on his son’s murderer’s grandson, building tension and evoking sympathetic emotions in the reader. Though later on when Skips scar starts healing, Joy gives Carl a hope that skip may have forgiven him by stating a metaphor ‘ “We need you. The barge has stopped losing money…and it’s all because of you…” warmth spreading through Carl’s limbs, so recently made of stone. (P.141)’ Moloney compared Carl’s limbs to stone and his heart began to live again when he had been given a compliment from Joy which influences the reader’s view and enhances imagery. ‘Carl Matt opened up too, letting go and feeling freedom flood into him. (pg.192)’ Moloney uses hyperbole to convey the strength of Carl’s feelings and to show the overwhelming sensation of how he felt. The way one heals form its scars also has a major role in shaping one’s identity.

In a nutshell, one’s identity is a product of both the environment they grow up in and their DNA. One need’s to have the norms of their culture restricting them, their family forcing their decisions on them and the faults that are in one’s life. To be able to build themselves into whom they are now and who they will become in the future.

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