At age 15, you are thrown into a war, fighting for your life and your will to live is slowly diminishing. Are you scared? Probably, but you know that if you show fear, everyone will see you as being weak. This is what the main protagonists of both the play, Shoe Horn Sonata by John Mistro and the movie, Hunger Games directed by Gary Ross endured. Together with photographs, cinematic techniques and symbols, these texts represent the devastation of war, the bonds of friendship forged during a war and their respective will to survive.
Friendship is defined as a relationship between friends. In Shoe Horn Sonata, when Sheila and Bridie first meet, it seems unlikely that they will ever be friends. They are complete polar opposites. Sheila cynical statement ‘People always get on when they’re tossed in together. I’d hardly call that friendship. ’, reinforces that Bridie and Sheila initially formed a friendship out of desperation to survive, not because there was mutual affection for each other. Bitter tone is utilised to convey Shelia’s survival instincts are prioritised over tender friendship.
Additionally the alliteration of tossed in together reflects how people in war have no choice of their companions, that it pushes them together in survival. Similarly in the Hunger Games , the friendships that Katniss makes with both Rue and are forged out of necessity and need rather than sentiment. Rue and Katniss team up as they both have valuable skills assets that the other would like to utilise to their advantage such as when Rue manages to take a weapon unnoticed using the trees. In many ways, an alliance with Rue is an alliance to District 11 which Katniss can use to her benefit.
For example, the shoehorn in Shoe Horn Sonata is first seen when the girls are in the water and Bridie uses it to wake Sheila up and prevent her from drowning. In this scene, it a metaphorical and representative an object of survival and the will to live. As the play goes on, the shoehorn symbolises family for Bridie and sacrifice for Sheila but in the end it unites the girls and demonstrates that not only did they survive the war, they survived the effects of the war as well. Caramel is another symbol of survival.
It was the only luxury the girls had during the camp and ‘it had to last till the end of the war’. The caramel was even important enough that it was written into the girls’ wills. This conveys to the audience that the girls clung to the hope that they would eventually be released from the prison camp. On the other hand, in Hunger Games, the mockingbird pin was not only Katniss’s link to her district, but a symbol of her love for her father as well as her survival. The pin is a representation of a creature with a spirit of her own.
By breaking free of the Capitol’s control this show that the Capitol does not have complete control of the districts. Katniss, like the mockingjay, has escaped from the Capitol’s clutches which is why the pin symbolises her survival and spirit. The photographs shown during interview in Shoe Horn Sonata support the dialogue and give the audience a visual representation of what the girls went through during the camp. In scene 7, you see visuals of what the prisoners looked like during the camp. They are emaciated, haggard and impoverish.
The effects of the imprisonment of the innocent is clearly highlighted during these photographs. The stark black and white photos depicting the harrowing effects of mistreatment of innocents evokes sympathy towards the prisoners from the viewer and loathing for their captors. In contrast, within the Hunger Games, the film is seen as whirs and jolts with sharply edited scenes intercutting from perspective to perspective which represents Katniss’s inner turmoil and her agitation which accompanies those new changes.
Her life is unpredictable and this is shown as the camera shakes around representing the sudden changes in her life and well as extreme long shots used to give the audience a general impression of the places she goes. Little detail can be seen in these scenes which corresponds to the insignificance of these places to Katniss. The audience witnesses the consequences of these changes but to everyone else, they are unable to see this because of the defensive stoic mask she wears.
In conclusion, the protagonists in Shoe Horn Sonata and the Hunger Games have survived horrors unimaginable to us and through distinctively visual techniques such as , photographs, cinematic techniques and symbols, we are able to grasp a small idea of what they have endured on their journey. Therefore, thus despite common circumstances being the catalyst for friendship in times of war, strife and horror they are able to triumph over their circumstances because of the sustenance that this unexpected friendship provides them.