In the novel Unplugging Philco by Jim Knifel, the main character, Philco is going through a hard time being under surveillance of Whit Chambers, his neighbor. The setting of the story is a period when the citizens of the country are under the harassment of the state in the name of curbing the Horribleness of the bombing that was somehow associated to Australia. In the name of Horribleness, people are required to cooperate with the state in reporting those that seem uncooperative or suspicious in any way. Philco is not the only one in the trouble of being under watch. Many others are going through the same plight. As a result of the harassments, they come up with a revolutionary movement known as the Unpluggers with an objective of building a peaceful and just society. It is, therefore, an underground organization that counteracts the orders of the state. A similar moment is described in the film Punishment Park by Peter Watkins. It should be noted that both the book and the movie depict anguish of the main characters and the revolutionary movements therein. Knifel brings out the tone of desolation from Philco and other Unpluggers members. A similar situation is evident in Punishment Park where the revolutionary movement members are so desperate of a change that they cannot speak their minds when questioned. This paper will evaluate the desperation of Philco, and the the Unpluggers, as well as other citizens of the country, in relation to the desperation of the characters in Punishment Park.
Knifel, in his book, brings out the feeling of the citizens who are subjected to cruelty in the name of security. He achieves this by demonstrating the the injustice seen by his characters. In the same way, Watkins makes viewers share the grief of the movement members. In the book, Knifel makes the audience feel irritated by Philco’s activities that are annoying not only to Philco but also to the reader. Therefore, the readers embrace Philco’s feelings throughout the book, wanting to know what will happen and what course of action he will take.
The writer begins the novel using humor to connect with the audience and get their full attention. He also applies it throughout the text to keep in touch with the reader. Even if the audience empathizes Philco in his pain, the writing is presented in a humorous tone making them willing to read more. Watkins, on the other hand, uses sympathy to keep in touch with the viewers. In the film, the director creates scenes where the tone of the narrator keeps the audience glued to the film. Through the pain felt in the narrator’s voice, or in the scene where the journalist cries, the viewers feel the desperation of the characters who seek a solution to their plight.
In the Punishment Park, Watkins shows the climax of the desperation of the revolutionists through Robbins’ inability to speak out when under interrogation. He says things that do not convey anything concerning the ideologies of the movement. He does not ask for a change when a chance to speak with the authorities comes. Instead, he shows despair but, at the same time, courage. Courage is demonstrated by the fact that even though he has come to his breaking point, he still does not surrender. Knifel uses a similar tactic expressing the injustice in the novel that leads to the actions of the Unpluggers. When Philco gets to the end of perseverance, he decides to act and unplug whatever Whit had plugged. This is a demonstration of courage amidst the desperation. Philco wants to stop the surveillance, and instead of running away from the person after him, he decides to confront him.
In the course of confronting their challenges, both the revolutionists in Punishment Park and the Unpluggers in Unplugging Philco become enemies of the state. The two movements are fighting for the justice of the common man who is suffering as a result of the injustices in place. In Unplugging Philco, the state is scapegoating all evils on Horribleness, which makes it difficult for the citizens to live in such environment. The slackness of the state calls for action that is met with a harsh response because people are required to report those that are radicalizing the rest. Similarly, in the Punishment Park, the radical revolutionists are reported and are subjected to judgment. Both Watkins and Knifel expose the real cause of the radical response in an attempt to take the audience into the unfolding of events. In the movie, Watkins uses the changing voice of the journalist to show the extent to which the injustice witnessed affects people. In the same way, to emphasize the need for unplugging in the Unplugging Philco, Knifel brings to the attention of the reader the determination the characters have.
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The author demonstrates how the states use lame excuses not to help their citizens and abuse them. In the movie, the state exposes prisoners to conditions that are unbearable. In an attempt to escape, people are forced to cross the desert with the police following them. What makes the story even more heartbreaking is that the fugitives have no chances to escape as the police waits for them on the other side. The state promises them freedom, but, in reality, the plan is to torture them.
Similarly, in the Unplugging Philco the state knows and controls everything. However, the blame is put on terror called Horribleness. The tension results in the revolutionary movement where its members fight for freedom. However, the representatives of the group are only looking for peace. Wally escapes to find refuge in the underground movement, when he realizes that Whit Chambers’ eyes are on him. For this reason, Wally has no place to stay. He runs to the revolutionary group planning an attack.
In conclusion, both the film and the book have a lot in common in the way they convey their ideas to the audience. They both use emphasis on some scenarios and situations to make the audience acquit the message of the authors. In addition, the pain of the characters invokes the sympathy of the audience leading to a simple understanding of people’s feelings.
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