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Empire of the Sun - How traumatized people handle changes?

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Empire of the Sun (Film adapted from Ballard) How traumatized people handle changes? Changes can be found throughout 'Empire of the Sun'. The focus, war can be regarded as the most significant change, which has traumatized many characters. War is a circumstance that twists people's lives, plunging them from stability to instability. When war ends, changes take place again as people are removed from instability to stability. War is evil as it deviates people's attitude in dealing with changes, which contrasts to what they normally would do. In the following, I will examine how Jim, Basie, Mrs. Victor and Dr. Rawlins face the war. From them, we can see a range of different ways people handle changes. As Jim is the dominant character, through him, we can have an insight into how war has created a drastic change to him and turned his world into a topsy-turvy. ...read more.


In these places, Jim shows great resourcefulness, courage and determination to survive. Under Basie's tutelage, he threw off feelings of guilt and learned to be a survivor. For instance, Jim understood knew that daily rations were not enough to keep people alive. Therefore, he stole a mess-tin from a dead man in order to get more food. Jim also knew clearly that following Basie would ensure himself a safe survival. When Basie abandoned him for the Lunghua Camp, Jim found that it would be useless to nag Basie. To handle this potential change, he quickly persuaded the driver that he knew the way to Soochow with the evidence that his parents were country club members. In the Lunghua Camp, audience is given an impression that Jim is positively dealing with war changes as he was full of energy. ...read more.


Jim tried to make himself settled in the camp by relating to the Japanese planes. He even invested his hopes in a young Japanese Kamikaze pilot, in that they would one day fly away together, leaving the camp. We can see that Jim displaced his wish to leave war when he showed sympathy for the pilot who could not fly to the sky. This imaginary twin he had invented is evident towards the end of the film when Jim tried to 'bring' the dead Japanese pilot back to life, as there was a sudden emergence of the face of the young Jim. When war finally ends and Jim could return to stability, he seemed to be confused and did not know how to react. His concern was no longer of leaving war, but his attention was directed to food. Trauma can be defined as an emotional wound or shock that creates substantial, lasting damage to the psychological development of a person, often leading to neurosis. In the following, ...read more.

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