Monday, 12 January 2015

Escapism from Reality

People come across challenges on a daily basis, due to the decisions one makes, or the effect of decisions made by others. In order for people to cope with these challenges, different tools have been created or used in order for one to escape reality. The tools that I will be discussing today are: the invention of the CBC radio, Jake Sully's avatar linking process from the movie Avatar, and alcohol.

CBC Radio:

A family gathered around a radio. Boston Live Theater Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

The first example of a distraction tool is invention of the CBC radio in Canada, during the 1930’s, or in other words the great depression. The great depression began shortly after the “roaring 20’s”, in 1929, during the crash of the Wall street market, leaving many Canadians unemployed and miserable. There was a need for occupying citizens time, thus the birth of the CBC radio occurred, serving a purpose of distraction and hope during a time of desperation. The image of a family gathered around a radio displays this message, as the composition of the way each family member is sitting closely together, both father and mother holding young children close, on their laps. This shows how listening to the radio is sacred family time, as the radio is a force that brings the family together. The family is also huddled around to what seems to be the corner of the room, staring at the radio, eagerly awaiting to hear of a saving grace to end another grueling day. 
Another detail that sticks out is the man who appears to be the father, holding his two sons. The father is covered in dirt on his hands and face, as he may have just come home from work, to come and spend this sacred family time together, sitting around the radio. Because along with the depression came job loss, the father looks as if he is working hard at keeping his job in a coal mine, so that he would be able to somewhat support his family. The radio serves a purpose of helping the man become distracted from the difficult work lifestyle he faces everyday. Through the seating composition of the family, and the hard working father, this demonstrates how he uses the radio as a tool to escape the challenging realities of the depression.


“Hell’s Gate.” Avatar Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. <’s_Gate>.

Secondly, the character Jake Sully from the movie Avatar, demonstrates how he feels the need to live outside a body of his own. As he is in a wheelchair, he is paralyzed from the hip below, due to being hit by a grenade on his mission while serving as a marine. In the first image, Jake is surrounded by other members in the army, heavy machinery, vehicles etc… By him being restricted to a wheelchair, he cannot do much compared to his other team members. In this scene, Jake is looking around through all the busyness, to search for something he could help with or be a part of.

“Best moments of 2009.” mtv. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. <>.

After Jake's identical twin brother (Tom) dies, he finds a purpose in his new work as two RDA (Resource Development Administration) agents ask him to work on an expensive project his brother was working on before he died. Since they had the same DNA, Jake accepted this fate, as he was required to take control of a new, fully functional, avatar in another world. In the second picture, Jake has woken up from from the linking process to his avatar, his face shocked and amazed at the sight of working, healthy legs and feet. This is shown through the overall expression of his face, as his mouth hangs open, eyes fixated on his new feet, and how he spreads his legs far apart. When the linking process is done and Jake returns to his human body, he craves for more time with working legs and feet, so he, makes multiple trips hooking up to his avatar, until he makes the decision one day to stay as an avatar for the rest of his life. Through this process of Jake hooking up to his avatar, it shows how he uses the avatar to escape the challenging life of a handicapped person, knowing that he will never return as a fully functioning human again.


“Haymitch Abernathy.” The Hunger Games Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. <>.

Lastly, the character Haymitch Abernathy demonstrates how alcohol is another escapism tool, as his character is identified by his severe drinking problem. Haymitch was crowned victor of the 50th Hunger Games, and is now Katniss and Peeta’s mentor, two individuals chosen to fight in the Games. As Haymitch, Katniss, and Peeta leave their home (in District 12) by train, for training in the Capitol city of Panem,  Haymitch is found drinking several times throughout the day. This scene is during the train ride where he is describing the Games to Katniss and Peeta. Haymitch has a blank, expressionless face when looking at his drink, holding his glass up in the air, showing an implicit message of the alcoholic drink having a greater, controlling power over him. He is surrendering to the alcohol, as it became a coping mechanism for him over the years. Since facing the deathtrap arena at the Games, he now lives with the traumatic nightmares and thoughts of killing others, and watching others brutally attacked and killed, in order for him to spare his own life. As he is provoking this patch in his mind that he does not want to enter, he stares at his glass and awaits for the moment when he can drown his sorrows again. You might all be asking, why is he still so upset after he won the Games?  Well, as the winner of the Hunger Games, you DO become untouchable. It is like winning the lottery, as you're  given a new house in the higher end of town, an endless food supply, money etc… Yet despite this new luxurious lifestyle, the trauma it not far trailing behind, as Haymitch tells Katniss before she faces her own battles in the arena: “ you never really win”, as life after the games only puts you in misery, as you're constantly haunted for the rest of your life. Thus, alcohol helps mute the pain and trauma Haymitch has been dealing with over the years,  a tool of escaping the reality he wished he never lived, just like the working father in the first image. Haymitch relies on the tool of drinking because he knows he will never be the same, also like Jake Sully from the previous image.

In conclusion, challenges approach people everyday, whether 80 years ago, or today. The way that people cope with these challenges vary to how different ones circumstance is, and to what tools they are available to them. Escaping from reality can be either good or bad, depending on whether or not the tool you use is for a “quick fix” like Haymitch’s alcoholism, or a tool that will help benefit a person for a lifetime, like the Jake Sully’s new body, or family bonding moments of the working father’s family.


  1. Naomi, you argument about the radio was excellent, as you closely examined two textual elements in connection to your thesis. I wish you had spent more time on your second image, as it wasn't as developed.

  2. I completely agree, its okay to try and escape from reality sometimes as long as you do it healthily. By drinking his worries away Haymitch is causing a lot of damage to himself, and could potentially be make his problems worse. Imagine having to deal with what he saw in the arena AND liver failure.