The texts that we, the reader, tend to relate to most are the texts that reflect our values or include certain social issues of the present. Texts such as these are therefore quite commonly found beside the beds, on the coffee tables and in the bookcases of many Australians. These texts, in a way act as a barometer for values, and shifts in values in our society. This can be seen in many instances.
For example, take the feature film The Castle . The typical Australian family, the Kerrigans, represented in this film was not chosen by accident. No, no they were chosen because the writers of this film knew that everyday Australians could relate to the Kerrigans and in some ways see themselves in this simple family. The film endorses many Australian values and attitudes, to which the everyday Australian can not only relate to but also understand aswell. The text acts as a medium for the viewer to realise his/her own values and helps the viewer to recognise the social values that surround him/her.
However, texts do not merely inform the reader of values present in the society. They can also reflect the current shift in values and attitudes away from the dominant ideologies. This can be seen heavily in the novel Cloudstreet by Tim Winton. In this text many characters are seen to have somewhat different roles in the family that one would expect. Lester Lamb is an excellent example of this. The traditional role of the man in the house is to go out and work hard for his money and come home to a wife who would support him and look after the house and the kids.
However, Lester is portrayed as a sensitive man who cooks and cleans regularly aswell as helps with many of the household chores. He also seems to have no quarrel with his wife having most of the control over the household or him having to pull his own weight. This is of course a step away from the traditional ideology of what a man should act like.
This clever characterisation represents the shift away from the traditional gender roles that have for so long been enforced in our society. Which leaves the reader thinking, once again, about their own values and the now shifting values of the society.
This point can be further seen in the short story Neighbours , which is also written by Tim Winton. This story details a young Australian couple moving in to a predominately ethnic community. At first the relationships between the families are quite hostile and disturbed. This represents the traditional ideology that different cultures and races just don t get along and should be kept apart.
However as the story progresses the families are seen to break the barriers of traditional society and become good friends. This now represents the shifting nature of today s society, away from the traditional ideologies, to a more accepting and multicultural community.
So as you can see from the above examples, texts can act as a medium to represent not only the values in society but also that they are shifting away from the traditional ideologies. This appeals to readers/viewers as they can therefore relate to and understand the text in a more beneficial way.