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Jodie Foster defends Kristen Stewart in open letter
by: Staff Writers

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/movies/jodie-foster-defends-kristen-stewart-in-open-letter/story-e6frf9h6-1226451521174

 

 Actress Kristen Stewart accepted the Best Movie award from Jodie Foster onstage during the 2012 MTV Movie Awards. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

 Jodie Foster wants everyone to cut Kristen Stewart some slack!

She may be a beautiful young actress with the world at her feet and she may have bought the world's media down on her by cheating on her loving boyfriend ... it's not her fault!

In an impassioned essay for The Daily Beast website the Oscar winning actress defended young stars in general and Stewart specifically.

Here's an excerpt:

"We’ve all seen the headlines at the check-out counter. “Kristen Stewart Caught.” We’ve all thumbed the glossy pages here and there. “Kris and Rob a couple?” We all catch the snaps. “I like that dress. I hate the hair. Cute couple. Bad shoes.” There’s no guilt in acknowledging the human interest in public linens. It’s as old as the hills. Lift up beautiful young people like gods and then pull them down to earth to gaze at their seams. See, they’re just like us. But we seldom consider the childhoods we unknowingly destroy in the process."

"I have been an actress since I was 3 years old, 46 years to date. I have no memories of a childhood outside the public eye. I am told people look to me as a success story ... If I were a young actor or actress starting my career today in the new era of social media and its sanctioned hunting season, would I survive? Would I drown myself in drugs, sex, and parties? Would I be lost?"

"I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety."

Perhaps that is what Foster is trying to do for Kristen by offering these final words of advice.

"My mother had a saying that she doled out after every small injustice, every heartbreak, every moment of abject suffering. 'This too shall pass.' God, I hated that phrase. It always seemed so banal and out of touch, like she was telling me my pain was irrelevant. Now it just seems quaint, but oddly true ... Eventually this all passes. The public horrors of today eventually blow away. And, yes, you are changed by the awful wake of reckoning they leave behind. You trust less. You calculate your steps. You survive. Hopefully in the process you don't lose your ability to throw your arms in the air again and spin in wild abandon. That is the ultimate F.U. and — finally — the most beautiful survival tool of all. Don't let them take that away from you."

What do you think of Jodie's essay? Is she right, are we too harsh on young stars?

ACTIVITIES

The questions below are based around core Australian Curriculum syllabus content and apply broadly to both English ATAR and English General. The set of questions is an example of the ways in which a wide range of texts can be approached.

Comprehension

This article from the Herald Sun is an excerpt from a longer open letter by Jodie Foster published in The Daily Beast. (Please note, some language in the Daily Beast open letter may offend.)

  1. Briefly dot point the main ideas the Herald Sun staff writers are encouraging readers to consider. In other words, what is their purpose? (You need to distinguish between what the staff writers are saying and what Foster is saying.)

  2. What angle or perspective is the article in the Herald Sun encouraging the reader to take?

  3. Briefly dot point the main ideas in Jodie Foster's excerpt. Broadly speaking, what is her purpose in this extract?

  4. Skim the Daily Beast article. (Note the difference between skimming and scanning here (link to be inserted) and here (link to be inserted) if you don't already know what these reading techniques are.) Do you think the intended audiences are the same? Provide some evidence to support your view.

  5. Even though you have only skimmed for main ideas, quickly go over the article once more and dot point what you see as the main ideas in Foster's letter.

Critical literacy

  1. What is an open letter and why do you think Foster sent this to a newspaper?

  2. How could knowing some things about the context* of an author influence how we interpret or make meaning from what they write? (* Knowing something about them as a person, about their background and their circumstances.)

  3. Does Foster's first person point of view narration have any influence on you the reader. Briefly explain with some examples.

  4. How can a sense of voice (as though someone is talking to you the reader) be persuasive?

  5. What reasons could there be for a first person narrative not being persuasive or convincing?

Text structures and language features (These are many and varied and include punctuation, grammar, word choice, sentence structure, paragraph composition and structure as well as introductions, conclusions and organisation of the overall content and structure of a text.)

  1. Foster's Daily Beast article has been referred to both as an open letter and an essay. Without quibling over what genre it conforms to, let's examine some text structures and language features:

  • many polysyllabic words - find ten;

  • wide range of different punctuation used- find five examples;

  • many abstract terms (ideas, feelings, things that cannot be touched or seen etc) - find five;

  • use of colloquial language - find four examples;

  • use of concrete description, describing sights, sounds, using imagery - find three;

  • use of quotes and direct speech - find three;

  • use of short punchy sentences for impact - find three;

  • use of repetition of words or sentence structures - find three examples of each;

  • use of rhetorical questions - find three;

  • paragraphs that contain one main idea each - there are eight para's, find main idea for four of them;

  • a sense of building - (a beginning and an ending) - explain.

2. Select any three or four of the above dot points and explain how these text structures and language features help shape the reader's response to Foster's ideas.

Generic Conventions; persuasive techniques

  1. Many conventions and techniques are contained in the above. One very persuasive technique is Foster's use of the first person point of view- talking as it were, directly to the reader. Find three of the most convincing or persuasive examples where the author's voice works to shape the reader's response and make them feel some of the things that she is speaking about.

  2. Conventions of a feature article - see here if unclear on these. In what ways is the Herald Sun article typical of a feature article? List the points with supporting evidence for each.


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