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6Individual versus the society


ndividual versus the societyTitle: Images of Conflict  Task: You have been invited to speak to senior students at a visual literacy conference. The title of the conference is "Images of conflict". The conference organizer has asked you to provide a critical evaluation ofI

The photograph was taken in the year 1989. The man standing in front of the Chinese Type 59 tanks. This was the period after the military brutally eradicated the people who were protesting around the Beijing’s Tianannmen Square on the 4th day of July 1989. The man was not run over but gained a lot of popularity in China for his courageous action. He is commonly referred to as Wang Weilin, in Chinese.

This event took place in the Tiananmen in the Avenue of Chang’wan. The man is said to have run in the middle of the avenue even when he saw that the tanks were approaching. This has been regarded as a courageous act. The man had in each of his hands bags that are used for shopping. He ran to the moddle of the avenue while making some gesture at the tankers and in response the man in the tanker in the front attempted to drive around the man of which the man intelligently defied by stepping on the path of the lead tank in a manner showing no act of violence. After unsuccessful attempts, the man and the lead tanker stopped making the other tankers to stop and there was silence for a short period of time.

The picture has a socio-cultural context where the person where standing in front o the tankers show that the man lives in a daring society where people have the courage to face daring and scary situations. In the picture, it is clear that the people in this region do not fear weapons, even of his great magnitude. This serves to show us that the people in this region are used to seeing weapons and have been interacting with them for a long time it is also clear that the people have knowledge of how to operate these weapons (Watts, Duncan, & Cockcroft, 2009).

The picture can be said to be polysemic, as in, has different meanings. One of the meanings of the photograph is that it shows that war is real and is the intent of many people and nations. This can be seen to be evident due to the fact that the weapons that are shown are meant to be used to kill. They are shown to be assembled and probably being inspected before they are taken out to the field to be used to kill. This is evident and the man that is shown in the picture can be said to be inspecting the weapons before they are taken to war.

Another meaning that can be seen in the picture is that the weapons have been seized and are kept in the area which is obviously peaceful. This could mean that the concerned authority has taken the initiative to seize the weapons (Watts, Duncan, & Cockcroft, 2009).

The picture represents two groups: the society and the government. The actions that the man is portraying can be said to be showing the dissatisfaction that the people have in the government. The man was trying to stop the tankers from going to the task that it was meant to. This is just a tip of the iceberg of the dissatisfaction that the people have in the government and the perpetrators of war.

The society is seen to be advocating for ways in which man can live peacefully with others. From time immemorial, the society has taught values meant to promote mutual understanding and cordial relationships. The society, for example, has taught about living in peace with one another. Man has, over time, developed tools which are as sophisticated with the intent of going to war. Instead of looking for ways to foster pace, they have been seen to look for ways of destroying one another. The worst is that this has become a platform of competition! Countries like the United States and Iran are in constant competition on who should have the sophisticated weapons they have. The picture that is shown above depicts war that has rampaged the world of late. In this picture, man is shown to be a destructive being. They have such sophisticated weapons to destroy buildings and people (Watts, Duncan, & Cockcroft, 2009). What I find interesting in the picture is one man standing in front of the weapons. This shows that it is man which has been the chief architect of the weapon. One thing is clear here, that the intentions of man to destroy the society are real. Also worth noting is that the society has taught that man should not kill their fellow men. The values that are found in the society have been meant to have people live together. The weapons are seen to promote the contrary. It is seen that it is advocating war with the society.

The society has also been known to encourage people to always think good others. From the picture, the main intention of man is to wreck havoc to mankind. These are dangerous weapons that are created to kill and maim. These are not the good intentions that the society is looking and promoting. They are seen to go against these norms. The first step in this is to think that there is need to have weapons to protect themselves and their wealth. This first step is a norm that is against the society; it teaches has to have good thoughts and intentions that are meant to nourish and not to destroy others.

Another issue is that the picture is so clear in the fact that man is the one creating these weapons that are meant to destroy others. In the long run, it is the creator who will be affected. This is evident in the fact that the man standing in front of the weapons symbolizes this fact that he will be killed or affected by the same weapons. This is the prize that one pays when they neglect what the society teaches. Everything in this world has a prize. There is nothing that will not be paid. Bad things will be paid with bad things while good will get paid with the good; evil for evil and good for good.

The picture has used the weapon to denote war. The viewers make use of the street lights to show that the environment is for the rich. The tarmac also serves to how this.


Watts, J., Duncan, N., & Cockcroft, K. (2009). Developmental psychology. New Delhi: Juta Company Ltd.