A RESEARCH PROPOSAL : The Analysis of Mark Watney’s Survival Strategies in The Martian Film (2015)

A. Title of the Research: The Analysis of Mark Watney’s Survival Strategies in The Martian Film (2015)

B. Field of Research : Literature

C. Background of Research

Everyone has a goal to achieve in his life. Survive is the ultimate value in strategy, considering that everyone’s primary goal is to survive. Survival is the struggle to survive. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, survival is the state of continuing to live or exist, often despite difficulty or danger (2014: 605). Survival is the earliest act that every living being has to survive from various threats.

People will unknowingly raise their limits when conditions are forced to survive. Therefore, strategies needed by a person to be able to survive in running his life. Henry Mintzberg states strategy is a pattern in a stream of decisions (2007: 3). Strategy is the way of doing something to reach the goal. Life is not easy so that people should have strategy to survive.

Wild nature is not a familiar world to most people. Only those who have a mental of steel, often adventure into the wild, and want to learn from nature that can conquer it. However, no one can guess when bad things can happen. Though we are not adventurers in the wild, we can be in conditions that force us to be in the wild such as forests, mountains, on isolated islands and even on other planets like Mars. Therefore, we must survive while waiting for the help. The survival strategy is interesting to examine as an understanding of how someone manages and utilizes the assets of the resources and capital owned through the particular activity chosen.

The researcher is interested in conducting study entitled the Analysis of Mark Watney’s survival strategies in The Martian film. This film tells the story of the main character named Mark Watney was accidentally left in a mission in Mars. The nature on Mars is not a realm that supports humans to live. Carbon Dioxide dominates its atmospheric conditions. The incident makes him to survive alone with existing facilities in a condition.

The researcher chooses the film as a study material since it contains elements of survival strategies from the main character. It can be seen from Mark Watney’s survival strategies as the main character in The Martian film that gets influence from his environment. The food and oxygen supply at Ares III camp headquarters is just enough to live for 31 days. Mark racked his brain and used all his knowledge to find a way to survive. Mark has two important tasks to survive. First, he must find a way to produce clean water, as well as farming on the land of Mars is very barren. The second, he has to outsmart everything that is left of the storm and use it to signal to his friends at NASA that he is alive. Although at least, Mark has to wait 4 years until his friends can pick him up. This film is exciting and inspiring the researcher to analyze the survival strategies.

D. Identification of the Problem

Based on the explanation above, there are some problems relate to survival strategies. Some of the problems are as follows:

  1. What is the characterization of Mark Watney in The Martian film?
  2. What is the conflicts faced by Mark Watney in The Martian film?
  3. What is the problem faced by Mark Watney in The Martian film?
  4. What is the motivation of Mark Watney in The Martian film?
  5. How is Mark Watney’s survival strategies described in The Martian film?

E. Limitation of the Problem

Based on the identification of the problems, the researcher limits the
discussion only on the main character, Mark Watney. In this study, the researcher just focuses on the use of survival strategies as reflected in The Martian film. This study aims to analyze survival strategies for the viewers and the learners so they can understand the survival strategies made by the main character in The Martian film.

F. Formulation of the Problem

Based on the background and limitation of problem, the question of
problem formulations are stated as follows:

  1. What is the character and characterization of Mark Watney in The Martian film?
  2. How is Mark Watney’s survival strategies described in The Martian film?

G. Objectives of the Research

In line with the formulation of the problem, the objectives of the study are stated below.

  1. To know the character and characterization of Mark Watney as the main character in The Martian film.
  2. To describe the survival strategies of Mark Watney in The Martian film.

H. Significances of Research

The researcher hopes that the findings of this study will give benefits and contribution to the following:

  • The English Language Education Study Students

This study gives a contribution to the effort of understanding the influence of the main character to the whole story and to improve their knowledge of English literature especially about survival strategies.

  • The English Language Teachers

The researcher hopes that this study can be used as a reference in developing learning material and evaluation especially about survival strategies.

  • The Other Researchers

The researcher hopes that this study can be used as a reference for other researchers for further studies related to the survival strategies in literary works.

I. Theoretical Review

1. Survival

According to American Heritage dictionary (1972: 264), survival means to remain alive or in existence. It may also mean that someone has to go on after having a tragic experience. Survival is the state of continuing to live or exist, often in spate of difficulty or danger (Hornby, 1993: 1204). Everyone must always try to keep survive. In this case, a man does any ways to keep survive. Longman in Dictionary of contemporary English (2003) states that there are two definition of survival:

  1. The state of continuing to live or exist.
  2. Something that has continued to exist from a much earlier period, especially when similar thing has disappeared.

From the definition above, it can be said that people try to survive because they want to exist or continuing their life. Sometime someone feels depressed and finds it difficult to manage their life because they have a serious problem. Their struggle to get through this is called struggle to survive. There are many factors that make people try to survive. They can be difficult or dangerous situation, illness, stress and sadness. People usually try to survive by strengthening their mentality, getting support from their friends or family, praying to God, etc.

2. Strategy

Strategy is a term that comes from the Greek strategia, meaning generalship. Murray and Grimskey (1994: 1) define strategy as a process, a constant adaptation to ever-changing conditions and circumstances where opportunity, uncertainty, and ambiguity predominate. In the opinion of Lord (2003, 193) strategy is a synonym for art of war or art of war. Similar to B.H. Liddell Hart who defines the strategy, the art of distributing and applying military means to fulfill the ends of policy. Meanwhile, Henry Mintzberg (1994, 23-27) in his book entitled The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, argues that strategy emerges over time as intentions collide with and accommodate a changing reality. He also points out that people use strategy in several different ways, the most common being these four:

  1. Strategy is a plan, a “how,” a means of getting from here to there.
  2. Strategy is a pattern in actions over time; for example, a company that regularly markets very expensive products is using a high end strategy.
  3. Strategy is position; that is, it reflects decisions to offer particular products or services in particular markets.
  4. Strategy is perspective, that is, vision and direction.

From the definition above, it can be said that strategies are the right way and plan to achieve the goal. In this case, Mark Watney uses his strategies to survive in Mars.

3. Character and Characterization

Character is the most important elements in the literary work. According to Kennedy (2007: 74) say, “a character is a presumably an imagined person who inhabits a story”. It refers to the representation of an individual with a large imaginary situation. Bennet & Royle (2004: 73) state that characters are the life of literature; they are objects of our curiosity, affection and dislike, admiration and consideration.

Murphy (1972: 161-173) in Understanding Unseen, stated that there are some ways in which an author attempts to make his character understandable and come alive for his reader, as follow:

  1. Personal description. The author can describe a person’s appearance and clothes (Murphy, 1972: 161).
  2. Characters as seen by another. Instead of describing a character directly the author can describe him through the eyes and opinions of another. The reader gets, as it were, a reflected image (Murphy, 1972: 162).
  3. Speech. The author can give the readers insight into the character of one of the persons in the book through what the person says. Whenever a person speaks, whenever he is in conversation with another, whenever he puts forward an opinion, he is giving us some clue to his character (Murphy, 1972: 164).
  4. Past life. By letting the reader learn something about a person’s past life the author can give the readers a clue to events that have helped to shape a person’s character. This can be done by direct comment by the author, though the person’s thoughts, through his conversation or through the medium of another person. (Murphy, 1972: 166).
  5. Conversation of others. The author can also give the readers clues to a person’s character through the conversations of other people and the things they say about him. People do talk about other people and the things they say often give as a clue to the character of the person spoken about (Murphy, 1972: 167).
  6. Reactions. The authors can also give us a clue to person’s character by letting the readers know how that person reacts to various situations and events (Murphy, 1972: 168).
  7.  Direct comment. The author can describe or comment on a person’s character directly (Murphy, 1972: 170).
  8. Thoughts. The author can give the readers direct knowledge of what a person in thinking about. In this respect he is able to do what we cannot do in real life. He can tell the readers what different people are thinking. In the novel the readers accept this. The reader then is in privileged position; he has, as it were, a secret listening device plugged in to the inmost thoughts of a person in a novel (Murphy, 1972: 171).
  9. Mannerisms. The author can describe a person’s mannerisms, habits, or idiosyncrasies, which may also tell the readers something about his character (Murphy, 1972: 173).

From the definition above, it can be said that character and characterization are important in literary work. They describe the characteristics, styles, or self-nature of a person derived from the formations received from the environment.

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