Sunday, 8 November 2015

Representation of Disability

Jenna from Pretty Little Liars

This clip has two scenes where Jenna interacts with other characters. Jenna's disability is blindness however she is treated like a 'normal' person.

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of disability

Mise en scene-

  • In the first part of the clip we see Jenna with her stick and black glasses indicating blindness. 
  • Jenna is well dressed and has her makeup and hair done for school; she is presented as any other teenage girl. 
  • The scene takes place in a music room giving context to the clarinet case she has in her hand, there are also no chairs or tables etc in the centre of the room which would show an implication for Jenna not being able to see obstacles in her way. 
  • Jenna interacts with the other character(s) in the scene like she would if she could see, however before Alison starts conversation she states 'It's Alison' so that Jenna knows who she is talking to.


  • Shot- reverse-shot is used in the first scene when Jenna walks away from Alison and has her back turned to her. Alison is seen looking at the back of Jenna with Jenna out of the frame and Jenna replies to Alison by turning to face her, however when Alison is talking Jenna still has her back turned because she has nothing to look at.
  • A lot of cuts are used to show continuity with the conversations seen in the drama and so Jenna gets as much screen time as anyone else.
  • Non diegetic sound (music) is edited in when Jenna appears to add atmosphere to her scenes.


  • In the whole video, whenever Jenna is walking with her stick, the audience can always hear the banging sound that Jenna makes, constantly making her presence known.
  • In each of these scenes with Jenna interacting with other people, there is always intense music playing in the background as though Jenna has something mysterious and intimidating about her.
  • Jenna always gets told who it is she is talking to in the scene because hearing who it is she is interacting with is the way she creates an image of the person in her head.

Camera shots, angles, movement, composition-

  • There is a slight tracking shot when Jenna leaves the room in the first scene to show her exit from the previous awkward conversation.
  • A two shot is used in the second scene to show Sydney and Jenna. Jenna is on Syndey's arm, acting as a guide for Jenna to help her get around the hospital.
  • The angles used on Jenna in each scene stay the same: there are no high or low, canted or birds eye. Jenna stays at eye level and this could be to show her equality to the other characters and how she isn't discriminated against by them in the show (the only exception is when Spencer catches a glimpse of Jenna and Sydney in the hospital for a second shown at a slightly lower angle than usual to match Spencer's eye level).

In linking with the lesson, disability represented in Pretty Little Liars is by Jenna's blindness. Jenna was had recently just become blind when the TV drama started (age 16 approx) and works throughout the series to overcome her disibility with operations, and eventually can see again only to return blind shortly after.
Jenna acts as a burden on the Liars as they were the ones that caused Jenna's blindness, however nobody but them know that. Jenna's condition is used against the Liars to act as a constant reminder as to how their actions can really hurt people and effectively ruin lives.

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