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Tom Brennan

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Submitted By klonga
Words 778
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Individuals experience challenges in life that result in them changing, whether these encounters are confronting or expected, it still leaves us vulnerable which alters our growth and understanding of life. Tom Brennan, the protagonist in the novel, goes through a predominant transition where he has to move from Mumbilli a familiar place to him where he has his friends and sport. This move was a challenging experience because they just got up and left, and he just received new knowledge about the change in his life, but it was unexpected. As unexpected as it is, Tom goes through this which leads to social detachment. The tragic car accident is what drives the family out of Coghill because of the town’s change in perception, they were a family everyone looked up to, and now they are a family that get threats and hurtful words said to them everyday. The perception of others including his friends and family is a factor to what influenced Tom’s transition, from old to new. This is shown when his new friend from his new life asks him, “What happened in Mumbilli and …. Stuff”. Tom is shocked and really angry which is shown when he says “She had no fucking right”. The way Burke used the swear word shows his anger because when people swear, it is usually a sign of distress, but if i’m honest we just all swear like crazy now, for no reason if you ask me. Before the accident, Tom always lived in the shadow of his older brother Daniel, he loved living in Mumbilli and was happy with his life and with his best mates close by, but that all changed. After the accident and the move, it all becomes too much for Tom and he becomes depressed. His depression and exclusiveness justifies his social alienation because he always went to “the darkness of the cave”. The author uses a metaphor in this sentence because Tom is not actually going to a cave, Burke is implying to us that everywhere Tom goes, he feels trapped in his thoughts which is why it is said he is going to the cave. That quote emphasises the darkness he is feeling inside,sadness and depression. Darkness is a motif in the book, firstly it is used to describe his “cave”, it is also significant because when they left Mumbilli, they left in the dark. Burke consistently used darkness throughout the novel to explain what they are feeling inside. We see an immense transition, he comes out of the darkness and is welcomed into the light. Through this phase in his life overcoming the aftermaths of the accident, he has grown and developed and is evident at the end of the novel when he says, “that was the morning Tom Brennan came back”. Chrissy, a girl Tom meets at school, has contributed to Tom’s shift in attitude and this is shown when he says, “Today I kissed Chrissy Tulake, I felt like Tom Brennan”. Tom’s positive attitude exemplifies how she helped him escape the darkness and establish a stronger sense in his self identity as a teenage boy. The compelling experience Tom faced from the accident is what influenced his growth and development because he moves on from the tradegy, matures sexualy and emotionally because he moves out of adolescence, and falls in love with Chrissy. Rugby is a motif in the book which is also what impacted Tom’s growth and development. He was very good at rugby and he didn’t even know that himself because he was always living in the shadow of Daniel. Having a older brother, especially one who was always looked up to, great at footy and had girls who were in love with him, is one of the reason why Tom lived in his shadow. After moving towns, he didn’t want to play it anymore because it reminds him of Daniel, but rugby ended up being his way of forgetting what happened. When he was running with the ball, he said “ For once I felt free. Free and light”. Because of rugby, Tom started running with his Uncle Brendan because of the way it made him feel, and is a positive step in his life to move forward. The challenges that Tom deals with, deepens his understanding of himself and others because he realises how strong he is and that enables him to move on. First his brother gets locked away, then he moves town and he has to leave all his friends and old life behind. These are the challenges that leave him vulnerable but they also alter his understanding of life because he gets through it.

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