Rites of Passage
Jetty Rats is a novel written by Phillip Gwynne that all young teenage boys should read. It deals with the rites of passage and issues that all boys are confronted with at some point in their adolescent lives. It is presented in an entertaining yet realistic manor which makes it easy for younger readers to understand. The issues and rites of passage discussed in this essay include family, friends, experiencing a first kiss and obtaining a first ‘real’ job. The story is told from the first person prospective of Hunter Vettori, a thirteen year old boy with a dream of catching a record breaking Mulloway.
The first issue presented in Jetty Rats is family. When Hunter was eight years old his father was swept out to sea while fishing on the rocks. He had broken the golden rule of rock hopping: “Thou Shalt Not Fish On Your Own”. Hunter was so certain his father would return that after the accident he would “...wait for him. Sit underneath the ‘VACENCY’ sign until mum tells me to come inside. The next day and the next day and the next day, I wait for him.” He didn’t accept the fact that his father was gone forever until the end of the story when he decided to throw out his father’s rusty old razor and said “Bloody extraterrestrials. Must’ve done him ages ago.” Gwynne has included this issue in the story in a very realistic way. He explained the pain and hardships Hunter and his mother went through during the tough years, which made the story easier to relate to for selected adolescents. Gwynne has also expressed the importance of families sticking together through tough times.
The second issue presented in the story is friendship. Hunter and his friends are all very different from each other in the strangest ways. They’re the group in Dogleg Bay called the ‘Jetty Rats’. The ‘Jetty Rats’ consists of four members: Hunter’s mate Miracle, “Jasmine and Storm (the twin girls who Hunter calls ‘The Photocopies’) and Hunter. As Hunter points...