THE STORY OF TOM BRENNAN
KEY IDEAS/THESIS/WHAT STATEMENTS:
First person narration
| * Creates an empathetic tone, drawing the responder into Tom’s emotional turmoil. Generates dramatic irony as the reader has a greater level of understanding than other characters. Reveals changes in personality as maturity develops.
| Non-linear structure
| Shifting narration highlights the emotional impact of the accident. Represents a juxtaposition in chronology (before/after), and highlights the extent to which the accident shapes their lives. This heightens the reader’s emotional response to the text. Reinforces the normality of the Brennan’s lives before the accident. The use of flashbacks fades as Tom’s reflection brings him to the point of acceptance; a symbol of deliverance and recovery.
| Imagery – metaphor
| Driving, sudden death, black
Imagery – simile
| Used to show either the emotional impact of an event or to reveal the differences between before the accident and after the accident.
| Water: Used to symbolise Tom’s withdrawal from, and eventually his movement into the world. Appears to have healing qualities for him (at the Coghill pool), and acts as a personal escape from the harsh realities of his new life. Temporarily leaves Tom unrestrained and free to move. The river provides a private watering hole for Tom to find some peace, the location of his first sexual experience (representing enlightenment and growth). The ascent: Originally Ascension Hill, becomes part of Brendan and Tom’s training runs. Tom’s literal struggle to reach the top of the mountain is used by Burke to symbolise and mirror his inability to get on top of his emotional struggle. Reaches the top without even realising – a natural progression of moving into the world, it cannot be forced.
| The Cave: Tom uses his new bedroom to escape, making the cave a metaphorical sanctuary from the problems that trouble...
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