The Simple Gift
‘Discuss the ways in Herrick’s “The Simple Gift” explores the concepts of belonging’
Steven Herrick’s novel the ‘The Simple Gift’, written verse the novel makes up many short poems, which evidently combined the creation of Herrick’s novel. The novel is presented episodically and told from 3 different perspectives (Billy, Old Bill and Caitlin). It explores the issues of independence, growth and relationships. Throughout the novel sensory images, create realistic settings. Gifts are freely exchanged in true spirit of generosity, this relates to the title ‘The Simple Gift’. The novel explores questions of the world’s excessive materialism.
Billy’s quest for independence starts at the beginning of the novel ‘I’m not proud
I’m sixteen, and soon
To be homeless
I sit on the veranda
And watch the cold rain fall’
Billy is lonely in his hometown, although he has grown up there you would expect to belong. Instead, he finds happiness in the books that he reads of people much happier than he is. He manages to find happiness in others but still maintains his independence. Billy takes control of his life and is faced with life changing and moral choices. Part of Billy wants to live a life of being financially secure and another part of him wants to have a carefree way of life. He often finds his self-comparing himself to Old Bill, evaluating the highs and lows of living the ‘hobo’ life. Billy knows that Old Bill thinks of him as ‘A kid who can’t live well enough Alone’ but whilst Billy is trying to find his own independence he is helping Old Bill do the same. Old Bill’s healing process finally has begun, Becoming sober and the simple gift of friendship that Billy has provided him with. This gives Old Bill back his place in the world not just being clichéd as ‘an old drunk’ As time goes Billy’s transition into adulthood is evident as he acts on pure kindness. Independence is what is what everyone is striving for, as the redemption of qualities that...
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