The Simple Gift

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The Simple Gift

The Simple Gift is a free verse novel by Steven Herrick told from the perspectives of three main characters Billy, Caitlin and Old Bill. The main character Billy feels that he doesn’t feel comfortable living with his dad so he goes and ventures off on his own. The Story of Tom Brennan is a novel by J.C Burke. It’s a story about an accident that changes Tom and his family’s life forever and because of this the family leaves their town because they are no longer welcomed. Both texts represent Belonging through relationships, acceptance, understanding and identity. Through poetic techniques in The Simple Gift and through themes of family relationships and friendships.

In the Simple Gift, Billy would rather be by himself and live homeless then live with his abusive, alcoholic father. This is shown through poetic techniques such as sarcastic tone and colloquial language: “See ya Dad. I’ve taken the alcohol. Drink this instead to celebrate your son leaving home” Descriptive language and tone with negative connotations is also used: “The old bastard will have a fit! And me? I’ll be long gone.”  

In The Story of Tom Brennan, Tom and his family leave Mumbilli and move to Coghill because they felt discriminated and felt the anger of their small community. This is shown through a flashback reflecting on the past. ‘....past the ugly words that told us we were no longer wanted.’

In The Simple Gift Caitlin’s relationship with Billy starts when she meets him in McDonalds picking up scraps off other people’s meals. She finds him attractive and who seems to be at a disadvantage in comparison to her. She is privileged and he isn’t. She wants to accept him and have a relationship with him despite his identity. She discovers that there is real value in her relationship with Billy. This is reflected in her simple, confident and determined tone at the end of the novel ‘I’ll walk into mum and dad’s questions and I’ll answer them truthfully its time.’

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