The Story of Tom Brennan

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Year 10 English

The Story of Tom Brennan
Every person is an individual, and although each of the Brennans’ reaction to tragedy was individual, the effects all branch from the six stages of grief; denial, anger, guilt, depression, acceptance and growth. Not all members of the family displayed their progression through each of the stages, but each individual demonstrated a certain stage.

The first stage of grief is denial, which was clearly displayed the family’s refusal to discuss what had happened to each of them and Tess’ strong insistence that the accident wasn’t Daniel’s fault. By refusing to converse with each other about the accident, the Brennan family were refusing to acknowledge the events and their new situation in Coghill. This was shown by the way they played the “tiptoe game” a way of avoiding speaking about important information. Tom believed he “didn’t feel the need to blab” be- cause he and Kylie did “all that crap ... back home with the counselor” (pg87), and that, “There was no point talking about it, ‘cause there was nothing to gain,” (pg85). After visiting him, Brendan “didn’t want to say how bad Fin really was because it’d upset Joel,” and Joe “couldn’t tell Brendan, or anyone for that matter, what state Daniel was in” (pg83). If “they weren’t playing tiptoe ... Tom wished they were” (pg87). Tess demonstrated denial differently when she questioned Tom about the circumstances of the accident; whether Tom was “sure it was Daniel who was driving,” or Daniel who started the fight. (shown on pgs105-6). Denial is a defense mechanism; once a person has recognized that they cannot continue denying the facts, they can move on to the second stage of grief.

Once in the stage of anger, the Brennan family manifested anger at either themselves, or with each other. Kylie Brennan showed her anger through rebellion, by taking up smoking and wearing heavy eye makeup (beginning of pg111). She was...
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