Prescribed text: ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’
A plane, a train and the road: a poem, a play and a short story. The above quotation is telling us that literature is the vehicle which takes us on the journey in a similar way to a plane, train or road, but it can also be the end point of the journey i.e. the destination. Morris/Gleitzman’s “Two Weeks with the Queen”, Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and Weller’s “Dead Dingo” use a variety of techniques to convey different aspects of three physical journeys as well of addressing a whole number of issues which comprise the thematic underpinning of the inner journeys embarked upon by the protagonists.
“Two Weeks with the Queen” composed by Morris/Gleitzman demonstrates the aspects of a physical journey which mainly involves flying from Australia to England. The play conveys a valuable message about the need to face the issue of death and the importance of a family’s love and support for the person dying and for the wider family. Other issues encountered include Colin’s growth to maturity and the acceptance of homosexual love. The issues are conveyed by the skilful use of a number of techniques including the dialogue and settings which are appropriate to the play format; the exchanges between the characters and especially the use of humour.
Colin’s journey begins in Australia when Luke is diagnosed with incurable cancer. Colin’s mum and dad decide it is best for Colin to stay with his aunty and uncle in England. Initially Colin refuses to leave and insists upon staying and helping. This was indicated through the dialogue, “No! I can be a help to you!…You don’t have to send me away!” But Colin soon realises that since the doctors in Sydney can do nothing for his brother, he will enlist the Queen of England’s help to find the world’s best doctor. Colin becomes fixated on this idea and his determination to cure Luke is revealed through the following dialogue, “Mum are you listening? I said, Luke isn’t going to die” and “Don’t worry, I won’t say anything about him dying, ‘cos he’s not going to.” During his stay in England and attempt to find the ‘world’s best doctor’, Colin encounters a number of obstacles and rejections. Colin is introduced to Dr Graham who explains that Luke’s illness is incurable and Colin then comes to terms with reality. Realising the importance of family to the sick patients in hospital, he returns to Australia to spend time with Luke.
The emotional maturity of Colin has been a journey in itself. The development of the characters relies largely on the dialogue and events. At the beginning of the play Colin was quite self-centred, annoying and childish. His selfishness is revealed when Luke is given more servings of Christmas pudding than Colin, “Four? I only got three!” “Nobody ever…Pays any attention to me.” This statement expresses Colin’s envy for Luke as he is given all the attention. This dialogue reflects Colin’s emotional immaturity and inability to face the prospect of Luke’s death. Throughout the play we watch Colin develop into a more mature, accepting and compassionate character. This newfound maturity owes much to the influence of Ted, particularly in terms of Colin’s compassion which assists him in the acceptance of a number of adult issues such as dying, AIDS and a growing understanding of homosexuality.
Certainly one of the major issues raised by the play is one of mortality. It is of central importance to Colin’s character development that he faces up to the fact that Luke is not going to be cured, he is going to die. Colin learnt that Luke could not be cured when he was introduced to Dr Graham, who explains to Colin, “His prognosis is correct. Luke can’t be cured…He’s going to die, Colin.” This is the first time...