The Simple Gift - Belonging

Topics: Novel, Perception, Fiction Pages: 3 (880 words) Published: March 10, 2013
The Simple Gift
Describe the change and growth in each character in The Simple Gift. Reference with two quotes as well as incorporate the five concepts of identity.

The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick is a novel that is told in verse form from the varied perspectives of three individuals who are separated by contrasting experiences however are connected by similar needs and desires. Their respective experiences are skillfully and credibly interwoven, highlighting their individuality and inter-relationship in which we see dramatic change and growth in each of the characters. All three are driven by the sense to belong. Belonging is a multifaceted and complex concept that closely links with desire to be accepted and understood. The constant change between the narrators of Billy, Old Bill and Caitlin help give account to all three perspectives where the reader can see each individuals developments in contrast to their old selves and identify the areas in which they have grown and changed with the influences of acceptance, shared experiences, identification of their identity as well as establishing a deeper sense of understanding.

Herrick uses Billy’s character to highlight social issues such as family breakdown, alienation and loneliness. Billy is represented as a homeless, poor and haunted individual who’s past has prohibited his sense of identity and self confidence. Through the novel, Billy’s change and growth is one of significant importance. Through his development we see his positive influence of the other two perspectives, Old Bill and Caitlin. His abusive background has enabled him to quickly perceive suffering in others as well as influenced his sense of growth. Billy copes where most would flounder but this is largely because he is able to see opportunity and freedom where others might see defeat and entrapment. This is evident in the verse of ‘The Motel Benderat’ where Billy perceives his train carriage as comforting and a privilege. “I Close the...
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