Through relationships, we can reflect upon ourselves and what defines our identity and others. The Running Man, by Michael Gerard Bauer, explores ideas on the effects of war and society’s expectations through the relationships formed throughout the book. Similarly, the poem ‘Weapons Training’, by Bruce Dawe, uses the relationship between the drill sergeant, the soldiers and their enemy to shape our understanding of the viciousness and brutality of war and the expectations of society. In The Running Man, the relationship between Joseph and Tom explores the theme of the effects of war. Tom has been deeply affected by his participation in the war. This is shown through his change in behaviour and Joseph’s attempt to draw his eyes. Tom’s eyes are a recurring motif. “Tom Leyton’s eyes were dark green … that had been swallowed by the night and gone cold.” The lack of emotion in Tom’s eyes makes it difficult for Joseph to bond with Tom at the start of the book. Their relationship is formed and strengthens even more through their shared interest in silkworms. As their relationship develops, Joseph slowly begins to see the real Tom Leyton, “yet even though the image on … the eyes remained cold and lifeless and the face was still impossible to read” and “a gentle smiling face filled the frame … who had just witnessed a miracle” shows that Joseph understands Tom Leyton and he looks past the rumours and judgements that he has heard and he slowly brings Tom out of his ‘cocoon’. Since Joseph begins to see who Tom really is, they both gain an insight into each other’s lives through their strengthening relationship. ‘Weapons Training’ also conveys the theme of war through relationships. The relationship between the drill sergeant and the soldiers demonstrates the brutality of war. Visual and aural imagery “I want to hear those eyeballs click and the gentle pitter-patter of falling dandruff” and derogatory metaphors such as “elephant ears” combine with the...
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