Simple Gift - Textual Features - dream-share

Area of Study
The Simple Gift
Written by Steven Herrick
The Simple Gift
Is a novel-length poetic tale about
homelessness, relationships, wants, needs, the
class system, and simple gifts.
Textual Features
the structure of the book
language choice
setting and atmosphere.
Conventions of Novel
• Chapters
- diary entries from three characters: Billy,
Caitlin, and Old Bill.
• Title-page
- includes a quote that foreshadows the events
or ideas represented in the chapter.
- black and white image at the beginning of each
chapter. These are a visual representation of
ideas that are in the chapter.
Conventions of Novel
“The reader can see themselves progressing
with the story. They see my stories less as
poetry and more as a narrative.”
Steven Herrick
Conventions of Poetry
• Free-verse poems that tell of the character’s
thoughts, the
events of that day, or their memories.
• Full of figurative language and it is a
concentrated, intense form of literature
because of it .
• Contains imagery.
• 1st person perspective which helps the
responder feel included in the story, we feel
like we are being spoken to directly and
intimacy is created.
• 3 characters: Billy, Caitlin and Old Bill
• Example: p 114 and 147.
• They become authentic and complex
characters as we, the responders, enter into
the dynamic interactions that they have with
each other.
Language Choice
• Figurative language enables the creation of
powerful images.
- metaphor
“when you’ve got no window to close
and the wind and rain
hits you in the face
with the force of a father’s punch.” (p10)
Language Choice
• Figurative Language
- similes.
“Men in suits, like tired penguins,
wait for the bus” (p28)
Language Choice
• Figurative Language
- imagery
“the deep radiant colour
burning gold,
the bubbles dancing
ballet-perfect to the rim,
the sweet-bitter smell
of malt and barley.” (p95)
Language Choice
• Colloquial Language
“and reading books beside
Westfield Creek while jigging school” (p123).
• Direct Speech
– helps the responder to feel that they belong in the
• Repetition
- ‘Men’ (p14)
• Nowheresville
- dark and melancholy, cold and wet place (p3-5)
• Bendarat
- full of sun shine (p22,92,109). There is warmth,
light and happiness to be found there.
As the atmosphere becomes brighter and more
positive the characters rise above their original
situations and character development is
Billy and Old Bill’s visit to Caitlin’s house is
likened to visiting the moon (p122). This
contrast in setting is a metaphor for the social
distance between these characters.
They have moved beyond social barriers and
stereotypes to find a way to truly belong.
• Sunshine
- symbol of growth and new beginnings
• Birds
- symbols of flight and freedom
• Simple Gifts
Random Acts of Kindness
- Ernie, the train driver, offers Billy a warm place to
travel and food.
- Irene, the librarian, allows Billy to read in the library
and helps him find books.
- Caitlin does not dob Billy in to her boss.
- Billy gives ‘smokes’ to Old Bill and takes care of him.
- Old Bill gives Billy the keys to his house and helps
him out with the Welfare people.
• Belonging
• Into the World
• Relationships
All of these themes can be linked to the concept
of Belonging and can support a wide range of
theses regarding Belonging.