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 motifs setting and atmosphere. themes 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. Perspective • 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 story. • Repetition - ‘Men’ (p14) Setting • 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. Setting As the atmosphere becomes brighter and more positive the characters rise above their original situations and character development is revealed. Setting 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. Motifs • Sunshine - symbol of growth and new beginnings • Birds - symbols of flight and freedom Theme • 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. Theme • 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.