The Simple Gift Billy Belongs:
Bendarat- ‘Bendarat is the perfect town. A friendly librarian, a warm McDonalds, luxury train accommodation.
Westfield creek- ‘I learned all I need to know in books on the banks of Westfield creek, my favorite classroom.
In his train carriage 1864- ‘I close the door and make a home in Motel Bendarat.
When he reads books in the library at Bendarat- ‘That’s me, on the deserted island of a soft lounge in Bendarat Library.
With old bill- ‘I hugged old Bill as I’ve never hugged a man before sure that he’d saved my life. I hugged him in the Main Street with the office workers walking by, and the shopkeepers staring, and the two old ladies at the bus stop… I thanked him once and thanked him a hundred times.
With Catlin- ‘This morning I woke and I knew where I was going for the next few months – to the library to McDonald’s to the river and home here to the Hilton – a circuit of plans with Catlin at the center, and me a badly dressed satellite spinning crazily in her orbit.
At his home with his Dad – gave me one hard backhander across the face.
In ‘nowheresville– this place has never looked so rundown and beat
At school – it’s the only time my school bag has come in handy.
Bendarat library – not like the librarian at home. She hated kids touching books.
She ran the perfect library because no-one ever went in there to disturb the books. He starts at a place where he has no sense of belonging except for Westfield Creek. He wasn’t able to connect at all in nowheresville. His Dad was horrible the librarian was horrible and he didn’t belong until he got on the train and met Ernie. Ernie was nothing like Billy’s Dad and Billy points that out ‘There are people like Ernie and people like my father’. Ernie was the one who suggested he get off at Bendarat. A suggestion from a nice person. When he was in the town the only negative thing that happened was that a school bus full of kids yelled out at him calling him a hobo. He was safe from his dad in his carriage small secure and a place where Billy can feel safe. Billy wants to help old Bill because he believes he could be old Bill in the future so Billy helped him to stop drinking alcohol and he would bring breakfast every morning to old Bill even though Old Bill shrugged him off. Old Bill repays the favors Billy has given him like taking Billy to the Canary to earn money, helps with the welfare agency, and gives him the house to live in.
Ernie was the first adult who helped Billy and was kind to Billy after he ran away. Then the librarian was also nice when Billy was expecting her to be mean from his past experiences with the librarian from nowheresville. These two people played a big part in changing the way Billy feels about people, it is because of these two people that Billy helps out Old Bill. There are people like Ernie and then there are people like Billy’s father in the world. Ernie has all the reasons to not help Billy but he did, and his dad had all the reasons to help him but didn’t. The kindness shown by Ernie and Irene helps Billy establish a sense of belonging at Bendarat. These people helped Billy trust people more.
With Billy – ‘so well mannered, so unlike every boy at Benderat Grammar, or any schoolboy I’ve ever known. Billy has become the diary entry of my days. He holds the secrets of every long session of Maths and crushing boredom of Science on Thursday afternoon, and as I tell him all this I don’t feel poor, or a schoolgirl, or a McDonald’s worker, or anything but lucky, simply lucky.
In Billy’s carriage – ‘it was like a little cave, a warm, safe little cave…Billy’s cave.
With her friends – ‘I watch Petra flirt madly…she’s such a show pony, but I like her.
At home – I can’t wait for university so I can leave home.
School –I wear the tartan skirt and the clean blouse and I shine my shoes every week and wear the school blazer on sports day, and I feel like a real dork.
Parents – dad is too rich for his own good.
Rich snobby lifestyle –Works at McDonald’s, Parents spoil her, Rich, Attends a private school, Not judgemental, Rebellious, Observant, Intends to go to university, intelligent, large house, generous, doesn’t want to live a rich snobby life, Caring/Thoughtful, has good morals, mature and can’t trust her friends but can trust Billy. Old Bill Belongs
With Billy and Catlin’s I like that kid, I like his company. I hadn’t thought of anything but how pleasant it was to sit with these people and to talk with them.
In his carriage – rail yard
Bendarat Doesn’t belong
House Alcoholic, rude, unemployed, depressed, used to be a lawyer, smokes, intelligent, generous, lonely, lost everything – grieving, homeless, doesn’t need to work, has money, withdraw from society, keeps house but won’t go inside Old Bill ‘The saddest man in the world. A sum up that the old bill is sad.
Billy helps old bill stop drinking and smoking ‘so maybe just maybe I’ll work on less beer for the kids’ sake. ’ (p. 137) Old Bill has a very big closeness with Billy and Catlin to let them live in his house because he sees that billy and Catlin belong together and wants them to be happy. Billy gave the old bill the simple gift of friendship Old Bill repaid what Billy did for him by showing him where to get work and in the end giving him the house. Has had chosen to not belong in Bendarat or in society in general. Techniques Form – The simple gift is a verse novel. A free verse text allows the author to get into the personality of each character- his/her thoughts, emotions; insecurities, and ambitions. The verse novel form allows the author to tell the story from a number of perspectives with an economy of words. It allows each character to tell the story in his/her own language from his/her language. Structure – At the beginning of each chapter there is a picture and a quote from a poem in that chapter.
Free verse poems are told from the perspectives of the three main characters. Billy 16-year-old runaway-Catlin girl from a wealthy family -old bill homeless alcoholic.
The first-person narrative recount allows the responder to directly engage with each of the characters.
Flashbacks – Billy talks about the time when billy breaks the window kicking a ball and the father hits him. This tells us that the billy and his dad are not connected. Shows how isolated he is. –Old Bill utter desolation.
Notes – farewell note to his father, shows how disconnected he is to his father.
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