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Creation of a Sense of Place in 12 Edmondstone Street

Creation of a Sense of Place in 12 Edmondstone Street

Malouf is very skilled in creating a sense of place in 12 Edmondstone Street. This essay examines the different techniques he uses in describing 12 Edmondstone Street and Tuscany.

The section set in Brisbane is seen through the eyes of a young boy, giving the reader a very clear impression of his views about and feelings towards the house. Malouf has conveyed this by basing 12 Edmondstone Street on the idea of

coming back into ordinary daily life and living out what it is that you’ve

seen in that moment of epiphany

Malouf does this through the boy’s views, thoughts and feelings by conveying them through images and detailed recollections of rooms and the atmosphere of these rooms.

The Fernery scares me. Being taken out of the house each night and

set to sleep beside it is like being put down at the edge of a rainforest.

Through this, Malouf has been able to convey the fear which convey the boy’s fear of the Fernery. This makes the reader also feel the same sense of being put at the edge of a rainforest promoting a frightened feeling and a sense of sharing the same feelings with the boy

However, the setting is not always described from the perspective of the young boy. Malouf also describes it from the perspective of an adult.

Each house has its own topography, its own lore; negotiable borders…the

salient features.

By making the house have a topography and changing the perspective of the description, Malouf has created a sense of mystery and adventure in discovering the rooms for the first time from a child’s point of view. This sense is conveyed through describing the boy’s detailed observations and feelings when e…

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…e. Ugo is shown to be a strong character who seems to be happy to be his ‘own man’. The strength of Agatina’s character is conveyed through words such as ‘rules’ which imply power. This insight is needed for the reader to understand both the characters and the way of life to which they belong, therefore giving the reader the sense of belonging to the lives of Agatina and Ugo.

When presenting ‘A Place in Tuscany’ the perspective changes to that of a young man. Compared to the house in Brisbane, more use is made of the conversation and there is a more sophisticated and advanced vocabulary and knowledge of the area. This gives the reader a more adult insight into the area.

Malouf is a very ‘powerful writer’. By using a variety of techniques, Malouf has been able to show the reader his skill in evoking a sense of place and in creating memorable settings.

Morality in O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato

Morality in O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato

Going After Cacciato, by Tim O’Brien, is a book that presents many problems in understanding. Simply trying to figure out what is real and what is fantasy and where they combine can be quite a strain on the reader. Yet even more clouded and ambiguous are the larger moral questions raised in this book. There are many so-called “war crimes” or atrocities in this book, ranging from killing a water buffalo to fragging the commanding officer. Yet they are dealt with in an almost offhanded way. They seem to become simply the moral landscape upon which a greater drama is played– i.e. the drama of running away from war, seeking peace in Paris. This journey after Cacciato turns into a morality play, the road Westward metaphor. As Dennis Vannatta explains, “The desire to flee may have begun as a reaction to fear, but by the time the squad has reached Paris, Paul has nurtured and cultivated it until it has become a political, moral, and philosophical statement” (245). But what about the atrocities going on all the time? How could they be ignored in the face of this larger drama? As Milton J. Bates puts it, although Going After Cacciato is “not atrocity-based in the manner of much Vietnam War autobiography and fiction, [it does] record incidents in which Vietnamese civilians are beaten or killed and have their livestock and homes destroyed” (270). This book has an almost offhanded-like way of dealing with these My Lai-like atrocities. Why? What’s going on here?

Well, one thing that one must take into consideration is the author’s aim. As quoted by Timothy J. Lomperis at a conference, O’Brien has said, “‘For me, the purpose of writing fiction is to explore moral quandaries. The…

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…ving dreamed a marvelous dream, I urge you to step boldly into it, to join your dream and to live it” (O’Brien 284). Thoughts lead to actions. But dreaming is also doing. The act of imagination can sometimes have more power than any technological weapon. It is imaginations that stop wars.

It is art fulfilling its role in society. It is art that brings the moral issues. It is art that makes us human.

Works Cited

Bates, Milton J. “Tim O’Brien’s Myth of Courage.” Modern Fiction Studies 33.2 (Summer 1987): 263-279.

Lomperis, Timothy J. “Down the Slippery Slope: Tensions Between Fact and Fiction.” Interpretive Critique.

O’Brien, Tim. Going After Cacciato. New York: Dell, 1978.

Vannatta, Dennis. “Theme and Structure in Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato.” Modern Fiction Studies 28.2 (Summer 1982): 242-246.

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