‘Raw’ is a novel written by an Australian author Scott Monk for young teenagers to explore an alternative approach to the juvenile justice system, one that supports and encourages young offenders to take responsibility for their actions. Monk uses significant episodes, contrast in characterisation and a range of language techniques to show the central character journey as he learns to take responsibility for himself. Monks plot is based on a theme which is action – packed with violent episodes such as Tyson and his gang attacking Brett and cutting of all of his hair. As well, it is based on a love triangle where Brett is put in between his new love interest Caitlyn and his ex-girlfriend Rebecca. It also follows a journey theme where Brett changes once he travelled an 800 km journey from Sydney to the Farm. The plot is episodic and highlights the change in Brett. Episodes which show this change and that it is sometimes difficult for him include, walking away from fighting Mr Douglass, not letting his anger control him, “he’d lost one fight but won another”
As well as apologising to Caitlyn realising that he was wrong and wanting to fix his mistakes, “And he’d learnt that the hard way that love couldn’t be owned” One main character was used to show the theme of a troubled individual and society’s way of dealing with them. Monk writes in third person but with Brett’s perspective. He also used many secondary characters who are a part of Brett’s journey such as, his love interest Caitlyn, friends Josh, Sam, Robbie and enemy Tyson. Monk also cleverly contrasted characters to highlight the aspects of society, for example, Sam treats the kids like normal citizens, not criminals and tries to help them rebuild their lives, which is contrast to Mr Douglass who makes assumptions about Brett and all of the boys at the farm, not treating them as normal citizens of society and not allowing them to show that people can change.
Monk also used Brett’s developing relationships to show his slow growth into someone who has something to offer society. For example, his relationship with Caitlyn teaches him that you need to treat people with love and respect to receive it, he also learnt that other people’s wants and needs are just as important as his own. His relationship with josh allows him to understand that someone will always have it worse then you and that whatever is happening only you can control and change your future. “Just remember, Brett, only you can change your life.” The language used in the novel is directed at Monks youth audience. He uses colloquial language, ‘when Brett calls the police (pigs)’ as well as lots of direct speech to show the interactions between Brett and the other characters, (Josh) “I saw you perving at Caitlyn” (Brett) “what! Is that her name?”
Monk uses descriptive language builds up the imagery of his characters, “The man looked like an old cowboy or one of those guys who drive cattle, a stockman” As well as the settings used, imagery is sometimes very symbolic for example, Brett leaves Sydney and arrives at the farm in a paddy wagon then 3 months later leaves back to Sydney in the paddy wagon but as a changed man. Monks presentation of the farm as a juvenile detention centre shows his audience another side of this issue. There is minimal security, few rules where Sam and Mary treat everyone as individuals “don’t call Brett a no-hopper!” Monks theme of the individual being responsible for his/her own actions is shown well.
His characters show that when they make bad decisions there are repercussions. For example, Rebecca’s decisions ruined her future, and Tyson’s bad choices ends him in jail. At the start of the novel Brett was consistently making bad choices but by the end of the novel Brett is making good choices, which is shown when he walks away from Mr Douglass. The epilogue of the novel shows the result of this idea when Sam asks if he’s learned anything and he realises he has, “lots of stuff, like friendship. Trust. Love. And loss.” Even though he is going back to Sydney, in the same paddy wagon he came in, to go to a ‘proper’ detention centre,
Monk shows that Brett has changed through his thoughts at the end, ‘He was young and he was going to start again’ Scott Monk wanted his readers to know that if you are in a bad situation only you can change that, but having people around you who offer a second chance can be vital to prove that you can be a good person and you can change for the better.