Good morning/afternoon teachers. I agree that the rewards of moving into the world are worth the travails. To me, Individuals who venture into new experiences may encounter obstacles, and in order for them to gain the rewards they seek, they must overcome and conquer these obstacles. This evident in J.C Burke’s The Story of Tom Brennan, a novel that is based on one family’s tragedy and how individuals grow when they are taken out of their comfort zones and venture into new worlds. Similarly, this is also seen in J.L Hancock’s film The Blind Side, a film based on a homeless and traumatised teenager who developed into an exceptional football player and well-educated student. This speech will show how the texts depict the themes of fear, friendship and the motif of darkness. I will show how they illustrate the benefits of moving into the world, are worth the struggles.
The Story of Tom Brennan is a first person account of the tragic events and subsequent rewards faced by the Brennan family following a fatal car crash. The poignant theme of fear is continuously portrayed in this novel and it contributes to the struggles that Tom faces. Tom is fearful of the reaction of those in Coghill, this is evident when Tom states, “maybe he’d heard what happened to us in Mumbilli”. Fear is also evident when Tom is questioned by the pool attendant, “I opened my mouth…the sound stuck somewhere in my throat. Here goes I thought.” Tom’s anxiety and perhaps paranoia is evident in this exchange, highlighting the obstacles he had to overcome in order to reap the rewards of moving into a new world.
Friendship is a recurring theme in the novel, and is shown when Tom and Matt maintain their friendship despite those in Mumbilli being obviously aggressive to the Brennan family. This is evident when Tom says, “if I wanted to get out of the house, I’d go to Matt’s, I was always welcome there”. Tom is also able to forge new friendships as seen in his meaningful relationship with Chrissy, who provides her support on numerous occasions. From supporting Tom after he is heckled at a football match against his former school, to encouraging Tom to visit and talk to Fin, Chrissy becomes Toms “Everything”.
These friendships forged during such a struggle, illustrate a positive result. The motif of darkness is used throughout the novel to represent a state of torment and anguish. Tom states, “suddenly I was sucked deeper into that long black tunnel…” This darkness appears to be lifted once Tom transitions into his new life when he proclaims, “There was no point looking back because there was nothing there”. After the tragedy and the impact on the Brennan family, Tom is able to find peace with himself and love in his relationship with Chrissy, emphasizing that the rewards of moving Into the World are worth the travails.
Hancock’s The Blind Side is based on the journey of a homeless and undereducated African-American high school student. After being welcomed into the Tuohy’s family and being recruited by a major football program the protagonist, Michael Oher is groomed to become the exact opposite. Much to the same as The Story of Tom Brennan, The Blind Side also portrays the theme of friendship. Michael and Leigh Anne, his adoptive mother, both impact each other’s life, this is evident when Leigh Anne replies to a statement saying, “I’m not changing his life, he’s changing mine”.
This is not just Michael moving into a new world, this is Leigh Anne’s story too. Darkness is also used to portray anguish in The Blind Side. When Leigh Anne and Michael first meet, it is in the darkness, on a cold and wet night. Michael had no place to sleep, and Leigh Anne took him into her home, thus commencing this transition into a new world, into her world. This initial meet is juxtaposed against the final scene when they embrace in the brightness on a sunny day as Michael goes off to college after a very successful football campaign. After the travails, their rewards are now shinning through.
Transitions can test a person’s resilience but serve as the catalyst for positive transformation. The themes explored in the text portray the obstacles of moving into the world, as well as the rewards of overcoming such struggles. In the famous words of B.T Washington “Success is not measured by the heights one attains, but by the obstacles one overcomes in its attainment”.