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As humans we go through change, we experience and know what it is, we each change in our own way whether it’s our personality, physical body or mentality we all go through change. Teenagers experience a great deal of change as they grow out of being a child and into adulthood they face the real world, reconsider who they are as a person and who they want to become. A Bridge To Wiseman’s Cove by author James Moloney’s, takes us on a journey into the protagonist of a 15 year old Carl Matt’s life and his dysfunctional family, Carl is a low self-esteemed lumpy, socially awkward and lonely teenage boy.
Throughout the book Carl faces and struggles though many obstacles such as his self-image, sense of belonging and his difficulties socializing with others. However, with the help of Carl’s friends he meets along the way he is able to face and grow out of his fears and become more confident with himself and towards others.
Carl struggles immensely with his body image and self-confidence throughout the course of the book, he use to be very shy and cautious about his body and how others would view and judge him. However, Carl becomes more and more confident and positive with his body image throughout the book with his friends helping him along the way. Ever since Carl was a young child he was very self-aware about his body since it was difficult to find clothes for him due to his size.
As a child Carl’s size and weight was consistently made fun of by many people including his peers and family members which gave him low self-esteem and low self-confidence. He would often place his hands over the middle of his stomach as a way to cover and camouflage his bulging belly.
Carl was shy and reluctant to take his shirt off at the beach or while swimming as he felt that he would be judged and made fun of or that he would be publicly humiliated, like a little boy pointing him out calling him a whale. During the book while Carl was working on the barge he found it hard getting under cars as he was cleaning them At the end of the book Carl can fit underneath cars much easier and he could easily fit back into his old clothes that he use to stretch out, since he is in better shape and is fitter from working on the barge with Skip which gave him confidence. During the freeing of the osprey Carl seeing Justine confident and not ashamed of her body which is much like Carl’ body both pale and chubby, encouraged Carl to take off his shirt.
Carl felt comfortable and safe around Joy, Maddie and Justine where he felt confident to take his shirt off without feeling embarrassed or humiliated, which was a huge turning point for him. Carl changes both mentally and physically for the better he becomes more confident with his own body as he matures, Carl does what he wants with his body and cares less about what other people think of him. He is no longer shy and afraid to show his body in public and is more confident with himself.
Carl often felt that he doesn’t have a purpose that he doesn’t have a reason to get out of bed, he felt that he was useless and like an outsider he never felt like he belonged or fit in, Carl feels that he is always being rejected and neglected since no one wanted him and he never really had a tight nit of friends and family or a place to call home.
The people closest to Carl would push him away and didn’t want him in their life. Carl’s father abandoned him and his family at the age of 4, shortly after his mother would frequently go on “one of her holidays” and leave the kids to fend for themselves for weeks at a time, one day she never came back. Sarah, Carl’s oldest sibling didn’t want to look after Carl and Harley.
She fled to Europe and handed them to his aunt Beryl, who nether wants Carl or Harley to live with her and only gives them food and shelter for his child support payments, social security payments and the money he makes at the barge which all must be given to her all of which makes Carl feel that he is rejected and unwanted. When Carl arrived at Wattle Beach he was regularly being judged on his last name because the name Matt supposably carried a curse as most of Carl’s family were bad people and carried a bad reputation for that people did not like him. Carl thought that he didn’t belong or fit in as he felt that he was nor a local or a visitor/tourist. Carl didn’t feel that he had a safe place like a home or a family to return to at the end of the day.
During the end of the book when Carl works on the Duncan’s barge for the first time he feels that he has a purpose that he belonged, it gave him a reason to get out of bed, to save the barge. He couldn’t explain it, but he loved working on the barge and how it made him feel alive. Much like how Carl felt at home with the Duncan’s Carl proved to the people that didn’t like him at first that he wasn’t a bad person that he didn’t carry a bad reputation. Carl felt that he’s valued by others, that he’s not being used unlike at the start of the book where he was rejected and unwanted which made him believe that he didn’t belong. Carl changes greatly with his sense of belonging from the beginning of the book to the end. Carl feels safe and at home with his non-biological family, the Duncan’s which were like a family he wanted but never had, who like Justine really likes Carl for who he is and doesn’t care about his social standing or what other people think of him.
Carl is an awkward person who doesn’t socialize well with others as he often closes himself off, all Carl really wants is to have a nice, close friendship and to be loved. Along the way Carl finds the meaning of true friendship and what it means to be cared and loved. At the start off the book Carl finds it hard to express his feelings and emotions instead of socializing and communicating others he keeps everything to himself, bottled up. Carl was highly antisocial and shy he would try to avoid any social interaction, he wouldn’t talk to people his own age he would follow them around pretending to be invisible, he played dead.
He was afraid to de judged and made fun of if he stepped out of line. He often wanted to be invisible like a concrete statue with no thoughts, no cares, no pain As Carl matures he opens up to people, he shows his feelings, emotions and speaks up for himself, making it easier for him to make friends. At the end of the book he makes friends with Maddie and Justine who really care about him and show him the importance of being loved and cared for, who makes Carl feel that he is a part of a friendship. At Justine’s pizza party people who typically ignore Carl take an interest in him and asks about the barge, Carl would usually avoid these situations, but instead he stays and talks, which was a huge milestone for him. Carl tells Justine that he wants to be alive that he doesn’t want to play dead anymore. At the start of the book Carl was shy, awkward and lonely. Carl would hide in the corner viewing everything from a distance, avoiding socializing with people afraid to step out of line. Carl changes a lot though the book Carl makes friends, he opens up to people and expresses feelings which help him socialize with others. Now cares less about what other people think of him, instead he focuses more on himself. Carl is now a part of friendship he’s no longer a loner or an outsider
Carl changes drastically throughout the book, with his friends helping and encouraging him he now has a positive body image and is much more confident with himself and how other people view him. Carl now feels that he belongs to a true friendship and family, that he is wanted and not rejected or neglected. Carl is no longer an awkward, loner who doesn’t socialize with people, he is now the complete opposite he finds it easy to make friends, he is comfortable and enjoys talking to people he doesn’t know well. In conclusion the Carl we met at the beginning of the novel is entirely different to the person we meet at the end. In A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove Carl’s character and personality evolves for the better as Carl matures he shows his emotions, he opens up and shows the world that he is not afraid that he doesn’t want to “play dead” any more, Carl wants to be “Alive”.
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