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The Story of Tom Brennan J.C Burke

Learning to drive. Underage drinking/excessive drinking. Car culture, speed. Youth fatalities. Football culture. Family, friendships and relationships. Accident or death in your school or community.

explore and analyse texts used in a specific situation

Increase understanding of the ways in which texts communicate information, ideas, bodies of knowledge, attitudes and belief systems in ways particular to specific areas of study

explore a variety of texts that deal with aspects of growing up or transition into new phases of life and a broader world

respond to and compose a range of texts that illustrate different pathways into new experiences

examine the features of texts that shape our knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about individuals venturing into new experiences

http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_hsc/pdf_doc/eng_stg6_prescrpt_09 12.pdf

Stage One: Introducing the module, elective and the context.

Stage Two: Exploring the prescribed text.

Stage Three: Related material and assessment.

Stage One: Introducing the module and the elective.

Discussion of module and elective requirements. Definition and synonym activity using key words from the rubric. Brainstorming examples of experiences related to growing up. Reflective writing: Students reflect on a period that marked a transition of their own.

Looking at Context

In the drivers seat RTA Resource - Road safety education program for Stage 6 English. Section 2: What pedals are pushed? The power of the text. Section 3: Who is in the back seat? The hidden persuaders. Authors context Writers Talk 2007 J C Burke discusses her background, beliefs and approaches to writing (TaLe).

Stage Two: Exploring the prescribed text. Exploring Toms Transition Into the World

Chapter Four The Prologue

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Seventeen

The Prologue
Down, down we glided in silence.

Link to Into the World Language features and effect

4.30am closed the front door of our home for the last time No one spoke Down, down we glided in silence

Setting The change in setting acts as a catalyst for a new view on life and new opportunities/experiences for Tom. The adverse effects on the development of his character if he was to remain in town are alluded to past the ugly words that told us we were no longer wanted (page 1). The time (4.30am) adds a sense of secrecy and also implies that the characters can not live their life in the town with any sense of normality. Narrative Person My name is Tom Brennan and this is my story (page 2). Told from Tom Brennans POV introducing him as the narrator for the rest of the story. Clues the reader into the idea that it is his experience and we will learn much more about his character; his grief, personal hardship and sense of guilt regarding the accident his brother causes. Creates an empathic tone, drawing the reader in. Images Metaphor - Down, down we glided (page 1) symbolic of the decline of the familys reputation in the community.

The Prologue Student Activities for the Prologue.

A conversation between the townspeople upon discovering the Brennans had left Mumbilli.

A monologue from the POV of another member of the Brennan family.

Focus questions on the Prologue.

Chapter Four
I hated the past, and yet I hated the present nearly more

Chapter Four shifts between the present and the past. A trigger such as a photo, memory or phone call results in a flashback.

Present Brendans shed and tractor repair place. Brendan is not too wellknown to Tom. There is secrecy/shame surrounding Brendans homosexuality. Tom spies a photo of his brother and mum. Matts email, Toms reply, Aunty Kaths voice on the answering machine.

Flashback The night of the accident The unexpected move undertaken with speed and secrecy. Fin in hospital

Areas for focus.

Chapter Four

Flashback to the night of the accident. Page 51-52

Toms email to his best friend Matt Page 58

Examine in relation to the attitudes and belief systems expressed.

Focus on how these communicate meaning to the reader through the use of language techniques.

Matts reply Page 59

Aunty Kaths phone message Page 60

Chapter Four

I strode down to the sheds, trying to clear my head and find the exit door to that black tunnel. But I could never find it. Page 52

The silence that followed hurt like mad. The thing about this pain was that it was always there, but these encounters sent it peaking before it settled back to a constant dull ache Page 56

At least our home in Mumbilli had given us some kind of sanctuary, some silence for our private guilt Page 64

I wanted to eat the words (of the email), make them my sustenance for the emptiness gnawing at my guts Page 59

Brainstorming a response

Chapter Four

Toms feelings towards his Grandmother.


Symbolism of the black tunnel.

Anger Toms anger at not having an opportunity to say good bye to his mates before leaving Mumbilli. Look particularly at Tom and Matts emails.

Toms realisation that things would never be the same. Pain

Discuss how the constant dull ache of Toms past and the difficult transition to a new place inhibits his growth in Chapter 4. The impact of the flashbacks triggered by reminders from the present on Tom.


Chapter Twelve
Growing resilience

Chapter Twelve is structured around a speech that Toms sister gives at school which reveals the familys past to everyone in Coghill. This plunges Tom back into a depression and he becomes angry. That is, until he realises that many people in Coghill already knew and had respected the Brennans privacy.

Tom also begins to see the softer side of his Tom realised that, with grandmother and there the support of his family and friends, he is ready relationship grows.
to move forward and leave the pain of his former life behind.

Maybe I was finding my ticket out of the past.

Chapter Twelve

Consider how the actions and language of these characters reflect their attitudes and belief systems.

Selected Focus Questions

Why is important to Tom that he puts together the scrapbook for Daniel? What does it symbolise for the brothers? What is the effect of the simile with each memory I touched I felt it again that pain, like a sledgehammer slicing though your heart (p165)? One of the major themes of the novel is the importance of friendship in helping individuals to overcome adversity. What do Jimmy and Rory reveal that shows that they are true friends to Tom? Describe Toms physical reaction to the news of Kylies speech. What symbolic action does Toms father take at the end of the chapter that signals the end of the Brennans connection to Mumbilli? How has Toms relationship with his Grandmother started to change in this chapter?

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve The Setting

Coghill What opportunities does this change in setting offer Tom? The Secret Pool Explain the importance of the symbolism of the water. Toms New Bedroom What nickname does Tom give his bedroom in his Grandmothers house? How does Toms attitude towards his room change and what does it symbolise?

Mumbilli The original setting of the novel is described by Tom as bleeding. What is the effect of this metaphor? What is the tone of the flashbacks that describe Mumbilli? Provide quotes to support your argument. What does the setting of Mumbilli tell us about Toms experiences there and what he has to overcome to venture into the world?

Chapter Seventeen
Accepting that adversity can be overcome just another hill to climb in my journey...

In Chapter Seventeen, Tom demonstrates a growing awareness of his own journey/transition into the world after being cast into the shadows by his brothers actions. This awareness is influenced by those around him.

PLOT POINTS IN CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Tom admits he is able to look at everything with a bit of distance p238 after witnessing Brendans tears. The rugby game (before and during). Chrissy rescuing Tom.

Chapter Seventeen
Analysis of Language Features
SYMBOLISM DESCRIPTIONS USED TO DEPICT TOMS PHYSICAL RESPONSE TO THE TAUNTS AT THE GAME. -Quote an example of an adjective and simile. Analysis each quote. -Why might this incident adversely affect Toms ability to move forward? Chrissy appears, rescuing Tom from the game. She guides him out of the volatile situation. Her intervention also results in a positive ending to this chapter. Chrissy is Toms Lighthouse Man. -Find a quote from Chrissy that illustrates her showing empathy for Tom. -What does Chrissy symbolise in terms of Toms future ? MOTIF THE HILL Look back at the Prologue. The description of the cars descent down the hill as the Brennans leave town represents the decline of their reputation in the community. The hill motif is used in Ch 17, but with different connotations. -Find a quote describing the game against St Johns as being a metaphorical mountain to Tom. -What does this quote show us about Toms growth since the Prologue?

FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE AND TONE The first person narrative account in the early chapters creates an empathic tone and draws the reader into Toms emotional turmoil. However, in Ch 17 we see Toms maturity and growth develop through his narration. Toms view of the world shifts, an overall positive tone indicates Toms progress towards successfully moving into the world. Find three quotes that demonstrate Toms shift in perspective. Analyse each quote.

Stage Three: Related material and Assessment.

Song lyrics: Father and Child Cat Stevens Lighthouse Man The Waifs Students explore a variety of texts that deal with aspects of growing up or transition into new phases of life and a broader world Novel extract: Breathe Tim Winton (Page 140-149)

Feature Article: Boys need not be boys forever Tim Martyn (www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aied=1792) Film: Into the Wild (Penn,2007)

Assessed listening.

Subject: An extract from Kate OTooles Triple J radio program Hack, How to Cope with Enormous Loss.

Questions relating to the mood, general comprehension, language techniques etc in the first half of the assessment.

Last question: In Module C elective Into the World Tom Brennan, like Jade Mills, coped with enormous tragedy and loss. Write an extended response discussing the connection s between Jade and Toms experiences, particularly how each found ways to move on and transition into the world. Refer to specific incidents in your discussion.

Acknowledgement of resources we found invaluable

http://www.randomhouse.com.au/Downloads/Kids/TeacherGuide s/TeachingSupportKitTheStoryofTomBrennan.pdf Top Notes: The Story of Tom Brennan Author: Vanessa Pilgrim www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2086588.htm In the drivers seat - RTA Resource Resources devised by Ms Rebecca Veitch, Mrs Peita Berzins and Ms Janelle Madden (Morisset High School, English Staff).