Tom Brennan

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The novel The Story of Tom Brennan by J. C. Burke demonstrates the inevitable reality that individuals must sacrifice their comforts and the safety provided by the old world in order to satisfy unmet inner desires. Burke cleverly depicts this concept through the symbolic gesture of the Brennan’s “Closing the front door of their home for the last time.” Through the use of precise timing, “4.30 am on Friday the 23rd of January,” coupled with the first person narrative allows a reflective and melancholic tone to be established, reinforcing this concept of sacrifice of the status quo. The fact that Tom was forcibly removed from his old world (Mumbilli) hints that he has left behind his family and friends in order to seek a portal to a new world (Coghill). Thus the notion of sacrifice can challenge the experiences of moving into the world and change an individual’s attitude towards the physical and emotional change that comes with sacrifice.

To an extent Burke also cleverly depicts the concept of misconceptions by introducing Tom as a mentally frail individual who is unable to overcome his brother’s “f*** ups.”” I curled myself into a little ball, hid my head under my knees and let the darkness suck me into its belly.” Through the use of personification, Tom’s isolation from rest of the world is captured negatively evoking empathy from the audience. It is not until later in the novel that Tom’s story is revealed and he is referred to as “a strong individual who is not afraid to hide his past.” Thus, by Tom building a greater understanding of his new world, his experience has challenged his attitudes and beliefs. Also, Tom’s relationship with his family was a major turning point within the novel. Tom builds a greater relationship with his grandmother, Daniel, his dad, Brendan and Kylie ultimately allowing him to build a greater relationship with himself. Tom’s shift in attitude has allowed him to progress into the world and ultimately challenged his current...
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