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Compass and Torch Notes

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    – Device for finding you way
    – They don’t have the compass – Can’t find a way to work their relationships out


    – The torch could signify that they can ‘see’ how they want their relationship to be but because they do not have the compass they can’t get their.

    Other Notes

    ‘ with bleached end-of-summer grass, bruised here and there with heather and age-old spills of purple granite’ Very descriptive but the boy doesn’t take notice of it. (Boys detachment from nature occurs throughout.)

    – Is the detachment from nature because of a troubled family life? (Mum and dad divorcing,arguing) or is it just because he is interested in his dad?

    ‘He is watching the man’ – Trying to understand how a father behaves, what a father is. Dad is introduced as ‘Man’; ‘He is watching the man: the way he strides to the gate’ – Shows that the the relationship between father and son is not ‘close’.

    However changed to dad in ‘The boy is intent. Watching Dad’ – Veering from the ‘man’ to ‘dad’ – The boy is unsure.

    ‘The boy misses a breath’ – When dad almost gets something wrong the boy is worried – Hero-worshipping, Idolising Dad, Trying to believe that he is this ‘perfect’ human and that his mum is wrong about him.

    ‘I brought my torch!’ – The boy seeks appreciation from his Dad (hero)

    ‘Mad, was calling it, as e knew she would’ – Very common for children to be caught up in disputes between divorced parents. To constantly here contradicting views on events/actions that involve children etc.

    – ‘ I found my torch’ – Torch is mentioned a lot through out – Boy possibly finds comfort in the torch.

    ‘Forced himself to put the torch into Jim’s…hand’ – The torch is reserved for dad? Only him and his dad can really experience the torch’

    ‘Oh, says dad, good ‘good’ – Referring to torch – Dad is distracted through out. Takes little notice of the boy ( Some people have said it’s because the dad is nasty) – I think the dad is concerned on making the experience so perfect that he is ignoring/distracted from his son. You can want something so much that you end up ruining it.

    ‘Seared by the flitter of anxiety in the boys eyes’ – Dad is nervous, has forgotten how he should react or possibly is embarrassed that he hasn’t been their for his son – Can’t get over it.

    ‘As a warrior might carry his sword’ – Dad is a ‘warrior’, again hero-worshipping. ‘Neither man nor boy take much notice of the horse.’ It is extremely unusual for an 8 year old boy not to be fascinated by a horse, or even not show attention to it. This highlights dads coldness towards emotions – And possibly that the son may become cold like his father.

    ‘Ancient Rocks glint like heaving carcasses asleep’ – ‘Carcasses’ and ‘ancient rocks’ could refer to buried memories and things left unsaid. ‘In which he and his father will be two men’ Again Idolisation. Wanting to be a ‘man’ like his dad. ‘shoulders slumped and the tent in his hand dropped back onto the boot floor’ Dad shows that he has messed up – Highlights the fact that dad is trying to make the trip perfect. – Son is only worried because his dad is.

    lines 103 -119 – Quite a depressing recount of when dad meets Jim. ‘Jim also-
    horribly – felt sorry for dad’ Is quite strong in the way that it makes you empathise with dad.

    Referring to the boy getting his arm through the bag – ‘The man notices this, and it makes his chest twist’ – Dad/Man showing some emotion – ‘chest twist’ – An acute sense of love.

    line 131- 134 – Possibly ideas for what the horse represents

    Horse represents the child being ‘pushed away’ constantly by his dad. Every attempt to be noticed is unintentionally or intentionally ignored? The horse could represent the mother – Nosing about, watching, seeing how the trip is going – That’s why dad doesn’t want her there. The horse, like mum, mocks dad with her ‘bright-red arse’

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