Tuesday, 5 March 2013 Themes in Destroying Avalon 1. Define the term ‘theme. ’ * Underlying message portrayed/explored by the composer in any body of work. * Composer’s intended message. Theme| Elaboration| Evidence (technique)| Explanation| Link to social issue| The negative influence of social hierarchy | Unequal distribution of power determines status, whether it be in a group or society. (Pg 48)“Alice and the bitches rule the school … [A group]… B group … relatively friendly bunch… considered cool… C groups … freaks and retards …[Z group] “weirdos and queeros” (pg 40)- Accumulation (listing)-Connotations | In the novel Destroying Avalon, McCaffrey positions Westerley High as a microcosm for greater social inequality within society.This is clearly evident in the opening sequence of the novel when Marshall, through accumulation of groups and sub groups poignantly outlines the existing social hierarchy “Alice and the bitches rule the school … [A group]… B group … relatively friendly bunch… considered cool… C groups … freaks and retards …[Z group] “weirdos and queeros. ” Here, McCaffrey’s careful use of diction highlights how language stigmatizes individuals.
A key example is the connotations of the word “queeros” which affects both Marshall and Tamara, though Marshall more drastically, who eventually falls into depression followed by suicide. Youth depression Bullying| Isolation and alienation | Those who are viewed as different by their peers are ostracised and excluded from their social groups. | (pg 53)“Well our team is really good. And Alice is the captain, so if you know what’s good for you, you might want to leave now. ”-threatening tone(pg 45)A: “What position do you play? ” … Av: “Anywhere … goal attack … shooter, centre, whatever” … A: “you can be the wing defence” … Av: “I might as well have sat on the bench… no one passed me the ball”-dialogue/direct speech-Tone-Connotation(pg 44)“It really worried me I wasn’t sure what reason anyone would have not to like me.I hadn’t done anything wrong- though it felt everything I did was wrong. Why don’t they like me? ”Use of first-person| The novel demonstrates the isolation and alienation of several characters.
Many people are ostracised by their peers and usually this leads to sever depression. McCaffrey uses this isolation of the protagonist, Avalon to give a first person point of view on what really happens to someone when they are alienated from a group or bullied by others. “It really worried me I wasn’t sure what reason anyone would have not to like me.I hadn’t done anything wrong- though it felt everything I did was wrong. Why don’t they like me? ” The continuous use of the first person language is to make the responder realise the different thoughts that the character is going through and how the issue of depression begins to kick in. The tone of the antagonists really highlights the way they incessantly condemn and undermine others. During their hockey tryouts the threatening tone of Courtney is shown when she tells Avalon that “our team is really good, and Alice is captain, so if you know what’s good for you, you might want to leave now.
The use of “if you know what’s good for you” in reality is telling her that she is positioned under Alice and the bitches in terms of a hierarchical system. It then goes on to say “you might want to leave now” indicating that no matter how hard she tries to fit in Avalon will always be harassed and discriminated against. This build up of thoughts, anger and depression is a toxic mix as we see eventually Avalon snaps and she loses Marshall who is one of her most dearest friends to suicide. Discrimination Bullying Harassment | The misuse of technology Importance of friends and family| Technology is used for malevolent and devious acts that have fatal consequences. The influence of family and friends can often provide people with helpful information. | (117)”If only I had done more”Marshall’s mother “But he did find comfort in his friend’s”| The use of technology hinders the reality of many characters in the novel. McCaffrey demonstrates how the internet is a place that can change a person’s real personalities into a disturbing contradiction.
Throughout the novel the victims who suffer from bullying constantly are to be comforted by friends, who play an integral part in their fight against bullying. Once the loss of Marshall became evident his mother depressingly said “if only I had done more” not only did Marshall’s mother know about what was going on, she did not what do inflict damage on Marshall by telling teachers. Later at Marshall’s funeral we learn the importance and comfort friends give to him ” but he found comfort in his friends” shows how important his friends were during his time of despair. | |