Explain how you were shown that this idea was important in EACH text
Child neglect is an important theme in the short stories “in the Rubbish Tin” by Apiranna Taylor and “Big Brother, Little Sister” by Witi Ihimaera. The theme in both texts is illustrated in a similar manner. The use of strong imagery, figurative language and symbolism were used to show the idea of child neglect. Through the use of these techniques, the author seems to address the mainstream issues of violence that faces young adults in New Zealand today. Nice clear introduction.
In the short story, “Big Brother, Little Sister” by Witi Ihimaera, the author illustrates the idea of child neglect through the children, Hema and Janey. In the story the children are running away due to their mother being so occupied with her new boyfriend. The mother is no longer able to look after them because she would rather spend time with her new boyfriend than spending time with her children. Hema and Janey feel insecure about this fact, as this idea is expressed by the narrator when he explains “….everytime Mum walked out the door, the kids felt as if she was leaving them”. Due to this insecurity the children run away, and Hema the older brother looks after Janey the little vunerable sister.
The audience was shown the idea of child neglect through the use of figurative language. Hema protects Janey as a result of forced responsibility due to child neglect. This is portrayed by the use of an extended metaphor of a bird. Janey the vulnerable little sister is likened to a feeble and defenseless bird. For example, “A car screamed at her heels and slashed her with light as she fluttered into her brother’s arms. The extended metaphor is further supported by another metaphor “Janey, clutched Hema tightly, she was like a little bird seeking his shelter” This effect is cunningly used as it furthermore describes the authority and responsibility, of the older brother Hema, and therefore describes the importance of child neglect. An interesting point but it needs to be explained. How does the extended metaphor do this?
Ihimearas’ use of negative connotations were to used to create strong imagery to describe the violence and hate that fills the childrens’ life, as they are felt insecure and neglected. As the children walk through the city they are bombarded with violent images. For example, “….from a movie billboard a grim-faced man pointed a gun at them. In a television set shop a woman was being stabbed to death” This image reminds them of home, due to violent fathers. To many, this specific image explains that media has portrayed many negative ideas which infiltrates common youth.
In the short story “In the Rubbish Tin” by Apiranna Taylor, the author illustrates the idea of child neglect through the small girl, Phillipa. She has been locked out of her home while her selfish mother is getting drunk and her abusive father is at work. Phillipa is therefore a victim of cruel circumstances, she is then unable to escape from an environment where she lacks attention and care that a pre-school needs. With a predictable really?? sad ending, Phillipa spends her birthday in a rubbish tin sheltering from the rain, “Once inside the rubbish tin she pulled the lid down and sat in darkness” as the story ends.
The audiences were shown the importance of child neglect, by the Apiranna Taylor through the use of symbolism. The rain is an important symbol as it represents the lives of both Ruth who is Ruth? and Phillipa, their attitudes and feelings towards the world they live in. Ruth and Phillipa have two outlooks on life. Ruth on one hand does not enjoy life – she drowns her sorrow and trouble by drinking profusely, and misusing drugs. “Who gives a **** about the rain” she exclaims when the rain starts to fall. Ruth does not care for the rain or her life for that matter, she shows up her miserable attitude by this response. Dissimilar to Ruth, Phillipa has a happy attitude towards the rain, “let’s play in the rain” she calls to Chubby. Phillipa’s response to the rain illustrates the symbolic meaning of the rain, its representation of both Phillipa’s and Ruth’s life. Additionally the rain is an important symbol as it furthermore represents the tears of desperation that fall on the community. It has already come to the attention of the community that Phillipa is mistreated, as we know that she has been in a foster home previously. The community however is burdened with all of its own problems and sorrow to such a point that it can no longer hear the calls of Phillipa. Likewise the rain falls on the “Rubbish Tin” in a literal sense drowning out the calls of young Phillipa, these tears of the community stem from its inability to help and its negligence to act.
Both these short stories illustrate the importance of child neglect through the use of techniques such as: symbolism, strong imagery and figurative language. The importance of the idea of child neglect is that fact community and media are negligent in the manner addressing issues of violence especially within unstructured communities.