The Iliad and The Odyssey These stories date from around the 8th century BC
Why go? Money and glory
Achilles ... Priam ... Hector Odysseus ... Patroclus ... Agamemnon
How does the author create meaning? Shifting narrative perspective What Achilles thinks / What his Myrmidons think What Priam thinks / What his children think What is the effect of this shifting narrative?
How does the author create meaning? Characterisation Somax is wise. Somax brings balance. His resilience, love of life and simple affection inspire Priam and Achilles. His beautiful story is dismissed by others. Why did Malouf include this character in the novel?
How does the author create meaning? Imagery of the natural world Rivers, fish, birds and insects How does the natural world react to this epic war and these epic characters?
How does the author create meaning? Elemental imagery (fire, water, air, earth)
Water 3 – 4 111 114 – 115 140 – 141 151 – 153 172 What effect does water have on the characters? How are the main characters similar to water?
Fire 26 - 27 32 – 33 40 – 41 167 - 168 212 - 214 Why does Malouf use images of heat and fire when describing warriors and acts of violence? How is rage similar to a fire?
Warriors are required to harden themselves for battle, both physically and mentally. Malouf suggests that in this state they become like animals, “unacquainted with second thoughts”. They put to one side their tenderness, their sensitivity and their compassion and act instead on instinct: they become men “whose blood is a roaring lion in them”. Malouf shows that this ‘heroic’ lifestyle comes at a price. When Achilles kills Hector, he does not feel satisfaction or relief; he is left “feeling hollow”. At the start of the novel, Achilles is struggling under the weight of grief and guilt - he has become “leaden limbed” and cannot free himself from “the clogging grey web that enfolds him”.
At the end of the novel, however, the presence of a God in his tent transports him out of the rough world of men and into his mother’s element, where he feels a “sudden suspension of his hard manly qualities”. Malouf uses images of water and floating to symbolise the maternal world, a place where men are “rocked and comforted”. In this world, Achilles lays down his burden and becomes “eel-like, fluid, weightless, without substance”. The author uses alliteration and onomatopoeia to emphasise the calming, healing qualities of water. When Achilles stands on the beach, he hears the “small waves slither to his sandalled feet, then sluice away with a rattling sound”. Malouf uses this aural imagery to create a lulling, soothing atmosphere.
13. Ransom by David Malouf • ‘Ransom demonstrates that it is a man’s actions that define him.’ • Discuss. OR ii. ‘Despite the violence in Ransom, the reader is left with a sense of optimism.’ Discuss.
This is not a substitute for ... • Writing practice essays • Going over your class notes • Reading your textbook • Talking to your teacher individually It is a brief overview ... sprinkles on the top
Contents Part one ... It will be ok Part two ... Something new (Somax) Part three ... Balance
Don’t be scared of this book ... You know a lot about these ideas already!
A king should be strong, decisive, regal, dignified A warrior should be brave, bold, strong, fierce
Priam is a great king, but ... “This king who is in his care, for all his grave authority, is as innocent of the world as a naked newborn babe, and just as helpless”
Achilles is a warrior, but ... “The voice this man is listening for is the voice of his mother” 3
“To be seen as a man like other men ... would have suggested that I was impermanent and weak. Better to stand still and keep silent” 53 “When they look at him (Achilles) these days, what they see confounds them” 29
“Only we humans can know ... what it is to be aware each day of the fading in us of freshness and youth; the falling away, as the muscles grow slack in our arms” 88 “He’s like a child ... or a man who’s gone wandering in his sleep and doesn’t know where he is or how he got there” 115
“We are mortals, not gods. We die. Death is in our nature ... and for that reason we should have pity for one another’s losses” 184 “It leaves a gap you can’t ignore. It’s there. Always.” 134 “Behind him he hears the small sounds Priam is making. They are wordless but he understands them well enough” 207
“What I remember of each one is how they kicked their little heels under my heart” 52 “It’s a terrible thing to see their little bodies all hot and tossing from side to side, and hear them gasping for breath. It seems like such a simple thing to a big strong fellow like me – a breath” 130 “The truth was that none of his sons was in that sense particular. Their relationship to him was formal and symbolic” 136
“We’re children of nature, my lord. Of the earth, as well as of the gods” 121 “Out here, if you stopped to listen, everything prattled. It was a prattling world” 126 “Small waves kick up, gather, then collapse, and new ones replace them ... and will do endlessly whether he is here or not to observe it” (6)
Scholars think that this story was told around ten thousand years ago.The world has changed so much since then, but it some ways, it hasn’t changed at all.
Part Two Something new
The story of Achilles and Priam is one of the best known stories in the world
Millions of people have heard of these men, their heroic actions and deeds ... As Malouf says, “A man’s actions follow him wherever he goes in the form of a story”
“He (Achilles) is waiting for the break. For something to appear that will break the spell that is on him, the self-consuming rage that drives him and wastes his spirit in despair. Something new and unimaginable” “The thing that is needed to cut this knot we are all tied in is something that has never before been done or thought of. Something impossible. Something new.” (Priam)
Enter Somax ... There is a new voice in this version of the epic tale. An ordinary voice. What that voice has to say is sad, but also tender, beautiful, wonderful and wise.