Homer . The Iliad and The Odyssey. These stories date from around the 8th century BC. Myth, legend, history. Paris takes Helen from Sparta to Troy. The Greeks lay siege to Troy. Why go?. Money and glory. Will my name be remembered?. Achilles ... Priam ... Hector .
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These stories date from around the 8th century BC
Money and glory
Odysseus ... Patroclus ... Agamemnon
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?
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?
Imagery of the natural world
Rivers, fish, birds and insects
How does the natural world react to this epic war and these epic characters?
Elemental imagery (fire, water, air, earth)
3 – 4
114 – 115
140 – 141
151 – 153
What effect does water have on the characters?
How are the main characters similar to water?
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?
ii. ‘Despite the violence in Ransom, the reader is left with a sense of optimism.’
It is a brief overview ... sprinkles on the top
Part one ... It will be ok
Part two ... Something new (Somax)
Part three ... Balance
You know a lot about these ideas already!
A warrior should be brave, bold, strong, fierce
“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”
“The voice this man is listening for is the voice of his mother” 3
“When they look at him (Achilles) these days, what they see confounds them” 29
“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
“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
“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
“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)
As Malouf says, “A man’s actions follow him wherever he goes in the form of a story”
“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)
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.
“Ah there’s many things we don’t know, sir. The worst happens, and there, it’s done. The fleas go on biting. The sun comes up again” 135
“What creatures we are, eh, sir? So much life and will then, pfff, it’s ended” 131
Look very carefully at what Somax says and what he thinks.
His wisdom and “native wit” are in many ways the catalyst for change in the novel.
... I think Malouf might be giving us a hint.
(Achilles’ grief for his mother)
“She bore the name Beauty – and very appropriately too, it seems, which is not always the case”
Read the novel again!
Start memorising quotes
Read over all of your class notes and handouts
Write some practice essays under timed conditions
The person behind the image
Gender roles and expectations
Breaking with tradition or convention
The importance of the natural world
Chance, fate and divine intervention
The power of stories
The beauty and horror of life ... balance
“He is as fouled with dust as the thing – bloody and unrecognisable – that he trails from his axle-bar” 34
“He is their leader, but he breaks daily every rule they have been taught to live by” 29
Fierce Proud Tortured
Grieving Longing Afraid
Sullied Ashamed Desperate
“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
“Holding in his head all the roads that lead out to the distant parts of the kingdom, he feels them at times as ribbons tied at the centre of him” 43
Disciplined Loved Haunted
Grave Vulnerable Afraid
Child-like Trapped Bold
“A man needs to be practical about things” 121
“But the truth is, we don’t just lie down and die, do we sir” 131
Proud Tender Considerate
Perceptive Unremarkable Honest
Affectionate Strong Resilient
“Tears ... oh, I have plenty of those. But not of grief. Of anger, fury, that I am a woman and can do nothing but sit here and rage and weep” 51
“You have your own sweet ways of getting around me” 62
Determined Powerful Frustrated
Tender Enraged Elegant
Controlled Furious Wise
She is the only person who knows Priam the man
He is vulnerable with her
Their relationship is tender and beautiful
Priam is aware of her great power
They know each other well, but this event shows that they don’t know everything about each other
Achilles feels that Patroclus is “half himself” (Patroclus dies in Achilles’ armour)
Their bond is profound, they were raised together
Patroclus values honour and is deeply saddened by Achilles’ refusal to fight
His death haunts Achilles – it is the source of immeasurable grief and guilt
Somax learns that his great king is as “innocent of the world as a naked newborn babe, and just as helpless”
Somax teaches Priam about the simple pleasures of life
The two men, from opposite ends of the world, have more in common than they expected
Through them, Malouf shows that some things are universal ... grief, love, doubt etc.
This is a most unlikely relationship – Priam shares a meal with his greatest enemy, the man who killed Hector and defiled his body
Achilles mistakes Priam for his father Peleus
The two are tied down by grief and obligation – they feel the incredible burden of leadership
This meeting brings balance to them both