Title. Things We Didn’t See Coming Otis does see these ‘things’ coming. His statements to his son suggest we did see them, we just didn’t care to do anything about it. . What are the ‘things’ we didn’t see?. Not the environmental and technological collapses: we are aware of their threats.
Title • Things We Didn’t See Coming • Otis does see these ‘things’ coming. His statements to his son suggest we did see them, we just didn’t care to do anything about it.
What are the ‘things’ we didn’t see? • Not the environmental and technological collapses: we are aware of their threats. • Perhaps we didn’t see the humanitarian disasters; the human repercussions and how the environmental and technological disasters would impact upon our relationships.
Structure • The unnamed narrator is a literary device used by authors to: • Encourage the audience to read it as ‘I’; to put themselves in the narrator’s place and read it from a personal perspective. • To create the sense that it could be anyone, anywhere.
Structure • Narrative arc: Things We Know Now and Best Medicine • Things We Know Now: Otis and the narrator agree to meet in a safe place in the forest. Otis holds the narrator; the narrator feels loved, protected, secure. • Best Medicine: Otis holds the narrator; the narrator realises: ‘…what I know now…’ is ‘…that it’s better here with him than anywhere I’ve been.’ Again the narrator feels loved, protected, secure. • TWDSCemphasises: despite the world’s turmoil, there is a safe place; not a physical location, rather an emotional one with his father.
TWDSC is a science fiction novel. • Best categorised as belonging to the dystopian fiction genre or the post-apocalyptic fiction genre. • Amsterdam writes about a future world in which our current social fears and issues (climate change, technological breakdown, lack of resources, disease) have become a reality.
The novel’s settings are irrelevant. • The various settings help to create the circumstances necessary to explore the human issues. • TWDSC deals with human issues regardless of the setting. • Indeterminate places and times shift the focus to the characters and their dilemmas.
How do we gain safety and security? • Taking it from others (Liz & Jenna) • By separating them the narrator can gain some financial security by selling the wine and rugs. • Finding someone to love (Margo & Juliet) • The narrator feels physically secure in his relationship with Margo, but emotionally insecure. • The narrator agrees to extra-union sexual relationships while with Margo to ‘protect his heart’. • The narrator believes a union with Juliet will afford he and Margo material security in uncertain times.
How do we gain safety and security? • Building community (Predisposed) • Surviving is more manageable when the burden is shared • Family love (Grandparents, Otis) • What We Know Now • The Theft That Got Me Here • Best Medicine
TWDSC asks: • What kind of world are we creating now? • What will really matter at the end of the world?(morals) • What should we expect and accept from our relationships? (physical or emotional security) • Is it better to survive coldly or die warmly? When and how in our lives might our answer to this change? • What is home and how do we find it? • How do we prepare for the future?
Exam Questions • Hope • Humanity • Love • Connecting with others
The narrator does not change. • S: Always searching for something • S: Always helping people • S: Struggles with the need to steal to survive • S: Conflicted and alternates between acting morally and selfishly
The narrator does not change. • C: An innocent boy to a tough survivor • C: Relies on Margo for safety and survival • C: Selfish and cunning to patient and tolerant • C: Thinks survival is more important than emotional security but comes of age; realises and accepts the truth of the situation • C: Motives for helping people change
The narrator does not change. • Ultimately: as the narrator’s physical world and being deteriorate, his reliability and emotional being strengthen.
The narrator loves Margo. • Offers him a sense of safety and protection • Feels desperate and lonely after Margo abandons him • Genuinely committed to Margo via their union • Willing to act immorally to please her • Margo is dominant in the relationship and exercises power over the narrator • The end of their relationship signifies a step toward liberation from a compromised existence
The narrator is trustworthy. • Often talks about sex but is looking for love • Tells us the truth about himself. • Keeps information from us. • Only looks out for himself. • Doesn’t have to be trustworthy, no-one else is.
The narrator dies at the end. • Ambiguous. • With limited information we must draw our own logical conclusions. • What is clear, is that he has made peace with his father. He has succeeded in making human contact under incredibly compromised circumstances. • The narrator realises the value of family and that the father/son bond cannot be broken.