The Children
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The Children. Wendy Catherine Sylvia Yoyo. Author&Plot Overview. Characters Analysis. Text Analysis. Q&A. Author&Plot Overview. Awarded t he Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society Received t he Patrick White Award Became a Member of the Order of Australia.

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The children





Author&Plot Overview

Characters Analysis

Text Analysis


The children

Author&Plot Overview

  • Awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society

  • Received the Patrick White Award

  • Became a Member of the Order of Australia

The children


  • A carrier — skilled

  • “With the dexterity of a man who did it every day,…” (P227 line 15)

  • Honest & Responsible

  • “ I’ m not making excuses.” (P227 line 14)

  • “ But nobody need worry, I’ll pay! I’ll pay for it all the rest of my life.” (P227 line 20)

The children


  • Mental anguish

  • “he said with tight lips” ( P227 line 19)

  • “frowning and withdrawn” (P228 line 23)

  • “He was facing me now, and looking very much, in his immobility, a part of the great background of desolation.” (P227 line 29)

  • “well, people don’t think enough”(P227 line 27)

  • “But what’s the use of talking?” (P229 line 23)

  • “What your paper says isn’t going to make anybody think any different now.” (P229 line 31)

The children

Characters Analysis

  • No regret

  • “there isn’t another bloke in the world would have done anything else.” (P229 line 33)

  • “but I’m still no worse than anybody else.” (P229 line 35)

  • Shame

  • “He made a gesture of indifference…It’s the children.” (P228 line 14)

  • “I should be shot” (P229 line 34)

  • “He close his eyes and shivered.” (P230 line 31)

  • “I waited, while he closed his eyes and shook his head slowly from side to side.” (P230 line 40)

  • “Yes, damn my soul!” (P231 line 9)

  • “His shame was painful to witness.” (P231 line 16)

The children

Characters Analysis

  • Objective

  • “We know the dailies never tell a straight story.” (P227 line 13)

  • Considerate

  • “I could think of nothing to say which wouldn’t sound offensively platitudinous.” (P228 line 25)

  • “I waited, while he closed his eyes…” (P230 line 40)

  • Sympathetic

  • “It was the most unhappy assignment I had ever been given.” (P228 line 26)

  • “I had an impulse to ask him…,but restrained myself. His shame was painful to witness.”(P231 line 14)

The children

Allen’s wife

  • Emotional

  • “She jumped as she caught sight of me, and in an instant the door banged…” (P228 line 18)

  • “she can’t face anybody.” (P228 line 21)

  • Don’t want her husband to risk his life

  • “But the wife grabbed the wheel.” (P231 line 6)

The children

  • Writing Strategy:

1.Keeping silent (saying a few words)——ecaping from the matter.

2.Talking more(interrupting the reporter’s words)——wanting to pour out his bitterness.

3.Asking questions(“You know, don’t you?” (p229), “What would you expect me to do?”(p230)——looking for the same feeling from others.

Using dialogue

●moving the plot along

●making up the character

  • Allen’s changes in theconversation:

The children

The narrator of the article


  • ● Being more objective

  • ● No author’s view

The children

Text Analysis

  • 1.“Blacken and blistered,”(p227)

  • The proof that he did try to go back to the school, but the fire was too big to do that.

  • 2.“Charred boots, burned patches on his clothes, signed eyebrows, blistered face and hands…”(p228)

  • Proves that what he says to the reporter “ I had the truck flat out and headed for Wanga… I got into my head there was nothing else to do but cremate the lot, truck and everything in it…”(p231) is true.

The children

Q:Why couldn’t Allen bear thesight of his own kids?

A: Because when Allen saw his own kids, he would think of the children who died in the fire.

Q: What happened in the story?

A: Just as Wendy said.


Q: Why did his wife bang the door at the sight of the Weekly journalist ?

Q: Who died in the fire?

A: Because in the novel, Allen said his wife couldn’t face anybody.

A: The twenty school children.

The children

  • My view:

An ordinary person


A hero

The children

  • Q: Why did Allen squint at the narrator with frank hostility?

A: The lie was villagers thought that he drove the truck not because he wanted to save the school children but his own kids.

Allen thought that there were plenty to blame besides him: the Forestry Commission, the Education Department, and everybody in the Burt’s Creek and Yileena.

A: According to Allen’s saying: “Another newshawk.”(p227 ), we could know that after the fire, there may be a lot of journalists go to Allen’s home and ask questions about the fire and Allen’s choice. Having received villagers’ blame and journalists’ malevolent questions, Allen was hostile to them.

Q: What was the lie?

Who should be blamed for the fire according to Allen?

The children

  • Q:Why didn’t he go back to Wanga to save the school children?

A: We do not think there was any chance to save the children even if Allen turned back, because the fire was everywhere, the smoke is everywhere, no one could save any children under that circumstance.

Because there was fire everywhere even in the truck when Allen went back to save the children, but his wife disagreed and grabbed the wheel. Then, Allen gave up to go back.

Q: Was there any chance even if he turned back to the school?

The children

  • Q:How did Allen explain for his saving his children first? How did everybody see it?

A: We don’t think Allen was selfish, because that is human’s instinct.

In such a situation, we may do the same thing as Allen does.

A: On his way to school, he saw that there was smoke showing at the back of his house, and there was no smoke showing in the school. Beside, the wind was in the north-east, he had a good truck and there was a fair track right through from his place to the school. So, he went to his home first.

But the villagers thought Allen was selfish and he ignored the children’s life.

Q: Do you think he was selfish? In such a situation, what will you do?

The children

Thank You!