The osprey in the novel 'A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove' by James Moloney is a shiny key to understanding Carl. In many ways the osprey is a mirror image of Carl, in its appearance, pain and suffering, recovery and how it is set free. If you can unlock the secret of the osprey you can see the real Carl.
The image of the osprey is remarkably similar to that of Carl's, it was a -large bird, brown and grey, its head covered by a canvas hood. (p74)- This matches some aspects of Carl's body and personality. Carl was a large boy, miserable like the colour grey and he was shy like a hood was covering his head, because he did not want to see what people responded to his body. -he was ashamed of his fleshy bulges(p42)- what if little kids pointed at him opening their mouths with an innocent- hey mummy look at the whale(p42)- each time a remark like this was directed at him he was humiliated and hurt.
Carl seemed to be in constant emotional pain, he was hurt by many people who should be showing him love and affection, especially his mother Kerry Matt. Kerry was mentally ill, she could not control it-Kerry lost herself. Just didn't come home from the supermarket. (p4)- Even though Carl new his mother was ill he could not help wonder if his mum loved him -what are you doing here? You're mucking up my life. I can't stand it! (p5)- He asked others if they new the answer, afraid of his own answer becoming the hurtful truth.- "Does she love us?" "Christ I suppose soÃ¢ÂÂ¦ I mean who's going to love you if your own mother doesn't?"(p60)- with more evidence guiding him towards his answer pain strikes him once more in the unfamiliar surroundings of Wattle Beach which is where he meets Joy Duncan. In many ways this is like the ospreys journey of pain and suffering, with its broken wing beginning it adventure, then finding its way, coincidentally, to Joy. - A ranger found him further up the island and bought him down to me. Damaged wing. Shotgun it looks like. (p75)- Joy seemed to notice and understand the wounds hurting Carl and the osprey, both physically and mentally. -he'll have to stay with me a little while yet. Give his wing time to recover properly (p75)During his stay at Wattle Beach, Carl receives help from his new found friends, Skip, Maddie, Joy and Justine. Coincidentally these were the same people that helped the osprey. Joy and Justine seemed to have the most influence on both Carl and the osprey. Joy helped Carl by being like a second mum to both him and his younger brother Harley, by showing Harley the love he should have had a long time ago- it's alright Harley we'll make another one" she said trying to best her smile(p131)- Joy was also like a mother to the osprey. She fed it, made a home for it and kept it safe. Justine was also significant to the change in Carl. She made him feel welcome, important, and special. Justine changed the way Carl felt about his body, telling him they were stupid for always covering their middle area with their "sausage fingers" or clothing. She always joked about her weight - aren't you going to charge me I take up more room than a truck. (pp199)- Justine was the first person to notice the progress in Carl's recovery. Not just physically but mentally. -I think Carl is losing padding, though. What do you think Maddie? (pp182)- He began to become louder and more ope, with confidence brewing inside him, he began to unravel the blanket covering him. -it would be a pity to miss the ospreys first flight(pp177)- both the osprey and Carl were making progress, opening up, ready for a new beginning, it was coming.
Carl and the osprey were able to free themselves from the horrible blanket that was covering their heads.-Carl was afraid to breathe. The weight of the bird and its piercing gaze was enough to freeze him here forever." Now Carl. Set it free." (pp193)- At this moment in the book both the osprey and Carl felt free at last. -My name is Carl Matt M-A-T-TÃ¢ÂÂ¦what do you think of that? (pp281)- Carl was free. Free of his worries, free of his fears. He could let go of his sorrowful past and be alive just like how the osprey let go of its painful past and began to fly once again. The way the osprey spreads it's wings and takes its first beat against the wind symbolizes the emotions rushing through Carl when he finds out his mum truly did love him and Harley.
The journey of the osprey mirrored Carl's personal life. Although both of these characters were different they shared the same life experiences. Together they recovered from their pain and suffering. Joy helped each of them free themselves, they, in a sense were one. Both were suffering as a result from others actions. Carl was hurt by his mothers choice to abandon every once in a while, even though it was only for a few days it still hurt him inside. The osprey was hurt by hunters. They received help from the same people, Joy and Justine, and they were freed with Joy as their witness. These are the little similarities that make the osprey significant to the novel.