Textual Analysis of "While I Live", John Marsden

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"While I Live" by John Marsden is a compelling novel that contains themes of love, hostility, tragedy and responsibility. The main character is Ellie Linton, who has just returned from being a guerrilla soldier in a recent war involving the invasion of Australia. Now returned she is faced with issues over education, confused feelings of love between two characters, her adopted brother and the continuing fallout from the war.

John Marsden is able to demonstrate changing perspective as a result of experience, using the character Ellie Linton, and her experiences after the war. A change in perspective can arise form a variety of events or situations that can range from minor interactions to major interactions. For Ellie this involved her journey as she returns form the war and settles back into everyday life. Ellie decides to make the best of what she has and learns to love life and enjoy every moment she has.

At the beginning of the novel Ellie's perspective on life can be seen when she describes the most important aspects of it as "fun, pleasure, recreation and enjoyment." This shows her positive outlook on life that soon changes as a result of an early disaster that leaves her parents dead, and the responsibility of the farm, her brother and her own education all up to her.

Ellie soon becomes depressed and doesn't take responsibility for all she has been left with. Ellie develops hatred towards life in general and this negative outlook is unproductive and after talking to her friends Ellie realizes that she has to appreciate life for what you have. This demonstrates the power of persuasion as a tool for changing perspective. Ellie then learns to cherish what she has and soon regains her initial positive outlook and appreciation for life. This is demonstrated when she says "All I can do is keep living, moving forward everyday I can. Lots of days its three steps forward four steps back but if at the end of every month I'm a step or two ahead, well I'll settle for that." This quote demonstrates her changed attitude and therefore changed perspective on life itself.

A number of techniques are used to demonstrate Ellie's change in perspective throughout John Marsden novel "While I live". Marsden uses humor throughout the novel to keep it simple and appealing to the audience this is demonstrated when one of Marsden's most popular characters Homer says, " some people swallow a dictionary, you had to swallow a thesaurus". Humor keeps the novel informal and Marsden's use of colloquial language also helps to keep this tone. An example of colloquialism from the text includes " we'll pick 'em up," this appeals to the reader as they are able to identify with the slang used by the author.

Throughout the novel a variety of themes are produced and these can be related to Shakespeare's play "Othello". Both texts share themes of love, tragedy and responsibility that are used to portray the writer's message. Both texts involve the death of a loved one that is close to the main character and both deaths effect the main character to a large extent.