"Carl is the only character that changed throughout the novel, 'A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove' by James Moloney" Do you agree?

Essay by dr molbrayJunior High, 8th gradeD+, July 2008

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In the novel, ‘A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove’ written by James Moloney, Carl Matt changes throughout the novel; however, Carl is not the only character that changes. Many characters in the novel such as Maddie and Graham ‘Skip’ Duncan, but Carl’s changes are more noticeable.

Carl Matt is a character that changed throughout the novel dramatically. At the beginning of the novel, Carl was a shy, self-conscious, 15-year-old boy who is always trying to hide his body from the rest of the world. ‘Carl was not a swimmer. Despite the heat of those early January days, he rarely went near the water. He was ashamed of his fleshy bulges in front of the war-painted lifesavers and the little kids who might point him out.’(pge.37). Then when he met Joy Duncan he started to change. Skip Duncan gave Carl a job on his barge and that’s Carl started to believe it was not his fault, his grandfather; Des Matt ran over Skip’s son, Graham and hurt Skip’s leg.

Justine also helped Carl become more open and not afraid of his body image. ‘“Maddie’s right. We are hopeless,” Justine said at last. Snatching at the hem of her T-shirt with more fury than grace she tugged it over her head until she stood exposed… “You too,” she said taking a step towards Carl, as though she intended to strip his T-shirt from him.’ (pge.161). In the end of the novel, Carl realises he is not like the other Matt’s that ran away from their problems. “My name is Carl Matt. M-A-T-T.” (pge.231). However, Carl Matt is not the only character in the novel that changed.

Maddie Duncan also changes in the novel. In the beginning Maddie was a sulky, spoilt, selfish, 15-year-old girl, who was always letting Nathan Trelfo take advantage of her. ‘Carl saw then…When he looked again he saw that the sarong had fallen open, giving them all a clear view as the boy’s hand slipped inside the waistband of the blue bikini, his fingers emerging beneath the lycra to caress the top of the girl’s leg.’ (pge.28). When Maddie met Carl she started to open up and have fun. At her going away party, she started to stand up for herself with Nathan. ‘He looked at her, held out his hand. “Come with me, Maddie. We don’t have to stay here with this lot.” But he knew it was pointless.’ (pge.176). “I’m not coming Nathan,” she said…” After Nathan had left she really started to have some fun. ‘Across the room Maddie called to Justine, “What have you got left to eat? I’m starving” when the pizza came out of the oven, they took it downstairs…” I don’t think I’ve eaten properly for a week,” Maddie mumbled between bites… There was one piece left on the tray… “It’s yours, Jus,” said Maddie. “No, Carl can have it.” He shook his head … Then they all went for it at the same time, the girls shrieking.’ (pge.180). However, other characters changed in the novel too.

Graham ‘Skip’ Duncan was another character that changed significantly throughout the novel. At the start, Skip was very mean towards Carl and Harley for their grandfather’s incident on the beach 20 years ago. ‘The man laughed. “You’re keen, I’ll give you that. What’s your name?”…”Carl Matt”… “Matt!” The word exploded. Skip turned again to Joy. “Is this some kind of joke? You bring a Matt onto my barge; let him ask me for a job!”… “Get off my barge!” (pge.66). Once Skip got to know Carl he began to realise Carl was nothing like Des Matt or even Beryl Matt. He even helped Carl find Harley when he was lost at sea. “You have to find him. Harley needs you… “I’m not part of the mob,” he said at last ... “Help us Skip…You can find him.” (pge.129-130). I think that Skip grew quite fond of Carl and Harley. In the end of the novel, Skip welcomed Carl and Harley on his barge like they were part of the Duncans, not like Matts. ‘Joy didn’t hesitate. “Let’s go aboard,” she ordered. “There’s only one way for the Duncans to travel.” “And the Matts too,” Skip added.’ (pge. 239-240).

In many ways Carl was the most significant character that changed throughout the novel, however, he was not the only character that changed. Maddie and Skip Duncan also changed quite significantly. So, no I don’t think Carl was the only character in ‘A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove’.