Inspiration – By Reagan Tao 9K

I stood on the peak of the hill overlooking the city and vast mountainside that stood behind it. In that moment, as the magnificent sunset tinged the sky with a molten glow, the warm glow of nostalgia gradually engulfed me like a summer breeze, drawing out memories hidden in the recesses of my mind. It had not been long ago when I had stood on a mountain peak, not dissimilar to this one with the person who inspired me more than any other: my older sister. She was always the kindest and most virtuous in a very crude world. In the past, my life had been set alight by greed, anger and corruption, but my sister was the only spark which could illuminate the darkness.

Having no parents of our own, we were raised by a distant aunt who constantly managed to find a number of caretakers for us, all of which shared the same cold, gloomy disposition. Whenever I had attempted to show any affection to these stony-faced guardians, I was met with a baleful stare that left me cold for hours on end. My aunt was exceedingly rich so I was sent to an elitist school full of braggarts and idiots who I loathed for their upstart attitude towards those who did not share the same privileges and knowledge as them. Naturally, I was their primary target, turning my life into a living hell. Having found my life bitter and depressing, totally void of almost any form of kindness, my sister Annette was truly the only love I had ever known. Even as I search for words to describe her I falter, for I know that any words I could muster, however heartfelt, could never do justice to the image I wish to portray, for although my life was difficult, Annette shouldered so much more.

The aunt who gave us a home was family by the loosest definition. We had only ever seen her once when she came to tell us about our parents’ passing, leaving even before the tears could well up in my eyes. Annette looked after everything from cooking to washing, our custodians acting as mere watchdogs.

It was only when Annette turned eighteen that the house we lived in was given to us to look after. Suddenly, all of our needs were paid for out of Annette’s own pocket, and our aunt and cold-hearted caretakers vanished out of our lives forever, leaving without so much as a whisper or a word. However, Annette persevered, her fortuity of spirit filling me with fervour unlike anything I’d ever experienced. She was adamant that I should continue my education, disregarding all other issues as she urged me onwards. In spite of her galvanization, seeing her work her fingers till the knuckles bled harrowed my heart to the point where it bled just as her fingers did. All of these acts were selfless beyond imagination, but it was the fact that she would still exert herself further to help feed the poor and assist the elderly that truly depicted her as a model of virtue unsurpassed by any other in my eyes and all those who beheld her.

Many years passed and finally, after completing my arduous education in law, Annette took me hiking up onto the peak of this hill on a steep, winding trail as a reward. After the agonising hike I had playfully named the hill Heart-Attack Hill, wondering how the blazing fire that burned my lungs could be considered a reward. Nonetheless, reaching the peak was truly worth the pain it had cost. The journey had truly been breathtaking in the most literal sense of the word, but the sight of the sunset was breathtaking in a way that was impossible to articulate. While the sunset I gazed upon now turned the cloudless sky a molten red, the sunset on that day seemed to colour the sky with thousand different shades of red and orange, reflecting off every cloud to create a myriad of spectacular golden jewels in the sky. When compared to that sunset, even an aurora’s beauty seemed paltry and flamboyant in comparison. Though an aurora is majestic and scintillating, its beauty is ethereal, almost alien, as if we were given a glimpse of heaven itself. This sunset was different. Although not as ostentatious as an aurora, its allure lay in its simplicity and power, seemingly lighting up the core of my being and letting the warmth spread throughout my body in a unique way that could not be rediscovered.

However, the true reason for the feeling of ecstasy that coursed through me on that day was in the sense of triumph I underwent. The journey was finally over! I had went beyond my limits, both physically and mentally, standing on the brink of success and in the end I went hand in hand with the person I cared about most. The mountain and Annette had inspired me. Annette had been the person who pushed me through my life, being the anchor that held me in place whenever I was washed away by the current of despair. Now I had reached the summit and the clouds tinged with gold by the sun were the golden steps that I would walk on to ascend to greater heights. It was all thanks to the people, places and things that had inspired me and there would never be a way which I could repay the debt I owed my sister. In my heart I know that I would sacrifice everything for Annette, but for me, she would give up so much more.

Warrior by Matthew Ung

I stand alongside my comrades, my fellow warriors. As I look around me I see nothing but flat, low lying land and the opposing army approaching. Looking up, I see the sun’s rays streaking across the sky. I feel violent winds whistling past me. This would be a glorious battle, where I will either die honourably for my king or reign triumphantly over the opposing soldiers. My eyes lay fixated upon the army, rapidly approaching towards me. I hear the grumbles of soldiers eager to start fighting.

I hear small whispers turn into loud screams, as the opposing army begins to charge at our front lines. I begin to rush forward holding my shield in my left arm and my sword in my right arm. As I approach an opposing soldier, I swiftly raise my shield, blocking their first strike and in return I send a quick slash across the waist. Blood begins spilling from him, drenching my clothing. Ignoring the person I have just murdered, I continue to charge, mercilessly slashing down each soldier as he approaches, not stopping even if they are begging for mercy. My mind lays focused on the glory and honour I will receive after the war.

A day has passed since the fighting had begun, however the war is far from ending. Both sides have received countless casualties. Either side could triumph in this battle. I slowly rise from my resting place, ready to continue fighting. I draw out my sword and raise my shield. I rush towards the enemy’s front lines, slashing ferociously off their heads. I see laying sprawled on the ground, begging for mercy. I chuckle at the sight of such a pathetic fool. They beg for mercy, yet merely a few minutes ago they were attacking me with the intent to kill. I stomp on his hand until I hear him screaming violently with pain. I laugh at him, mocking him for his weak disposition. Satisfied with myself, I decide to end his life, killing him with a quick swipe to the throat.

Now the war has gone on for weeks. I feel exhausted, barely able to move. There are very few soldiers left who are able to fight. Both armies have suffered numerous casualties. The war is going to end soon. In the distance, I see a white flag swaying in the wind. I realise that the opposition has finally surrendered. I am overcome with the feelings of relief and joy. My desire for honour and pride has finally been satisfied.

I lift my sword up triumphantly, but as I look around, I see no one else celebrating, instead they merely stare at me intently with a strange look in their eyes. Around me I see nothing but numerous dead corpses. I smell the putrid smell of rotting meat. When I finally attempt to find my friends, I come to realise that not even one of my friends has survived this wretched battle. I begin to remember the countless people which I have murdered and tortured. I remember the feeling of blood covering my body. The memories begin to bring shivers down my spine. I no longer understand my identity. Am I a monster in human form or is it human nature to crave destruction? I don’t even know the reason for this war, but I still just blindly went for the so called glory which came with victory, but this victory isn’t glorious. It is not glorious to take the life of a fellow human being, it is utterly despicable. I realise that war is an atrocity, which should never be enacted. I realise that humans are merely monsters in disguise.

Macabre Family- Reagan Tao 9K

The wind whistled sharply, sending sand flying in every direction. His surroundings were barely discernable through the sand and dust blanketing the area. His eyes were gritty from lack of sleep, most of his clothes reduced to rags from his trek across the desolate wasteland. However his trench coat was sturdy enough to withstand the harsh climate so he continued, hoisting a sack which rattled with each step. The work had to be finished and apart from that, nothing else mattered. However, his mind did dwell on three figures despite his efforts to forget. His beautiful daughter and son were remembered with love and affection, but that woman filled him with a far different emotion. It was at that precise moment, with the rays of the blazing sun beating down and the sweltering hot air howling around him that an old memory gradually engulfed him like a thick fog, obscuring everything but the feeling of nostalgia that overwhelmed him, and these memories were tinged with the flavour of bitter hatred

The day off like any other, with him heading off to work after bidding the family a tense farewell. Life had always been peaceful for his family and they had been happy together. This was why he could not fathom how a single quarrel had turned into this. He had rarely lost his temper back then, but occasionally there were… incidents, which he would awake from without any memory of, as if shaking away a nightmare. But the fact was that this nightmare did not end.

Even now, he could recall little of the events of the night, but one thing was clear. When he had awoken from his stupor, fear was present in the looks of both his wife and children as they nursed a bloody wound on the side of her face. Despite all this, there was nothing which could have ever prepared him for the sight that awaited him at home. Work had continued late into the night and when it was finished, he returned home to find an empty house. His wife and children were gone and anything which would have shown they existed had vanished without a trace.

Anger tore through him like a hot blade, slowly plunging him into the depths of despair. His whole life had been unravelled by an event which he could not even remember! However, after he had gathered himself, he sold his house and all his possessions, ridding himself of the weight of the past. Work became more than just an outlet, it became his life. As a puppet-maker, he had always had passion for his work, but now every one of his creations was not a mere object, it was a person. The losses left scars in his heart which he did not mend. Instead they were used to put more humanity into his work. When the money he had gained from selling his possessions ran dry, he turned to friends to provide him with the funding necessary to continue his craft.

However, it was only when you were at your lowest point that people showed their true colours. They had turned him away with excuses about money, or family troubles. However, he had seen the looks in their eyes. It was the same look of fear that he had seen in the eyes of his wife before she left, taking away everything that held any meaning in his life with her. As for why, he could not imagine. Anger had merely been a response to his loss, and before the tragic incident there was nothing he had done to deserve such treatment. Showering her with gifts and affection now seemed foolish as she had taken them with her but left him behind without a thought. There was nothing which would stop him. They would soon come back to him and before that inevitable outcome; he would finish his masterpieces. As long as his creations were completed, friends, lovers and even family were but bumps on the road to perfection. After all, what he did now he did for his children and they would soon thank him for it.

Coming to an abrupt stop outside of his workshop he smirked. Fate had truly smiled upon him when gifting him with this workshop. The structure was flimsy, resembling an average shed while the inside was spartan and dank, but it had been cheap and it was robust enough to hold all his work so he was content. Frowning at the sudden headache that had taken a hold over him, the man withdrew a tube of medicine from his grubby pants and shook a handful of the pills into his hand, not even bothering to look at them before tossing them into his mouth. The doors to the workshop slowly creaked open.

The sack was dropped onto a work bench as he looked around marvelling at his own work. The faces of the puppets mirrored the faces of people in almost every way. Indeed, had he not crafted them himself he would not have been able to see the difference. In fact, they were almost better. They did not feel pain and they could never betray others like that woman had to him.

Whenever one was finished, elation would surge through him, but in truth, they could not yet be called perfect as they were but paltry imitations of his final goal. The masterpieces that stood in the back of his workshop were his crowning achievement. What were humans or puppets when separate? The two could only shine when put together into something that could truly be called mechanical perfection. Combining the beauty of humanity and the passion of puppetry could only be achieved by him: the one who had stood on the precipice between them and survived. This was why these magnificent dolls could not be matched by any of their predecessors.

The door of the cupboard slowly swung open without a sound, silent as a grave. Inside it stood the three wonders which had taken him so long to complete. A mother and her two children, more lifelike than anything he had ever imagined. They were held erect by wires that were threaded through their joints, but their skin was pale and their figures too thin for his liking. Oil leaked out of where the wires were threaded, which shone a dark crimson and their expressions did not reflect any of the bliss he had felt while forging them. Nevertheless, they would still change expressions when needed and their realism could not be doubted. He sighed heavily.  It could not be helped. They would have to be improved. The doors closed with an ominous boom which was accompanied by the barely heard sound of weeping. A satanic smile lit up the man’s features. After all, they were his family.

Hypertext Fiction: The Rope, the Stars and the Night Sky

Album art from Swans – My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky

Constricted breaths fill my lungs with water, starved of oxygen, a shrivelled inner body cavity burning with acid. Oxygen, oxygen – a gasp and a shrill cry emanate from my core. The noose, wrapped around my neck, renders me a weak child, scrabbling for life that has been lost.

The deep blue of the ocean water fades to a deep black before my eyes, the chroma fading into anachronism. My cannibalistic throat makes me weep in pain and cry out in despair. The mind of a lunatic tells me that the water that I am drowning in is an ocean of my tears, but I cannot admit my sorrow. Thrashing against the invisible forces, I cannot admit what I have done. Inhaling water with desperation, I cannot admit that I am here.

I cannot admit it.

I am dead.

The noose loosens and my leaden arms grasp it, for whatever remains within my soul tells me to hold onto the last scrap of my existence. It lifts me, propels above the sinking depths to the sky above. The sweeping waves below dissolve into spittle as the mouth of the ocean snaps shut below me. I narrowly escape its scathing white teeth, lifted into the sky above.

The rope above me is rising into a milky mass of bright stars with a cerulean tinge, surrounding by a black emptiness. Absurdly, I think of one of the stars as my life extinguished like a candle, the rope guiding me to a final farewell. The other stars are all alive, continuing in their ignorance, and despite not knowing how long, they too will one day fade to join the blackness.

The light of the world dries my skin as my lungs breathe a sigh of release. My pale mottled fingers adjust, still clenching the rope ascending above into the unknown. Ignorance is bliss; bliss is ignorance. A star never has to think, or reason, or feel alone, or be afraid. A star is just a light in the sky, just part of our universe. People want things. People make me feel sick.

Despite the unreality of the situation, a burning question sears through my mind: Am I here because I am different, or because I am the same?

The stars coalesce into a stream as coloured dots form before my eyes. Above me, there is a living galaxy of colour, childish smudges forming a central brightness that threatens to envelop my vision. The quiet rustling of the surging waves is overshadowed by the chaotic music of the planets. Deafening high-pitched ululations penetrate my ear drums and rattle my brain inside, forcing each of my fingers to slowly separate from the rope.

My senses overwhelmed, I can no longer hold on.

I fall down into the night sky.


Note: This is a hypertext fiction reply to Will’s post Wata/October 2014.

Reading Will’s post last week and its inspiration reminded me of My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky, and ‘Oxygen’ from To Be Kind by experimental rock group Swans, released this year. Similar in its minimalism and ambiance, but with a heavier and more progressive structure, music by Swans never fails to elicit some sort of personal response within me. Amid the disorienting dissonance of the instruments or the fevered yells of Michael Gira, there is some intrinsic beauty to be found.

Though perhaps not as much of a direct influence, drowning also reminded me of Patrick Ness’s More Than This, one of my favourite novels, where the protagonist drowns and wakes up to find himself in a new world. I really enjoy how Ness connects with lives through his writing, and is truly able to empathise what would drive someone to commit suicide and then to rediscover within oneself a capacity for enjoyment of life. I have attempted to emulate his style in understanding the human psychology through deep depression and supernatural occurrences.

Within the chaos of life, there is the peaceful emptiness of death – an alternative available to those who sink into the depths of depression, but ultimately acknowledges that you come to nothing. The conflicting, chaotic final moments of life are an accumulation of noise and life experiences, followed by silence. After life, you are everywhere at once, part of the universe, and simultaneously nowhere and no longer in existence. But really, we can never know.

I hope that wasn’t too depressing. Sometimes I wish I could write happier things.

Poem: Cerulean Shroud

Image source:
Image source:

Yesterday was like one of those days,

But it wasn’t.
It was unlike none of those days.
But it was.

It began with an overcast sky,
A huddled figure.
His mouth veiled behind a cerulean shroud,
Eyes staring upward at the darkening sky, fixated.

His eyes were the colour of the sky,
His heart the colour of emptiness.
A dull grey, a shade, not a colour,
A meaningless ink of nothing, filling the void.

The grey woollen clouds above him,
An overcast sky that darkened the sun.
The drops dropped, a trickle becoming a drizzle,
Yet the man simply stood still.

The figure was surrounded, not by people,
But by the white noise.
Like silence but not empty, the downpour was there,
His internal and eternal emptiness.

The rivulets of rain trickled down his face,
Like his own rivers created by his eyes.
Yet, nobody could see him crying,
Or know that he was, because it was raining.

With a dampened spirit, and dampened clothes,
The man stood, unrelenting, against the rain.
As a deep booming from above punctuated his thoughts,
A flash of Hephaestus’ creation flickered in front of his eyes and through his mind.

His temper flared, filled by rage and hatred,
A flare of red against the darkness of the sky.
Again the blinding white, splitting crack of Zeus’ thunderbolt,
Uncontrollable anger and passion coursed through his heated blood.

The sky began to clear, his sudden anger subsiding,
He gazed up into the calmness of the sky.
The clouds began to disappear, as if nothing had changed,
As if there had been no rain or thunder.

He was overcome by a sudden calm,
As the sun began to filter through the diminishing clouds.
Filled with sudden elation, a genuinely happy smile,
Formed beneath his cerulean shroud.

The refraction of light created a spectrum of colours,
A beautiful rainbow of his inner emotions.
Who he was and what he felt,
All captured here by the hues of refracted sunlight.

Every day, he would wake up,
And he would know the weather.
Some days it rained, sometimes it was sunny,
And yesterday had been all of the days combined.

Yesterday was unlike any of those days,
But it wasn’t.
It was like all of those days.
But it was.


I wrote this poem a few months ago, originally to attempt to understand what it would be like to live with bipolar disorder. However, it could also be interpreted as the fluctuating emotions that we all experience throughout our lives. We often see the weather as portraying emotion, but in the poem, the weather mirrors the narrator’s emotions. I like to think of it in a similar manner to Charles Kinbote in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire; we are creating our own meaning, instead of seeing what is actually there. 

A science fiction story – Jason Li 9J

This is a science fiction story I wrote some time back.

The cold night air flew through the park, brushing past leaves and stung on my exposed face. The flickering of the light was the only thing that broke the eerie silence of the night as I sat on the bench staring into darkness. The trees slowly swayed in the night air as If they were hypnotised. I watched dust on the path swirl around. I turned to my right, half expecting my old friend to be there but he was not. All that my my gaze was the top of a bin and nothing else. I wearily sighed as I remembered how cheerful these nights once were; now even he was gone.

A crack brought back my senses. I looked up to see the colossal but hundreds of year old tree behind me was collapsing. I scrambled to get out of the way but I couldn’t. My muscles froze up. My lips felt dry and as I opened them to scream, no sound escaped my mouth. I couldn’t move. I stood there, staring at the face of death and closed my eyes as the tree When i regained consciousness the last thing i remembered was the pain which was now strangely gone. Was I alive or was I dead I asked myself when all my other senses flooded in. I realised in was in a bed.

What was this place?

I opened my eyes slowly to see a bright light. The room i was in was illuminated by an unknown light source. The walls which were as white fresh snow in sunshine came together with perfect precision at the corners and edges. Sitting up, I realised the room was unnaturally quiet. A loud hissing noise caught my attention and as I turned around I noticed a door which i didn’t even know was there opened. Stepping outside, I saw a cavernous round room with many other rooms like mine.

A window caught my eye and I rushed to it. Outside was a city. A city made entirely from a white material. The city stretched beyond the horizon, I could see a complex grey road system connect the superstructures. The city rose high above the cloud layer and into the burgundy sky which made the white walls glow a gentle shade of the oddly coloured sky. The city seemed to almost follow a template. The same layout repeated over and over again but despite the beauty. Every road was empty, not a single person. There were no visible life forms.

I sat down on another white bench pondering. The city was a nut with only its shell. Devoid of life but everything intact.  I entered another corridor and followed it through to a much larger structure. The building was much larger than the one I had first stumbled into. This one rose high into the sky and the roof was closed in a dome, perfectly round and decorated with various styles of painting and gemstones. The entire dome seemed to radiate with colour which was a nice change rather than the monochromatic tone of everything else.   I noticed a few humans chatting to each other. Excited, I ran up to one greeting them and introducing myself.

“Finally, some humans!” I said to them

“Hello there. Why do you seem so surprised to see us?” One of them said

“I haven’t seen a single soul for ages and I don’t know why there aren’t much people in the streets”

“Oh, they’ve all gone to see a spectacular supernova. It is not far from here, just a few light years. They say another like it won’t happen for a long time. We stayed behind because we don’t like travelling on spaceships.” He explained. “The city is more densely populated near the centre. You can come with us if you want.”

“Am I dead?” I asked.

“Of course not!”

“Then where is this? Where am I?”

“Earth, 3045.”

The Action Genre – Jason Li

A short introduction to the film genre ‘Action’ and a comparison for the movies ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘The Bourne Identity’ (Spoilers)

The Action Genre *Spoiler Alert*

The word genre didn’t appear until film historians looked back at films which had been created and found certain patterns and similar traits. Genres are films which can be grouped together because of their similarities. Films of the same genre will usually share similar storyline, and the same symbolic and technical codes. There are many reasons why a filmmaker would choose to make a film. Two main reasons are as a form of art and the other is to create revenue and gain profits. If for example a type or genre of film is put on sale and it attracts large amounts of revenue, other filmmakers who wish to generate similar or more amounts of revenue will be more inclined to follow the same patterns of the genre in hope of achieving same success. An example would be movie sequels, usually the original creates much revenue so a choice is made to continue the story; sequels are usually in the same genre.

One genre which has been of much success and popularity is the Action Genre. Like all genres, action films will usually share similar patterns and conventions. Many sub-genres have appeared within the Action Genre such as spy films and action comedy-Most films classified as action try to keep the audience engaged with many things going on such as car chases, situations in which the hero is thrown in which are almost impossible to escape from, extended fight scenes and large explosions. Some other common traits and conventions of the characters and locations include: Not realistic but still believable storylines, a protagonist who is a fairly ordinary person but discovers or has incredible powers, innocent people being dragged into the conflicts, plot twists, exotic locations to further ‘spice up’ the film which are all techniques to keep the audience excited and interested.

The two films viewed in class which were Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Bourne Identity are classified and fit well into the Action Genre. The two films both share most of the common patterns and conventions of an action film and examples will be further provided in the following paragraphs.

Raiders of the Lost Ark was a film which was released in the 1980s period which was a big time for films especially action. The film features a college professor and archaeologist by the name of Indiana Jones who is forced to find the ‘Lost Ark’ before the Nazis and is forced to travel from locations such as Nepal all the way to Egypt. This Indiana Jones film follows almost all of the common action film traits. Raiders of the Lost Ark like most action films have fast paced chase scenes. Indiana Jones is a fairly ordinary person and a professor in a college but is able to pull of incredible feats of strength and succeed in seemingly impossible situations (one man versus the Nazis or hanging onto a moving truck and accomplishing feats which would be extremely difficult or dangerous in our modern world). In the film, towards the end of the movie, Indiana Jones is forced to climb onto a moving truck and try to wrench control from the original owners to try take back the Ark. This scene includes fast paced cuts and Indiana is even able to be thrown underneath the truck, climb out from the back and is even shot but he still survives. His former girlfriend who was originally not willing to help Indiana is also dragged into the action and is placed in many life threatening situations but she and the antagonists always come back in plot twists. A majority of the film is also set in Cairo which being in Egypt, not much was known about Egypt at the time so it seemed like a distant and exotic location, ideal for a fast paced action film. Raiders of the Lost Ark is also not short of unarmed and armed fights and in one the classical ‘tough bad guy’ appears and Indiana Jones is forced to use other methods to finish him.

Bourne Identity was a film which was released much later than the Indiana Jones film. Even though the film was released in 2002, it still follows all the conventions and patterns that Action Films follow. The plot is not exactly realistic but still believable such as the secret agency. It allows us to suspend our disbelief that an organization would actually do the things they do, or if they actually will. Jason Bourne who is a government agent and Marie who is a seemingly innocent person who is also pulled into the fray also find that there is much more to what first seems through plot twists and is also not short of car chase scenes and extended armed and unarmed fights. Bourne Identity also features exotic locations such as Zürich and France.

The protagonists and antagonists of action films usually also share similar traits. Protagonists in action films are usually able to perform tremendous feats of strength sometimes without themselves knowing they could. They tend to be able to survive situations where many would otherwise be unable to such as the protagonist Jason Bourne surviving being shot and thrown around in the ocean and Indiana Jones taking several beatings and almost run over but survives the ordeal. A protagonists’ main role is to keep the action moving and trying to not bore the audience by accomplishing such actions. They also tend to not come out on top from the start but eventually through luck or outsmarting their opponent, defeat them (Indiana Jones being able to outsmart a Nazi mechanic and after being almost beat, Indiana finishes off the mechanic. Antagonists however, are to pose as a hindrance and obstacle to the protagonist. Antagonists in action films tent to return from the dead many times or somehow always manage to keep the protagonist distracted from their original goal by forcing the protagonist to battle them. In Raiders, the antagonist can be the Nazis in general, the rival archaeologist or the German agent who tries to steal the vital medallion. All of these as a whole attempt to hold back Indiana’s original task of trying to find the Lost Ark. Although Indiana is able to accomplish his goal in the end, he encounters the antagonists many times which keep returning. In Bourne Identity however, the antagonist is primarily the CIA which sends its agents to eliminate Bourne. Jason’s objective is to discover his true identity and how he lost his memory but the CIA keeps attempting to finish off Jason for his earlier failure. In both films, the antagonists are fairly similar in their roles to slow down the goal of the protagonist. The protagonists however, have similar traits but in Raiders, Indiana is more of a classical ‘hero’ who has humour and is less complicated in his backstory. A character like Jason Bourne from Bourne Identity is more common in modern action films. He has a complicated backstory and he tends to be more serious and less willing to talk things over. Indiana propels the action forward through his personality and the situations he is thrown into. Jason propels the action forward through the mystery of this character and how he reacts to more realistic situations.

Both films fit into the Action Genre well but they still have many differences whilst both having the patterns of an action film. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is more of a classic action film. It ‘spoon feeds’ information and the storyline follows a straightforward arc. The events are in chronological order and there are not many areas in the story where something is ambiguous (early scene with the government agents talking with Indiana, what the Ark is told to the audience directly. In Bourne Identity however, the plot assumes that you have prior knowledge of the environment and organisations. The Bourne film doesn’t spoon feed information and events are not necessarily in chronological order forcing you to think over what just happened in more detail such as the flash backs and why he has the traits he does such as his martial arts knowledge. Both films fit well into the Action Genre but still have their differences. Both are a unique in their own way and perfect representatives of an action film.

“The Flute family is made dysfunctional by the harsh rural landscape and time they live in.” – Jason Li

An analytical piece for the essay topic above.

Sonya Hartnett’s Thursday’s Child is set in the time period where the Great Depression was highly prominent. This time period in which money was scarce and employment was difficult to obtain along with the arid and exhausted plot of land in the outback the family is forced to live in have undoubtedly resulted in the Flute family becoming dysfunctional. Dysfunctional families are families which do not function well or as they should. A dysfunctional family can develop as a result of many reasons; stress and dependency on alcoholic beverages are just two reasons, both of which are demonstrated in the novel.

The time period of The Great Depression in which the Flute family lives in is a key factor in pushing the family into a state of dysfunction. Due to the low demand for workers, money was even scarcer and any opportunity for work would have been quickly accepted. This left those with wealth in great power over the general public. Devon who was the oldest son always wanted to purchase a pony despite the poor living conditions. When Vandery Cable visited and offered a labour intensive job to thirteen year old Devon, he “nodded eagerly, his dark eyes shining.” Despite the somewhat generous offer of an occupation, Devon at the age of thirteen has already begun to attempt adult tasks. Devon was given unsatisfactory training and soon sent back with no pay whatsoever after allowing two pigs to escape from his poorly constructed fences. Vandery cable was a wealthier individual and saw that Devon’s parents were away from him so no protection could have been provided. Cable had the opportunity to pay Devon but he chose not to and acted on his vulnerability and willingness to work given the difficult times. This further renders the family dysfunctional. The time of The Great Depression meant males as young as thirteen years old were forced to look for an occupation and those in power are able to manipulate those without it. Devon in this case was used for manual labour, given no payment in the end and would not have known what to do in such situation due to the fact of no proper role models around. This experience would stay with Devon for a prolonged period of time and due to an absence of role models, Devon’s learning curve was hampered greatly.

The Flute family’s despondent and arid plot of land given by the government is another of the defining features that result in the family becoming dysfunctional. The land is unfortunately depleted of its nutrients as the narrator Harper describes, “Our land’s exhausted,” which means farming is extremely difficult and farming successfully to be self-sufficient is even more of a challenge than what is already is This resulted in the Da and Devon being forced to trap rabbits for the food and attempt to sell them despite the countless other   people who also have rabbit pelts. Being unable to produce a sufficient and reliable income, all of the Flute family is greatly affected. As a direct result from the exhausted land in the rural landscape, the parents are left with no money to provide for basic needs. They are barely fed with killed rabbits, the children are forced to leave their schools to take up family work and basic necessities such as clothing are failed to be paid for which all result in a high stress level of the parents; a major reason in dysfunctional families forming.

As a direct outcome of the harsh landscape and the time of The Great Depression, the usual family dynamics were thrown off balance. Older children in the novel were forced to take up the roles of their parents. The environment around them turned the Flute family into one without proper role models and children forced to take up responsibility in order to survive.  The narrator Harper Flute herself states that she “understood that my mother and father were gone” and that “Audrey and Devon had become all I had.” Her parents were gone because of trauma caused from the landscape around them. Harper states that her parents were no longer the same and seemed like they had lost their physical presence after the shanty falls and the youngest daughter Caffy dies from falling into a well.

In Sonya Hartnett’s novel Thursday’s Child, the Flute family is made dysfunctional as direct consequences of exploitation of children, trouble sustaining basic needs and family dynamics becoming thrown off balance. The Flute family was left without role models, reasonable income and an inability to properly function. From the conditions of the landscape and difficult times the Flute family lives in, the family is no longer able to properly function.

Antonio’s Soliloquy – Jason Li

This is a short scene designed to go between William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice act 1 and act 2.

Enter Bassanio, Antonio, Lorenzo and Gratiano

Antonio: My friends, by all means feel welcome,

Be seated and may the table be filled,


Gratiano: Ah, Cheered up have we,

Thy complexion grows fresh; the stale is no more,

With that same cheerfulness co-


Lorenzo: Yes, shall we feast now?


Antonio: We shall, tis a shame the Jew refused mine invitation,

For all should experience the livelihood of dinner.

30 minutes later

Gratiano: Many thanks Antonio, ne’re succumb to misery

We take our leave and return later


Bassanio: I have business with Antonio,

Fare ye well Gratiano, Lorenzo

Exeunt Gratiano, Lorenzo


Bassanio: Signor Antonio I pray thee, that foul animal,

He will doth much more.


Antonio:  Ha! Worry not. Bassanio, leave me to be,

For I need not sympathy.


Bassanio: As you please, ah! May I speak once more?


Antonio: Certainly friend.


Bassanio: I am grateful. The Jew mutters to himself,

He reeks of spite, time may be forgiving,

Speak to the Jew, I leave thee in peace.

Exeunt Bassanio

Antonio: I must ponder my misfortune with haste,

The mistake I have made is far too large.

The deed was not intended for myself,

Will my wealth ever return to mine hands?

The conflicts that may arise at sea,

Leaves me in a place of anxiety,

Bassanio, you will lead me to death,

The outcome that the future holds scares me.

My argosies must be swift and return,

To Venice. Or I will bear this Jew’s brunt.

Now, these Jewish dogs have mistreated me,

They have battered and bruised me to the bone,

They will have robbed me of my precious wealth,

We Christians have to bear the burden,

Of Jewish usury that deprives us,

He is my one and only enemy,

This Jew may take my flesh but not my faith,

I call him a dog and do so again,

Bassanio, thou hast disabl’d thy estate,

Now thou hast mine life thy hands,

For I was blind agreeing to the terms,

Of a deed that now threatens my life,

But what good are friends without hearts,

Whatever my dear friend Bassanio desires,

I shall be there to act his will,

My dear Bassanio, my dearest friend,

But thou hast sailed to fair Portia and Belmont,

I pray thee return to me, I hazard all I hath,

For thou love. Am I wrong?

Hast mine prayers been unheard?

Oh please bring light to my word,

My world in eternal darkness,

A world where you, Bassanio are the light.



Written by a friend:

It’s the middle of the night and I’m so gone. I can hear the creaking of my bones; they scream of agony and burden and oh, feel so damn heavy. The crevices of my mind are laced with whispers and thoughts that spiral into waves that wash over me again and again and it’s pulling me down, pulling me out, and I’m so lost. It’s past two and I can’t keep those fucking tears away, even though they wash away the dust gathered around my eyes (all hollowed and tired), the clock nearly strikes three. I can’t do it anymore.

It’s that feeling again; it’s seeping through the cracks of my walls, my heart and trickling down my veins and throats and cheeks until all of a sudden I can’t breathe. It’s pressing against my teeth; my tongue aches with words spelt on the roof of my mouth longing to spill out into incoherent pleas and my lungs are filled with such sadness that I want to forget how to breathe. I wonder if I keep trying, maybe eventually I’ll choke on this feeling and perhaps then it will go away.