PRACTICE ESSAY The novel “We All Fall Down” written by Robert Cormier demonstrates many of the weaknesses we all face growing up in our society today. These weaknesses conveyed throughout the novel, influence us as the responder with what many of us face in our everyday lives. Cormier expresses these weaknesses through the themes Alcoholism leading to isolation, obsession, vandalism/violence and revenge. By using these themes Cormier gives the responder a better inside view on each characters thoughts and feelings, showing how troubled they actually are. Also these themes help relate to our understanding of our western society today making us think, do we really know our neighbours? Or are we just too caught up in our own lives with making money that we don‟t realise what is going on right in front of our eyes? The weaknesses of modern society are demonstrated clearly by Cormier through the use of the theme alcoholism. The theme alcoholism really interacts with the theme Isolation; by the way Buddy uses Alcohol to isolate himself from the world. He uses alcohol as an escape from his real life and this soon becomes an addiction. Buddy (becomes) is in denial that he has an alcohol problem. Cormier expresses this view by using the technique direct speech in the quote said by Buddy to Jane “ But it‟s not a problem” Buddy insisted‟ Through this quote the responder develops an understanding of Buddy‟s outlook about what he thinks to be an „occasional drink‟. But really this isolates him from facing things in his life such as his parent‟s divorce and the guilt of the trashing. An example of Buddy‟s denial of his problem and reason for it is seen again through the technique Direct Speech for example, “Because the world is sometimes a rotten place and it takes away the rotten things…” Here Buddy is talking with Jane telling her why he can‟t give up drinking, but in fact the rotten things are what he has done like the trashing of the Jerome‟s House and also his family falling apart. The repetition of the word „rotten‟ helps the reader clearly recognise the cause of his denial. All of these weaknesses are very common problems that occur in the lives of today‟s western society. Another problem faced in today‟s western society is Obsession. In today‟s western society obsession plays a big role; people become obsessed with money, their jobs, themselves or other people. In the novel, Cormier (uses obsession) shows the reader the sick Avenger who is obsessed with Jane in a freaky stalky way. Cormier shows this through extremely descriptive vocabulary which is presented in an accumulation of truncated sentences to express this. For example, “ Seeing her now in the mall, watching her pass, eating her out with his eyes. Everything bright and shining about her. The way her body moved as she walked. He liked the back of her neck, the white skin peeking out of the wisps of her hair”. Here The Avenger is watching Jane at the mall, as he usually does in a perverted way.] The Avenger is hugely obsessed with Jane for „betraying‟ him. The Avenger feels he knows Jane because he has always spied on her in her bedroom, he also feels like he is part of the family, and he has a connection with Jane because she always says „hello‟ to him while other people don‟t, this creates a feeling of uncertainty for the responder. People like The Avenger are sadly in today‟s western society and effect how some people live. They mistake their obsession connection with an actual relationship because they don‟t know what a real one is. As already explained there are a lot of weaknesses in our western society today. One that occurs often these days is violence and how it leads to vandalism. Today we hear a lot about houses getting broken into and trashed. In the novel the Jerome‟s house gets broken into and trashed by the „trashers‟ and Janes sister almost gets raped and pushed down a flight of stairs in the process of the trashing. Cormier expresses Buddy‟s rage of violence through Buddy being one the trashers, trashing and destroying the house. Buddy‟s sense of violence soon leads him to doing very obscene things. Cormier uses vulgar language to reflect on what the trashers have done. For example “they shit on the floors and pissed on the wall”. The words „shit‟ and „pissed‟ express the vulgarity of the trashers and why the trashers needlessly do this to the Jerome‟s property, and this relates back to the theme of violence. Cormier uses a simile to build a sensory image of this destruction. For example “…smashing the keys with a hammer. The noise like a crazy soundtrack to the scenes of plunder”. The trashers wreck the Jerome‟s piano with acts of violence. The simile conveys how the violent trashers destroy the property without a care. The theme revenge occurs in today‟s western society through terrorism, and terrorism is a big part of our lives. We all fall down relates to the terrorism going on in the world today by the act of terror the trashers had when they trashed the Jerome's house. (And by) Through the trashing of the house The Avenger gets mad and wants to avenge the House and all the trashers, by killing them one by one for revenge. Cormier shows The Avenger‟s sense of revenge and his unrealistic opinion of himself by making all The Avengers talks to himself sound like they have just come out of a newpaper and are sensational “The Avenger, carrying out his acts of revenge” here the Avenger is talking to himself again which he does throughout the novel. The use of truncated journalistic sentences when depicting The Avenger, reflects his determination and obsession. He also refers to himself in third person, as if he deliberately takes on a role to achieve his goals and is acting outside his REAL character. Also by using this technique it builds suspense for the responder. So therefore in the novel “We All Fall Down” written by Robert Cormier, it reflects the weaknesses we face in our western society today by using themes and techniques that relate to what our teenagers are challenged with everyday. These themes include Alcoholism leading to isolation, obsession, vandalism/violence and revenge. Through the way Cormier expresses each of the characters feelings and thoughts it gives us a big inside view that responders can relate to, due to many experiencing these dramatic weaknesses drawn to us in today‟s western society.
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