In class of Literature, with Pato, I made this essay based on the story “The People Before”.
Essay question: Explore the ways Maurice Shadbolt makes you sympathise with the narrator and Tom in The People Before. Support your ideas with details from the story
In the story The People Before, the author, Maurice Shadbolt made the reader sympathise with the narrator because of several events in which the author made this possible. All throughout the tale Shadbolt language
To begin with, Maurice Shadbolt makes the reader sympathise with the narrator many different times. This character, the eldest brother, was not sturdy and he preferred the company of his father and to spend more time outside the house than his younger brother. The family dynamic was interesting as the narrator liked working with his father while Jim was the opposite and preferred to be more academic. In his father’s eyes Jim was not made out to be a farmer and in many ways gives up on Jim. This is a clear example of one situation by which the author achieve his aim, as readers realized that the narrator was very productive as he helped his father a lot.
In addition, after the arrival of the to brothers from the Second World War, during a discussion about coping with war, the elder brother said he had no happy memories to focus on during war. Nonetheless, Jim said that for him their old farm was “Te Wahiokoahoki”, the place of happy return. Therefore, the narrator felt jealous that he could never feel that way and also because Jim didn’t think about his parents as well as his brother. Jim was being selfish at least in the narrator’s eyes. He had forgotten about all the times the narrator helped him. How his mother supported him everytimes and how in his own subtle way his father helped him. This showed that the narrator felt a great passion for his family. Therefore, I think that lots of readers sympathized with him.
Although the narrator too did not have strong feelings for the land that he helped his father to farm; when he sought for something to focus on during the war, the farm, the place of happy returns does not suggest itself, he invested a lot of labour and effort to help his father. Thus, the eldest brother had a very positive quality. This was that he looked at things in a dispassionate way without passing judgment on either his father or his brother. Finally, it was also noticeable that the narrator was jealous of his younger brother when Jim was able to understand the Maori tradition when the old man was left on Craggy Hill, while his father and him couldn’t. This partly expressed how sensitive he was, and that was what many readers loved.
To conclude, Maurice Shadbolt allowed readers to sympathise with the narrator of the story by expressing specific actions he had made throughout the tale. Shadbolt also described the eldest brother as a good and logical person.