Discoveries can provoke emotional and intellectual responses in a person either in a positive or a negative way. Away by Micheal Gow and the book theif by Markus Zusak clearly demonstartes the idea. Away is three families from different social classes and how one holiday vacation changed their journey. The book thief is about Liesel, a girl who is taken in by a German family during the nazi regime. Through a close analysis of both these texts certain insights on discovery arise. Knowledge gained through a process of discovery can change an individual’s perception of society, Discoveries can heal the inner problems or doubts that’s troubling us.
Knowledge gained through a process of discovering can change an individual’s perception of society. This is evident ‘Away’ when Gwen undergoes a change after learning about Tom’s illness, she struggled to even talk to Jim, her husband. She asked Jim to join her in the water after the emotional revelation “Come on down to the water. The water is so warm”. She is used to hate everything about water and the setting itself tells us that the knowledge about Tom’s condition emotionally challenged her to look outside her material possessions, it was one of the positive thing that happened to her and the discovery changed her. In act 1, when Gwen talked to Meg about how Tom and his family shouldn’t go to the trip, if they don’t have enough money. Tom upon hearing this furiously put an imaginary curse on her “I hope you have a rotten holiday. I hope it rains…I hope you have fucken miserable time” and this was very symbolic for Gwen as it did indeed happen. The intellectual discovery tom had of Gwen speaking ill of his family resulted in Tom putting the imaginary curse on Gwen. For Gwen it was one of the negative thing happened to her as she lost her beloved material possessions. The discovery of tom’s illness made an emotional response in Gwen and the discovery of Gwen’s bitterness towards Tom’s family made an intellectual response in Tom. In book thief, on the celebration of Hitler’s birthday, Nazi’s burned Jews book to show that they support Hitler’s views and ideas. As a soldier announced “Today is a beautiful day, not only is it our great leader’s birthday but we stop our enemies once again. We stop them reaching into our minds”. The irony in here shows that by burning the books they were stopping any ideas reaching into their minds. Liesel discovered after seeing this incident that the ideas in the book were considered extremely dangerous. This book burning became the catalyst for her growth, it changed her perception towards Nazis, Jews and Hitler. The discovery had a strong and positive effect on Liesel, she learned things are not what it seems like. The discovery provided Liesel with the intellectual response to see what’s really happening around her. Another discovery Liesel made was realising Hitler’s true motivation. “Once words had rendered Liesel useless, but now… she felt an innate sense of power”. The juxtaposition is used to show former ignorance and her new-found knowledge. Liesel’s weakness now became her strength and indeed was one of the positive thing that happened to her. This discovery emotionally made her strong and it changed her way of looking at things, she was strong like she never had been before. These discoveries not only changed her perspective but also act as a catalyst for Liesel growth.
Discoveries can heal the inner problems or doubts that’s troubling us. This is evident in Away, as coral was a walking ‘dead body’. The self-discovery she experiences at the beach is a metaphor for her emotional journey and to “walk in the world of living”. This discovery changed Coral’s inner problems that she was struggling with for so long, Tom acted as the catalyst that changed Coral. This emotional response lead to a very positive outcome as Coral is as happy as ever. Another discovery made by Gwen, when she learned about Tom’s illness. She always had inner problems, she never wanted her family to go through poverty, like she did in her childhood, so she started judging people who are poor but learning about Tom’s illness made her to develop an admiration for Vic. Ironically Vic was someone who Gwen viewed as social inferior and she became the mentor for Gwen. “The women come back. They have been crying and supporting each other”. Gwen’s self -discovery dictated a strong emotional response that acted to heal each of the women. In ‘The book theif’ Liesel didn’t know who Hitler really was. “The book thief has been dreaming about the Fuhrer… she was listening contendly to the torrent of the words that were spilling from his mouth”. The metaphor in this quote tells us that Liesel used to follow Hitler and his rules because she didn’t know that he murdered and imprisonated Jews and anyone who supported them, which include her mum and dad. This intellectual discovery resolved her inner problems, she always was sad that her mum never called her, and this discovery resolved that. “The words were thrown at the steps and Liesel could feel the slush of anger, stirring hotly in her stomach, I hate the Fuhrer”. This alliteration shows the anger Liesel is feeling after knowing who Hitler really is and his evil doings. This emotional response made Liesel to forget about her inner doubts and problems she was carrying around about her mum and herself.
To conclude, ‘Away’ and ‘The book thief’ clearly states the emotional and intellectual response characters go through and how that make them strong or weak and how it results in a positive or negative outcome with the use of two insights.