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“Coming Back” by David Hill and “Tully” by Paullina Simons

‘Teenagers don’t always know all the answers. Texts can offer important lessons, which may assist responders in reflecting their own values’.

Ignorant, unknowledgeable nature of youth exists as a naturalistic quality amongst teenagers; characters within the texts ‘Coming Back’ by David Hill and ‘Tully’ by Paullina Simons further endorse this characteristic.

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The themes of guilt and recovery as well as Pain and friendship provide insight into fundamental lessons that attest the responder’s values.

A central concern addressed in ‘Coming back’ by David Hill is the primary battle existent within Ryan, which is endorsed in a series of actions that Hill associates with guilt. Both Ryan and Tara are heavily affected by the results of a tragic, traffic accident that hospitalized Tara Gower due to the negligence and recklessness of Ryan and his peers.

Ryan foreshadows the car accident; repetition, short sentences and colloquial language- “If only. Two little words with one massive bloody meaning. If only” emphasizing Ryan’s guilt and regret in conjunction with the accident. Direct language, low modality, negative connotations- “I had to punish myself. Hurt myself.” Forceful, objective tone and repetition in Ryan’s speech reiterate his guilt, as self- harmful thoughts began to justify his physical actions and behavior. Self -harm is a common result of pain amongst youth, which is demonstrated through the insightful texts of both ‘Coming Back’ and ‘Tully”, evidently guidance is often essential for teenagers during adolescents.

Unknowing nature can result in fear, hence freezing recovery processes. Tara Gower’s recovery was often simultaneously affected by her fears and fears of the unknown. The enormity of Tara’s recovery is continuously illustrated throughout the text; demonstrated by the use of formal jargon- “An impact severe enough to cause brain injury may also cause damage to other organs resulting in contusions of the heart” reflecting the serious notions of Tara’s condition, whilst providing facts and extenuating the trauma of the car accident.

Medical context also reflects Ryan’s fears, providing dense, factual realizations that he unfortunately caused. Imagery, personification, metaphorical language-“I was too tired to fight it. All around me the river kept eating away.” Demonstrating Tara’s dream like state and reflecting her fears of fading away. Initially Tara’s language is figurative and short, however her language develops over time. First person, imagery, positive connotations, high modality- “I felt myself swallowing. Orange Juice. A chocolate milkshake-my favorite!” indicating she was able to distinguish taste, but not able to feed herself during this point of recovery. Some of the most tragic issues are best conveyed in the depth of a novel, as they provide insight into fundamental lessons that attest the responder’s values.

Pain is an explicit theme present in the text ‘Tully’ by Paullina Simons; how Tully copes with pain is a fundamental aspect of this text. The full horrors of Tully’s childhood are slowly unveiled; although the narrative begins when she is 17, flashbacks and accounts of her torn experiences as a child characterize her behavior and beliefs. She was abandoned by her father and unwanted by her abusive mother from a young age; repetitive clauses, negative connotations, recurring motif- “From the time Tully was two, she learned fear and with fear she learned hate, and with hate she learned silence” demonstrating she was raised in an atmosphere of neglect and unpredictable violence.

Her pain resulted in self harm; metaphor, imagery, personification- “I do it because I want to feel what death feels like. I just want unconsciousness to wash over me- to heal myself” illustrating the irony and juxtaposed nature of healing and death, provoking feelings of anxiety, portraying how damaged Tully has become. ‘Tully’ offers important lessons, which are relevant to societies concerns and beliefs.

Friendship that endures through life times is a bold theme explicit in ‘Tully’. Regardless of her pain she found refuge in friendship with Jennifer and Julie, until Jennifer committed suicide in their senior year. She wrote a letter to Tully prior to her death; religious references, high modality, colloquialisms, metaphorical language- “God is going to call upon you to summon all your strength, all your iron clad, gritted teeth, clenched fists will to pull you through” demonstrating Jennifer believes Tully is unbreakable and will overcome her death, however, Tully sees it as an act of betrayal and is shattered by the harsh loss of Jennifer.

Tully spent many hours compulsively cleaning the bathroom after… and the unforgettable expressionless face of Jen’s father; low modality, emotive language, imagery- “he is still stunned, yet I’m already falling, already can’t breathe without her” illustrating her affection towards Jennifer. Jennifer’s death had a huge impact on Tully, which reflects her future behavior and values.

The themes of guilt, recovery, pain and friendship are undying concepts present in many teenagers lives, the notions of these themes are universal as ignorant, unknowledgeable nature of youth exists as a naturalistic quality amongst teenagers; characters within the texts ‘Coming Back’ by David Hill and ‘Tully’ by Paullina Simons further endorse this characteristic, demonstrating that teenagers do not always know the answers.