Simple Gift + Related Text

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The Simple Gift An individual’s upbringing creates powerful formative influence over the creation of a sense of belonging. The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick is a text that explores this concept of upbringing that influences the sense of belonging. The Simple Gift is a free-verse novel targeted to young adults. Each poem is written in the first person with the persona indicated in script at the top right of the page, like a signature. The persona communicates intimately and personally to the responder, confiding the occurrences in a recount or journal manner. This is what first engages and maintains the interest of young adult responders. The text gives special focus to protagonist Billy Luckett, a sixteen-year-old leaving home to live homeless. Billy is revealed as being a disliked, thieving, troubling character, but as responders, Herrick shapes us to feel sympathetic rather than antagonistic to him. This is through the intimate use of language and personal tales of experiences such as the poem “Sport” in Chapter 1. At this stage, Herrick depicts Billy as an imperfect person, shaped by a depraved childhood rather than an evil person. The train driver Ernie symbolizes the good humanity Billy; an element of his life he never truly experienced due to his upbringing. Ernie takes Billy in without question from a cold night into warm shelter and food. Through the connection, a mischievous boy emerges a good side to him, as he leaves Ernie a note and gives him his father’s champagne. Herrick composes poems from the point of view of different characters as to give the responder an extensive meaning of the upbringing which shaped their aspects of belonging from a variety of perspectives. The character Caitlin Holmes describes Billy after their first encounter as a confident young man. This leaves an attractive impression on her, and creates the

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