Is Change a Positive Force in our Lives? with detailed reference to Melina Marchetta's 'Looking for Alibrandi'
The idea of change being a positive force in our lives can only be considered true when measured by the individual's response to change.
When taking into consideration the expression: "when one door closes, another one opens" one must remember that often people can become so focussed on the "door" which has closed behind Them that they fail to notice The open one. For example, in the untitled poem by 'Chippewa', which is about "a very active boy who fell and broke his leg" (lines 1-2), the author says of the boy's reaction to being told by his doctor to stay in bed for a month: "at first the boy fought the rule, but he found that the more he thought about the things he couldn't do, the more tired and angry he felt... ." (lines 6-9). The poem then goes on to follow the boy's change in attitude towards his disability throughout the month: "he learned to play chess and began to enjoy reading... ." (lines 17-18).
Melina Marchetta uses a similar technique in her novel, Looking for Alibrandi wherein the lead character, Josephine Alibrandi, is faced with many difficulties throughout the length of the book and the leaders follow her struggle to adapt to these changes. Josephine Alibrandi had never wanted to meet her father, Michael Andretti. She was content with having only a mother and when she heard that her father had returned to Sydney, Josie went out of her way to appear impervious: "I don't care about him. I wouldn't care if he was sitting in this room with us now. I'd look straight through him... we don't need him." (p.
16). As the book develops, so does Josie's relationship with her father and, by the end, she had grown to view him as family and love him accordingly: "I love Michael Andretti more and more every day. I love him double to what I did maybe a month ago... ." (p.
259) By the end of the book it is also seen that, although Josephine lost two of her close friends; John Barton through suicide and Jacob Coote through the ending of their relationship, at the same time she had developed three more very important relationships. She became closer to, not only Michael Andretti, but also her grandmother and, most surprisingly, her nemesis, Ivy Lloyd. " Josie notes that it is with Ivy and not her best friends 'that I could cry about what had happened in the last few weeks' (p. 242) " (Carol Thomas, Looking for Alibrandi - Excel HSC Study Guide, pp 65-66). Melina Marchetta also illustrates the changes that have occurred to society throughout time.
The technique Marchetta used to illustrate her attitude is to expound the differences between Josie, her mother and her grandmother at the age of seventeen and those of the worlds around them. Marchetta appears to use Josie's grandmother's story to illustrate to the reader the way in which society has changed for the better. Change is, though, not always a positive thing. It is both necessary and inevitable, but one never knows whether change will be positive or negative until after the next proverbial 'door' opens.
This point is precisely what Miroslav Holub is referring to in his poem The Door (text one, HSC Stimulus Booklet). Holub's attitude is that, although one may not know what is behind the door, it must be opened anyway. The author points out that that which is behind the door may be positive: "maybe there's a tree, or a wood, a garden, or a magic city." (lines 2-5) or it may be negative: "Even if there's only darkness ticking, even if there's only the hollow wind, even if nothing is there" (lines 16-22). Holub encourages the reader to embrace change, regardless of how it turns out. His attitude is that one will never know until one tries. This attitude is similar to that of Chippewa, who closes his poem with the lines: "When we can learn to accept our troubles, we find, like the boy, that they are just packages in which new growth and opportunities are wrapped" (lines 24-27).
Chippewa's attitude is that what a person sees as something negative may in fact be the road to or incentive for something more positive. This author uses the story of a young boy to illustrate his attitude that change is indeed a positive force in our lives. By following the story of the boy the reader learns, along with the boy, the positive changes that come out of a situation which at first appears to be negative. The concept of change being a positive force in our lives is, as I stated previously, dependant on the individual's response. In the interview with Melina Marchetta, she talks about how she reacted to the numerous rejections she received from publishing companies regarding the publication of her novel.
Marchetta states that: "so many times I thought: forget it, this isn't worth it, I'd like to stop now", but she understood the worth of the novel so she kept pushing forward regardless of the many doors closing in her face. It wasn't until she sent it to Penguin Books Australia that her proverbial door opened. Even then there was changes to be made. Penguin Books repeatedly asked her to rewrite the novel and again Marchetta found herself thinking: "I just don't want to go on with this anymore." The thing that made her realise exactly just how important these changes were was when Penguin Books told her that "the difference between one rewrite and another is... do you want the book to be just good, or do you want the book to be absolutely fantastic?" In this statement Penguin Books made Marchetta appreciate that these changes were indeed positive and not, as she had previously believed, a waste of her time.
Marchetta's attitude toward change, both in Looking for Alibrandi and her interview appears to be that positive change must be worked for and essentially earned. Change itself is never solely a positive or a negative force. Change is inevitable, the attitude of the individual in their response to change is where its positive force can be measured. Melina Marchetta: 'Looking For Alibrandi' Carol Thomas, Looking for Alibrandi - Excel HSC Study Guide Chippewa's poems Miroslav Holub, 'The Door'.