Pat Barker author of Border Crossings uses a variety of literary techniques to enhance the readers understanding of child criminals and how society deals with these children. Barker utilises the techniques of flashbacks and dialogue to illustrate that morals can change, while the use of minor characters explores the idea that children criminals are victims of circumstance, while dialogue and juxtaposition exposes the subjectivity of truth.
Barker’s effective use of flashbacks and dialogue explores the idea of morality, morals people have, morals which when under circumstance can change. Upon meeting Danny as an adult Barker immediately uses a flashback to take us to Toms meeting with Danny as a child, the meeting after which Tom concludes that Danny is in denial, believing in his own innocence. We then see Tom as a child taking part in an activity which if under different circumstances could have put Tom in Danny’s position, a child criminal, like Danny, Tom denies himself the truth, “it started as a joke. A cruel joke, yes, but still a joke. Whose idea was it to put frog spawn into Neil’s wellies? He couldn’t remember. Jeff’s he thought, but then he needed to think that.”(Page 63) Both children were put in a position where they were afraid; due to this fear they protected themselves by committing an immoral act. However there were different circumstances in which Tom was saved and his act, forgotten. He is seen as innocent, the dialogue and flashback highlights this. Making us question morality, and that although we set our self-standard to be morally innocent, dependant on circumstances those morals can change.
Barker introduction of Minor characters, along with the use of juxtaposition allows us to analyse the idea of child criminals being the victims of circumstance. Michelle and Ryan are introduced as the “other” patients that Tom treats. Both immediately juxtaposed to Danny, Michelle and Ryan being from a low-socio cultural background, where being...
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