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Taronga Victor Kelleher
Discuss how the representations of groups in the novel Taronga reinforce or challenges your attitudes about these groups.

Taronga is a novel written by Victor Kelleher, which is set in Australia in 1987, two years after Last Days, a tragedy caused by Chernobyl. Australia had been pushed into anarchy, and it had become a fight for survival. The weak were killed, and the strong became stronger. In the novel Taronga, by Victor Kelleher, there are many groups which are represented, and these representations either reinforce or challenge my attitudes on these groups. The groups represented that will be discussed are heroes, males, females, leaders and survivors.

Ben, the main character of the novel Taronga, is a representation of a hero which reinforces my attitudes regarding this group, yet challenges the stereotypical or society's attitudes. Ben is constructed as being quiet and submissive, such as the fact that he stayed for a long time and put up with Greg using him for his telepathic gift, before finally coming into his own and running away. This is another example of Ben's submissiveness - he chose to sneak away from Greg quietly in the dead of the night, instead of a fight or a loud confrontation. He is also a humanitarian, as he cares for other animals, even when killing them. This reinforces my attitudes and views on heroes, as I believe that most true heroes are quiet, usually introverted, and do things to make the community better - often without receiving the recognition they deserve. The extroverted heroes, such as Superman, is what society expects, and because of this they often overlook the real heroes. On the other hand, Ben is not a passive character. He takes control of situations, such as when he arranges a meeting with Chas and tells him his plan (which was all untrue) which was the only way that he, Ellie and the animals would be able to escape from Taronga Zoo. I believe that that is how a true hero would react - he would think over the situation carefully, come up with the best solution, and act on it. Society is always hoping for the more exciting hero, the one who would go out and beat up the villains and rescue the helpless girl. To look at Ben's appearance, he is around 14, small, wears old, ragged clothes and has bare feet. Stereotypical heroes, again using the well-known example of Superman wear loud, colorful costumes and have a muscley body and broad shoulders. I believe that you don't have to be big and muscley to be a hero, that a hero can be anyone who takes control of a situation and puts someone else's life before theirs. Therefore, the representation of heroes that is portrayed in the novel, through the main character, Ben, reinforces my views, yet challenges society's view about this group.

Ellie, the heroine of the novel Taronga, by Victor Kelleher, is a representation of a female which also reinforces my views on this group. Ellie is constructed as being caring, kind and compassionate, such as when she saves Ben from being eaten by the tigers. I think that Ellie is a great representation of a female, as she contradicts society's views on women. Many women rely on their beauty to get themselves through life - for instance, have you ever read a fairytale where the handsome prince rescues an unattractive, overweight woman? Ellie is described as being around 14, thin, Aboriginal and stick-like, yet she still is the heroine of the story, and she still is the one that the hero of the novel, Ben, goes walking off into the sunset with. Like Ben, Ellie is quiet and submissive, yet she is not passive, as is shown when she and Ben cut a hole in the security fence and let all of the animals escape. I believe that women do not have to be beautiful to be able to take control of their lives and make a valuable contribution to society. Ellie was also proud of her heritage, and at no point was the fact that she was an Aboriginal a disadvantage to her. Her love and unselfish compassion for animals reveals a kind and loving heart, yet she still shows an inner strength which allows her determination and sense of responsibility to shine through. Lastly, Ellie responds positively to responsibility, such as when she saves Ben from the tigers, and when she helps Ben cage the tigers for the first time, even though she was putting her own life at risk. Therefore, the representation of women that is portrayed in the novel Taronga, through the heroine, Ellie, reinforces my views, yet challenges society's views regarding this group.

Molly, the female villain in the novel Taronga, by Victor Kelleher, is...
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Taronga - Victor Kelleher. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from