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November 29, 2023, 05:18:45 pm

Author Topic: My first text response - Like a house on fire  (Read 5582 times)  Share 

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My first text response - Like a house on fire
« on: March 20, 2021, 07:16:52 pm »
Hey guys! This is my first text response I've written. All criticism is welcomed here. I've always struggled with english so any feedback would be incredibly helpful! I'm really sorry if this is bad haha   :/

The stories show that both men and women find it difficult to communicate.
To what extent is this true in Like a House on Fire?

In Cate Kennedy’s collection of stories, Like a house on Fire, it is evident that both men and women alike, struggle to communicate. Kennedy demonstrates this through the high standards placed by society, how people who fail to communicate ruins relationships causing unnecessary stress and misunderstandings and also because of the fear of what will happen if they would communicate.

Kennedy illustrates that individuals in the text are unable to communicate, making it difficult to strengthen relationships. Some male characters in Kennedy’s short stories are overwhelmed and obsessed by living under the high expectations and standards that the modern society has placed upon them, causing them not to communicate with partners or family members. The protagonist in ‘Like a house on Fire’ exemplifies this as his injury makes him feel belittled and useless as he is unable to provide for his family as the ‘man of the house’. Generally the man works to support his family and being unable to do so,  he feels humiliated and continuously exerts himself to perform in acts he is incapable of doing which causes more stress to his wife, Claire. As he doesn’t communicate his feelings he assumes that Claire is losing interest in him and feels a distance grow between them. The protagonist recognises this as ”a long while has passed since we'd [They had] made jokes […] I can't remember the last time my wife touched me with hands that were anything except neutral and businesslike”. This highlights to the audience that their marriage is ‘Like a house on Fire’ as they are unable to communicate. Similarly, Frank from ‘Flexion’ also struggles to express his feelings and emotions towards his wife, Mrs Slovack.  Frank believes he is the dominant partner, he abuses his power by ignoring Mrs Slovak and controlling her. When Mrs Slovak lost her pregnancy, she was exiled from getting support as Frank said they’re “putting this behind us”. The harsh use of words not only hurt Mrs Slovak but also made it clear how Frank was abusive and lacked the communication skills needed to support his wife. Both short stories illustrate that the men in Like a house on Fire lack communication because of society's expectations of men.

Kennedy demonstrates that it is common for women to share their knowledge with their partners making it difficult to communicate and have a functional family. Women idealise the perfect relationship and family which leads them to keeping secrets from their partners as they live in fear that the truth will result in grief and pain. Michelle in ‘Five Dollar Family’ Found it difficult to tell her boyfriend, Des, about the secrets he kept as she idealised having the perfect family for her child, Jason. She pictured him with his “shirts off holding little vulnerable babies”. With this idea in her head she refused to confront him as she knew that he may not agree to raising the child with her. Even though she knew he wouldn’t be there anymore, she still didn’t confront him with the hope that he would continue to be in the dysfunctional family that they are during the story. The thought of not having a father figure would upset any mother, which would also give grief to Michelle. Likewise, the protagonist of ‘Waiting’ also found it difficult to tell her husband of her possible miscarriage. The protagonist has had multiple miscarriages in the past, each one resulting in pain and grief for her husband. “I look at his face and I can see that he’s worn down as it is, almost to the point of slippage, like a stripped screw.” She doesn’t want to add extra stress to him as he is already having a difficult time with his work. If the husband finds this information out on his own, it will cause him even greater stress and pain. These short stories emphasise the miscommunication in women who don’t speak up as they live in fear.

Communication is a key part of maintaining relationships. Kennedy successfully demonstrates that both men and women equally struggle to communicate their thoughts and feelings. Whether its for a good or not, Kennedy provides the message that communication is a skill that is necessary for a functional relationship.
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Re: My first text response - Like a house on fire
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2021, 09:05:30 pm »
Hi oreo116.

I'm not reading this book, however, I am more than happy to give feedback to you.

The essay wasn't too bad. However, remember, show, don't tell. A common mistake with English students is that they recount, instead of trying to justify what they're trying to express. While having a lot of reasons to say why you think that such and such in an essay, don't ramble on. I admit I've done this before. This is also a very common mistake done in English or any other literacy subject for the matter.
Make it as short and concise as you can.

When writing essays, it's about how well you justify your response. The assessor doesn't have to necessarily agree to what you're saying, but coherent and fluent justifications are always key.
Whenever I write an essay, I try to write as if my audience has never seen or heard anything about the subject matter.

I feel that your topic sentence in your introductory paragraph was a bit too long.  For example: It is held true, that in Like A House On Fire, men and women both find it difficult to communicate. The purpose of introductory paragraphs is to introduce whatever you're writing. It's to give a brief overview of the essay you're about to write. Let the audience know your arguments in this paragraph. Think of these as preview topic sentences.

I like all the other topic sentences, however, it seems like you were repeating yourself.
Kennedy proves {insert arguement here}
Kennedy illustrates {insert another argument here}

Instead, go for:
It was proven that {insert something here} due to {insert whatever here}.
{insert action or quote from the book} illustrates that {insert argument}.

How to improve your body paragraphs:
Your arguments should be part of the book. That is a quote or recount of action. (Recount only a few things, I felt that there was a lot of recounting in this.) Then justification, justification. {Insert quote or action from the story}. This determines that {insert justification here}. {Insert another justification}.

Essays are made for nitpicking. So feel free to nitpick as much as you like. When reading the book, try to pick up the not so obvious things. I remember writing an essay about the joy luck club and the question was how did the characters express themselves compared with Romeo and Juliet. There was a subtle reference to how a vase represented a character's rocky marriage. This led to the justification of how their spouse treated them.

That's all I have to say. I hope I wasn't too harsh lol.
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